By Government Oloniruha/Angela Atabo
Abuja, June 16, 2022
Former Vice-President Abubakar Atiku and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate has chosen Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta as his running mate for the 2023 poll.
Atiku said this at the unveiling of his running mate at the PDP national secretariat in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that choosing his running mate was a difficult task as three eminently qualified persons were recommended, out of which Okowa was finally selected.
“It is a difficult decision that I was called upon to take. But, as someone hoping to lead a complex country such as ours, tough and difficult decisions would remain a part of my everyday life.
“Let me, therefore, start this momentous journey with a crucial decision about who, among the eminently qualified shortlist, would be my running mate.
“Accordingly, let me state that the person I have chosen as my running mate possesses all those identified qualities.
“ He personifies not only the seriousness the current moment represents for our country but also the future that our young people yearn for and deserve.
“He is a serving state governor who has demonstrated, in his state and through his conduct, that governance is about service to the people,” he said.
Atiku added: “Please join me in welcoming to the ticket the next Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Gov. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after his official announcement as the party’s running mate for the 2023 presidential election in Abuja on Thursday, Gov. Okowa said it is time for the PDP’s return to power at the centre, after being in the opposition for many years.
“ There is a huge challenge in our nation and PDP has said that it wanted to rescue this country and rebuild it.
“To be able to do that, you need a man who has the right experience and obviously I have been picked today as vice-presidential candidate of the PDP to rescue Nigeria and to rebuild it.
“I am truly very excited that I have been asked to join that ticket to be able to work with him as his vice-presidential candidate,” Okowa said.
He commended the PDP presidential candidate, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and the party leaders for finding him worthy of being its 2023 presidential running mate.
“Mr President in waiting, I must truly thank you for finding me worthy to be on this ticket. I do know that it was a very tough decision, even as you have spoken this afternoon.
“But I thank God that among my very qualified colleagues, even those more qualified than me, that I found favour and I’m here today as the vice presidential candidate of the party.
“While thanking you, I do understand that it’s a great work that is ahead of us. By the special grace of God, we will work hard to ensure victory for the party.
“There is no doubt that there is a great work ahead of each and every one of us,” Okowa said.
He added: “The building back process is going to be collective and we are trusting that all of our team members will want to be part of that story at the end of the day.
“The story which will obviously be positive and will yield positive results, will require that each and every one of us must support our principal as we move forth in the next few months and that at the end, we will win the elections with a landslide victory.”
This, according to Okowa required a lot of commitment from all PDP members.
“It will requires the unity of each and every one of us in our various wards, in our various local governments and states. We need the PDP to return to power,” he said.
He urged party faithful and Nigerians to read through Abubakar’s policy document “My Covenant with Nigerians”, which prescribed solutions to challenges facing Nigeria.
“He is the only one that has been able to come out with a document that you can trust and that document is good for our country Nigeria.
“In the next few weeks, you will be hearing a lot from our campaign organisation,” he said.
Okowa assured Nigerians that the party was in the process of ensuring that the nation was returned back to its glorious days.
“We are prepared for governance, we are prepared for inclusion and we are prepared to bring Nigeria together.
“We are prepared to run a governance that is based on integrity and experience,” he said.
Okowa said that his emergence as the party’s running mate, ahead of Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers would not cause division in the party.
“I know Wike is a very strong party man, he has great love for our party.
“I believe he is also a good democrat and he understands that when several persons are in the race for a particular position, only one person will be at the front in time.
“ I want to assure you that Wike is a very good man and his interest for this country and party to be able to rise up to the challenge at the moment is strong. I do not feel he is going to be disappointed,” he said.