Atiku Lists Okowa, Wike, Udom For Running Mate As Bola Tinubu Gives PDP Fresh Headache Over N/West, S/West
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) , Atiku Abubakar has reportedly submitted three names of his possible running mate to leaders of the main opposition party to select from.
Naija News reports that the PDP must submit the name of its presidential candidate and running mate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the deadline set for June 17.
It was gathered that Governors Nyesom Wike, Ifeanyi Okowa and Udom Emmanuel of Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom States respectively made the list.
But sources disclosed that Atiku, a former Nigerian Vice-President, is favourably disposed to the choice of Okowa, a medical doctor serving his second term as the governor.
“Atiku will consult very well. He has met with the governors on the platform of the party; he has met with members of the national caucus, the PDP Governors’ Forum, members of the National Executive Committee, and even former presidents and heads of state,” a top source told The PUNCH.
“The leadership of the party asked him to bring three names that he thinks he could work with and he did, which are the names people have been mentioning everywhere; Wike, Okowa and Udom Emmanuel. But I think he prefers Okowa. He (Okowa) is believed to have the support of the majority of the governors, including those from the South-East and South-South, where he hails from.
“The preference for him is also strategic. Following the need to carry along the South-East people, Okowa is Igbo from the Igbo part of Delta State. He is calm, a medical doctor and does not insult or fight people, including his colleagues. Even during campaigns, he’s not the type to speak ill of fellow aspirants or candidates.
“Therefore, it’s not likely that there will be any major opposition to his choice. Like I said, he is Igbo and he will create that needed balance between the South-South and the South-East. The Igbo will support him and people in the South-South will also support him.”
The source, who was privy to some of the meetings held over the issue, disclosed that some PDP governors are not in favour of Wike becoming Atiku’s running mate.
The source claimed that some governors frustrated the move to make him the running mate because they feel he is too powerful.
“But in all honesty, you need someone like Wike to win the election.
“He can fight dirty and can pull the crowd. But some of the governors, who form a powerful and influential bloc in the party, feel otherwise and you cannot dismiss their views,” the source said.
The Bola Tinubu factor
The highly-placed revealed that some stakeholders are considering picking a running mate from the South-West to challenge the emergence of Bola Tinubu.
The source said PDP stakeholders are saying it will be dangerous for the party to totally ignore the South-West, because North-West, which has the highest votes, may give Tinubu that advantage.
“Now, people are saying if a Christian from the South-West is Atiku’s running mate, it will affect Tinubu’s votes in the region, because running with a Muslim/Muslim ticket will spark outrage from Pentecostal Christians and that will affect his votes among even the northern Christians. It will also affect him in the South-South. That is the argument. So, the PDP cannot also ignore the South-West.”