Okowa’ll remain Atiku’s running mate – PDP

Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has affirmed that Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, remains the running mate of its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in the 2023 general elections.

Political parties have until July 15, 2022, to replace candidates running for the office of vice-president, according to the timetable and electoral guidelines released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Rivers State Governor Nyesome Wike and his camp are alleged to be mounting pressure on the opposition party to have Okowa replaced as he eyes that position.

However, a party official who spoke with newsmen on Friday, on the condition of anonymity, said the purported pressure campaign by Wike is a creation of the media, adding that the selection of a vice presidential nominee is serious business and a measure of leadership.

In his words, “The Vice President is chairman of the National Economic Council. After a robust process and mechanism that threw up a running mate, going back on it would mean the entire process was a waste of time.

“If you do your due diligence, you will see that Wike has said he doesn’t want to be Vice President. There is a video where he said he only wanted to be president and the truth is the governor is eminently qualified, having been governor for eight years, minister, chief of staff and local government chairman.”

He also accused fhe media of creating pressure where there is none, adding that Atiku is doing everything possible to bring everybody on board.

He said, “The process is in place and you see negotiations are ongoing with the shuttle diplomacy embarked on by Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi. Other people are working behind the scenes.”

The party leader added that based on Section 142 of the Constitution and Sections 29 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, there is no place for the substitution of a vice presidential or deputy governorship candidate.

INEC, he noted, has confirmed there is no place for ‘placeholders’ in law and senior lawyers are also interrogating this and may ask the courts for an opinion.

The party official continued: “Atiku should not be encouraged to break the law. He understands that Wike is aggrieved and is working to ensure all challenges that negate unity of the party are addressed including that of Wike.”

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