The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, on Friday responded to allegations of betrayal by the leaders of Southern and Middle Belt (SMBLF) for accepting to run on a joint ticket with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The governor was picked by the former vice president as his running mate for the 2023 elections on Thursday.
However, in a statement jointly signed by Chief Edwin Clark Pan Niger Delta Forum), Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere), Dr. Pogu Bitrus, (Middle Belt Forum) and Prof. George Obiozor (Ohaneze Ndigbo), the group said it was wrong for Okowa to accept the nomination to be Atiku’s running mate since he was at the forefront of agitation for a southern president.
The Southern Governors’ Forum met thrice last year and demanded a power shift to the region after the completion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight-year rule in 2023.
The governor, who featured in an Arise TV interview programme on Friday, insisted that the party’s decision superseded other considerations.
He said: “I believe our leaders have their opinion and won’t join issues with them. I was part of the decisions of the party and we agreed that the best way was to throw the presidential race open and I was mandated to abide by that rule.
“And since Atiku emerged, the onus was on us to support him since he can’t choose a Vice President from the North which is why we took the decision to zone it to the South. I had to submit myself to the decisions of the party and our leaders have to respect that collective decision by the party.
“I want to appeal to them to tackle the issues as it is in order to rebuild confidence in Nigerians while being cautious of the statements being made. The unity of the country is important.”
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
INVESTIGATION: How N70m road construction created more hardship for Sokoto residents
“To address recurrent accidents on Gagi to Gidan Dilo road and Fakon Idi roads, in Sokoto State, the Federal Government,...
INVESTIGATION: Inside Kwara school where students are used as labour on teachers’ private farms
In this report, SHEREEFDEEN AHMAD uncovered how young students in Kwara State, Nigeria, are being used for labour work on...
INVESTIGATION: How Kano SUBEB awarded contracts to inactive contractors, non-existent schools
In an effort to address issues hindering quality education, the Kano State Government in 2020 awarded N88,406,667.10 for the construction...
SPECIAL REPORT: Hike in gas price forces more Nigerians to use coal, sawdust, as smoke kills 93,300 yearly
In the build-up to the 27th Conference of Party (COP 27), Nigeria recently launched its energy transition plan (ETP) as one of...
INVESTIGATION: How roadside foods endanger consumers’ life with trans fat in northern Nigeria
With an estimated 854,000 deaths in Nigeria, and 3,229 attributed to trans fatty acids (TFA) -related cardiovascular deaths, ADESOLA IKULAJOLU visited Nigeria’s...