Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has debunked claims that some former presidential aspirants in the last national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are now working against Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who emerged the party’s flag bearer for the 2019 election.
The Governor also disproved reports that some governors in the South South and South East were against Atiku and his Vice presidential candidate, Dr. Peter Obi.
Okowa said that all the aspirants that contested for the ticket of the PDP and all the party’s governors have come together to push the campaign of Atiku.
The Governor spoke on the ‘Morning Show’ programme of Arise News, insisting that contrary to reports, the party has gone beyond the issues relating to the party’s primaries.
According to Okowa, “There is no truth in the words that former presidential aspirants are not supporting Atiku. All of them are supporting him. I’m not aware of any aspirant that is not supporting Atiku.
“Even though I cannot mention all their names, we have people like Governor Aminu Tambuwal playing a significant role in the campaigns; you have Senator Kwankwaso also playing a prominent role in the campaign. The Governor of Gombe is playing prominent role in the campaign. These are all former aspirants playing prominent role. Even Aminu Turaki is playing a prominent role; a whole lot of them.
“For those you are not seeing visibly, they also have assignments they are undertaking in the background for the party because it is not possible to engage all of them in directorates, but because they are presidential aspirants does not mean that they are not party men.
“Each and every one of them is on board and each and every one of them has a special role to play. The fact is that you will begin to see Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, more because he is the arrow figure as the Director-General of the campaign. But all others are fully involved in the campaigns; there are no problems at all.”
Speaking further on the claims that the governors of the South-east and the South-south are not fully part of the Atiku project, he added, “That is not the reality on the ground.
“People are over hyping it. The South-south and the South-east caucus met on Friday in Port Harcourt. In that meeting, we took decisions on what next to do. We are indeed planning a South-south zonal rally. Committees are being put in place ahead of the elections under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike. A date is likely going to be taken for the rally in the early part of January.
“There are actually no problems within the South-south; I can confirm that to you. In the South-east, yes, there were some initial hiccups; there is no doubt about that because there were certain party procedures that was supposed to have been followed that were not followed. Some of us believe that we were not taken along before the announcement of the vice presidential candidate.
“We also understand that the candidate has the right of choice of who would be the vice presidential candidate. We have moved beyond that. We have had meetings where we have been able to talk over all the issues.
“The fact is: some leaders of the party including all the governors ought to have known before the announcement of the candidate; not because they want to change the choice but they just wanted to be briefed formally before the information was given to the press. But that has been pushed behind us and we are moving forward.
“The South-east is also meeting. It is a strong PDP zone. In politics, there are always issues and the issues have to be discussed. The South-east is fully on board; from the last meeting we had in Rivers State, so is the South-south. So, I don’t see any challenge in any of the zones at all, not right now.”