Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta, says Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), does not have the needed experience to lead Nigeria.
The vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), spoke in an interview with BBC pidgin.
While admitting that Obi has experience from being a former governor, he, however, added that it is not “deep” enough to lead Nigeria.
“I did not say he won’t have any votes, he will have. But what I’m saying is that he’s not a new candidate. It has not been long since he left PDP. You know he was in APGA before, from APGA he came to PDP. It hasn’t been long since he left (PDP) so he cannot say anything about PDP because that’s where he was before,” he said.
“Some of us are still here. At every party, there are good people and bad people. But today’s Nigeria is very troubled and we need the right person. That is why I am appealing to our youths be wise and vote well, they should not be blinded by the concept of a false change because that is how they raved on Jonathan in 2015.
“His (Obi) previous experience is not enough for this one (presidency), it will be hard. His experience is not deep enough. Even as a current governor ruling in a time of crisis, I know how hard it is. I even want to learn under Atiku because he has experience with the federal government. The thing is not easy. For them to have handled the economy at that time and made it something better, offering hope, creating jobs, and filtering the society, was not easy because it’s a bigger thing. So someone is supposed to learn through that. If you look at Obi’s experience you’ll know it’s small.
Speaking on the crisis in the PDP, Okowa said Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, is his friend and that he is making an effort to reach out to him.
“We’ve been talking internally, everything is being settled. You know that when something happens and everybody can’t agree, it’s settled bit by bit. That is what we’re still working on from the inside. We are finding a way to talk I’ll say, he is my friend, I am his friend, and we will find a way to talk,” he said.
“Atiku has said his own version of what happened, and I am sure that version he said is the true position. I am also not saying that Wike is lying, but if someone carries their anger, it is important to air your views. For us in the party, it’s about how to bring everybody together, how all of us can work together. Wike is still a very important member of the party, he has worked so hard for the party as many of us have worked hard too so we pray that everything comes together and we talk. I’m sure very soon we’ll be sitting down.”
The decision of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP, to name Okowa as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election caused division in the party.
Some party stakeholders, including Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue, had expressed concerns over Atiku’s decision to ignore Wike, who was recommended for the position by the party’s national working committee (NWC). Wike placed second in the party’s presidential primary election which took place in May.
But in a recent interview, Atiku said the panel did not choose Wike and that he did not pick Wike as his running mate because he wanted someone he could work with “amicably”.
Responding to the claims made by the PDP presidential candidate in the interview, Wike accused Atiku of lying, saying he would speak on the matter soon.