- After winning the PDP presidential primary, former VP Atiku Abubakar is reportedly working with party leaders to select his running mate
- Atiku and the PDP leaders, according to party sources, are considering two governors from the south-south, Ifeanyi Okowa and Udom Emmanuel
- However, for some highlighted factors, Governor Okowa of Delta state is said to be the favourite between the two
Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 elections, is reportedly considering choosing one of two south-south governors as his running mate.
Citing party sources, Premium Times reported that the governors being considered are Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state.
Legit.ng gathers that Atiku began consultation with the leadership of the PDP shortly after he won the primary of the party held in Abuja on Saturday, May 28.
The former vice president is said to be working closely with Iyorchia Ayu, the PDP chairman and a long-time ally, and other top leaders of the party on the nomination of his running mate.
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Sources cited by Premium Times said the discussions so far have focused on Governors Okowa and Emmanuel. It was also gathered the Delta state governor is said to be the favourite between the two.
Why Okowa has an edge to become Atiku's running mate
Delta state delegates to the PDP National Convention on Saturday allegedly voted for Atiku, ignoring the two aspirants from their region, Rivers state governor Wike and Emmanuel.
The PDP reportedly gave credit to Okowa for the Delta delegates voting for Atiku even though other key PDP leaders like former governor James Ibori were also believed to have determined the voting pattern of the delegates.
Another factor said to favour Governor Okowa in the consideration is his close linguistic and cultural affinity with the South-East, as the Igbo language is spoken in the governor’s senatorial district in Delta state.
On the other hand, Governor Emmanuel refused to step down for Atiku at the primary and ended up getting 38 votes, 31 from his state and seven from Benue. This may affect his chances of being considered as the vice presidential candidate.
Nevertheless, party leaders believe the two governors, Okowa and Emmanuel, would be loyal to their principal, while also having the capacity to perform the constitutional and other roles that may be assigned to them.
Atiku has a few more days to consider his options before he and other parties submit lists of their candidates to INEC from June 9.
2023 Presidency: Shehu Sani advises Atiku on choice of running mate
In a related development, Senator Shehu Sani, a former Kaduna Central lawmaker and ex-governorship aspirant, has advised Atiku on his choice of a running mate.
Atiku in the primary conducted at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja on Saturday, May 28, defeated former Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, and other contenders.
Taking to his Twitter page on Monday, May 30, Senator Sani advised the former vice president to choose a running mate he can work with as a team.