2023: Okowa Threatens Action Against Wike Over Planned Endorsement of Atiku’s Rival

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The Delta State Governor and vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ifeanyi Okowa, says the Nyesom Wike-led governors of the party known as the ‘G5’ will incur PDP’s wrath if they endorse any presidential candidate apart from the party’s candidate in the 2023 election.

Okowa’s warning is coming ahead of Governor Wike’s plan to announce his preferred candidate as the nation prepares to elect a new president on February 25, 2023.

Speaking during the commissioning of the tenth flyover by his administration in the Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers on December 22, Wike said “From January next year, I will campaign to my people whom they will vote for.

“So, all of you who have been in suspense, who have been saying all kinds of things, abusing me, wait. January is here.

“Not only will I tell them (my people) whom to vote for, I will move from state to state (for campaigns) and why they should vote for the person, nothing will happen,” he said.

The G5 comprising Governors Wike of Rivers, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu and Samuel Ortom of Benue have been withholding support from the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, until their demand for the resignation of the party’s chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, is met.

The governors from the southern region of the country had argued that it betrays equity for the party’s presidential candidate and national chairman to come from the North.

But speaking in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Olisa Ifeajika, Governor Okowa said “appropriate steps will be taken” against the G5 governors should they go ahead with their threat to anoint another party’s candidate.

“In Rivers state where Wike holds sway as Governor, the Governorship candidate is from Rivers South and the Chairman of the party in the state is also from Rivers South.

“We didn’t see Wike tell the party Chairman to step aside because a governorship candidate emerged from same senatorial district with him.

“It becomes germane if Atiku emerges President and the party Chairman remains in office. There is no law that compels Ayu to resign because the North has produced the Presidential candidate, unless he decides to step aside on his own volition.

“One would have thought that having pursued the agitation without yielding results, that they will beat a retreat but if they go ahead to endorse another candidate aside the PDP Presidential candidate, appropriate steps will be taken,” the Delta governor’s CPS warned.

Ifeajika further denied that Okowa betrayed the southern governors by accepting to be Atiku’s running mate, saying “For us in PDP, the party told the governors that it may not go with their position because we are in opposition (to zone the presidency to the South) and in order to get it right, the party set up a committee headed by Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom, to advise it appropriately on zoning of the ticket.

“The Ortom committee, in its wisdom, recommended that zoning be jettisoned to allow all aspirants to participate in the primary to enable the best to emerge.

“The committee presented its report to the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) where it was agreed to open the presidential ticket to enable for the best hands to emerge as recommended.

“As far as we are aware, no member, including the governors or group, protested the party’s decision. They all acquiesced and accepted the party’s decision on zoning.

“There was no treachery anywhere because no agreement was reached. The party’s position prevailed and delegates at the Presidential Primary voted as they wished,” he said.

Ifeajika said that long after the primaries, some persons were still talking about betrayal, and wondered where the G5 governors were when the Ortom Committee presented its report.

“Why didn’t they raise their voices against the party’s decision not to zone the ticket to any part and rise against it?

“They agreed to it, participated, only to start an agitation without foundation after a candidate had emerged.

“I see the G-5 Governors agitation as a distraction and I appeal to them to sheath their sword and beat a retreat as quickly as possible to join the party’s rescue mission.

“They remain very senior members of PDP and they remain an important factor because the next election is a low hanging fruit for the PDP to pick if we close ranks. We believe that Nigerians would vote for the party,” he added.

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