From Ben Dunno, Warri
An Elder Statesman and Former Minister of Information and Culture, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, has described the PDP’s choice of Delta state Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, as the running mate to its presidential flag bearer, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as the best decision in its determined efforts to win next year’s elections and rescue the country from current rot and decadence.
Speaking in his capacity as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Board of Trustees (BOT) in an interview with the Daily Sun at his Opuraja country home in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta state, Oyovbaire, noted that a running mate plays a very significant role in complementing the party flag bearer in winning highly competitive elections, especially that of the presidential contest.
While recounting the valuable roles Governor Nyesom Wike, played in keeping the Party afloat after its defeat in 2015, he commended him for putting up a good fight at the presidential primary and his likely interest for the Vice Presidential slot, and admonished him not to be lured or be pushed into leaving the party at this critical time.
According to him; “There is no presidential candidate until you have a mate. And there are good reasons for this electoral and constitutional provision in a Presidential system of government. The running mate is not just a spare tyre as some people always want to make it look”.
“A running mate must also complement the processes to win elections, and then govern. He has to have content; he has to have contact qualities and generally amiable social conducy; possess electoral asset andresources, and exposure that he brings on board. So as you can see, so many things are considered in the choice of a running mate”. As much as possible, a running mate must be free from avoidable liabilities.
“The choice of His Excellency, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, is the best choice that can happen to the PDP now in the strategy to return the country to the path of unity, peace, mutual trust, growth and development”.
“I don’t want to go into deep analysis about comparing Governor Okowa and Governor Wike but the Party in its wisdom has made its choice and am very pleased with it in going to the general elections next year”.
“For me, Governor Wike is a good man. I enjoy him. Of course, he doesn’t talk like me or talk like Okowa, and that is because we are all different human beings. He knows how to make his point and he doesn’t hide himself”.
“I’ve heard him severally, say that he’s not in this game or process of party primary because he wants to be a Vice President. I have heard say “I am not in this game because if I don’t win then I’ll pack and go to somewhere else as some people do these days; “am in this game because I believe in the cause of my party”.
“And actually, for example, the appreciation of the profile of Governor Wike can be illustrated by the state of PDP between 2014 and 2015 after the defeat of President Jonathan and ascension of APC as the governing party”
“The PDP was virtually on its knees and in disarray. He and Governor Fayose and others, must have their reasons for attracting Modu Sheriff into the leadership of the PDP but later to realise it was a mistake on their part”.
“But for good party people like Governor Wike at that time, the party would have collapsed because, among other causes, the Northern wing of the party’s leadership virtually abandoned the party. An example was how the party National Chairman, Governor Muazu of Bauchi state then disappeared into thin air after we lost to APC”.
“We could not, for example, have drivers for PDP vehicles to campaign in Kano at that time. So what happened was not that just PDP was defeated but the party was headed for disappearance like many of its contemporaries like APP, AD, ACN, etc”.
“People should therefore be reminded constantly that PDP is the only party that is surviving today in the country from 1998 from the process of the 4th Republic with the 1999 Condtitution. All other parties had gone under or had been recalibrated as makeshifts. For example, APC is a convenient combination of all kinds or manner of actors and ordinary people including some members then of the PDP that defected”.
“I’ve always said that PDP is a brand, if I may borrow the word of marketers and marketing experts; and Wike is one of those who made PDP a brand because he stood by the party in thick and thin all through its trying period”. The same is true of my State Governor, Dr. Okowa.
“So Governor Wike is a good and committed party man and not one of those actors who take the party simply and shamelessly as a mere platform to grab power and visibility; and I just hope he won’t be pushed away from the good qualities am privileged to know of him. I know he’s not a push over man, and hope too he wouldn’t be pushed to leave the party just because he was not picked by the party as the running mate to our great and excellent presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar”.
“But in all, am a very happy person that Okowa has emerged as the choice of the party to complement Alhaji Atiku Abubakar which, to me, is the best choice the party has made”.
“The question could have been, if not Okowa, then who? The party leadership weighed its options based on the list of the prrsons considered and recommended to the relevant party structure and the leaders profiled all of the nominees before settling for Okowa, which to me, is the right decision made by the party that is determined to win elections and return to power”.
“Dr. Okowa is a huge electoral asset in today’s political space of our nation. With him and in him as the political complement to His Excellency, former Vice-President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who I know relatively well, as the PDP presidential candidate, we all can go fitfully into the campaigns, and win the elections, restore power to PDP and re-engineer our national economy and society”, Prof Oyovbaire stated.