Governor of Delta State and vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has vowed not to join issues with the Southern and Middle Belt leaders who expressed disapproval with his acceptance to be PDP’s presidential running mate.
Okowa’s response came less than 24 hours after the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF), had dissociated themselves and condemned him for accepting nomination to be vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
But, Okowa while speaking on Arise TV, said while he respected those leaders and their opinions, they should understand that he is a politician who belongs to a political party, and that he is bound to respect the decisions of that party.
Governor Okowa further said since the party had already elected Atiku from the North as the presidential flagbearer, the right thing was for the emergence of a Southern running mate to avoid situations that could “lead us further into divisions in this country.”
He said, “I want to respect our leaders, I believe that they have their opinions, and I also believe that they are well-meaning leaders.
“So, I won’t join issues with them. But the important thing is that I belong to a political party and I was part of the decisions of that political party, and we did agree that the best pathway to rescue this nation was to throw the presidential race open in our party.
“And having agreed upon Atiku Abubakar, the former vice president, the honour is now for us to support him since we can’t have a President from the North and also a vice president from the North. That would lead us further into divisions in this country, and we are talking about rebuilding this nation, and to a very large extent, we have to take the right decisions.
“And within our party, I think that having submitted myself to be a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, I will have to submit myself to the decisions of the party and that’s what has happened.
“That doesn’t mean it’s a disrespect for the views of those leaders. They are leaders I respect so much, but under this condition, they have to understand that I have committed myself to the PDP. I am a politician. If I were not a politician, it might be different. I am a politician and I am entitled to my views,” he said.
He appealed to them to actually look at the issues as they were, stressing that “in rebuilding confidence, we have to be very cautious about the stance that we take. We have to be cautious about what we do. We need to understand that the unity of this nation is important and we need to move forward from wherever we are at the moment.”