Vice presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has ruled out the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, as one of the major contestants for the presidency in the 2023 elections.
Okowa said Obi stand no chance because his party has no structure nor does it have adequate strong grassroots mobilization that could make him meet the recommendations of the electoral act to win the presidential election.
Okowa who spoke at a meeting of northern Christian youths, in Abuja, on Tuesday, asked Nigerians who are banking on him to have a rethink, suggesting that they check previous election statistics and be acquainted with the voting patterns of different geopolitical zones in Nigerians.
“It’s important that we understand the politics of today. In 2015, Buhari won elections via the votes he got in the northeast, northwest, north central and southwest. He lost heavily in the South-South and southeast, respectively. In 2019, it was the same pattern,” he said.
“It’s evident that out of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, any party that must win election must do well in four zones, or better still do very well in three zones, and face strong competition in the fourth zone to be able to win the election. Victory is often determined by the number and spread of votes.
“Evidently, the Church in Nigeria is so passionate about the forthcoming elections, and for the unity and oneness of Nigeria, the same-faith ticket adopted by APC was not the right decision. Before now, APC is known to be strong in four geopolitical zones but that has changed.
“PDP is known to be strong in the northeast, north central, southeast and South-South but the party didn’t do well in past elections in the northeast, even in north central, but the party has regained its strength in the northwest, northeast and north central while holding firmly its strength in South-South. There is a pathway and hope for the PDP in the forthcoming elections.
“APC has become weakened in the northwest, northeast and north central, but has maintained its strength in the southwest. Evidently, APC’s vote is dwindling and the map of coverage is going down while the map of coverage of PDP is expanding.
“Lately, we are beginning to see the rise of the Labour Party. The party might do well in the southeast, but outside the region, they have no strength and structure that will earn them victory in the polls. They might also do well in north central but not very strong. They don’t have structures in the southwest, South-South, northwest or northeast. So, there’s no magic they can do to win the elections.
“The danger is that the north central and southeast where the party hope to get their votes from are traditional strongholds of PDP. So the more votes you take out from those regions, the more the strength of PDP is reduced. If this happens, then what the church is trying to avoid will befall the church, which is for APC to win an election again.”
PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, who also spoke at the event explained that the unique traits of Dr Okowa, particularly his humility and other undisclosed personal qualities earned him the selection as the Vice Presidential candidate of PDP for the 2023 elections.
Ayu said that such unique qualities are what is required of someone who desires to occupy the office of the Vice President, especially in this period of huge national challenges facing Nigeria.
Ayu challenged the youths to rise to the occasion and join the movement to pull Nigeria out of the dungeon of underdevelopment and backwardness that allegedly visited Nigeria through the APC government led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He asked them to disregard the unrealistic messages being championed by some political parties who neither have good intentions, structures nor requirements to win elections as prescribed by the electoral act.
He solicited the support of the northern Christian youths and challenged them to engage in grassroots mobilization, advocacy and other measures that would disabuse the minds of some youths that believe that there’s no hope in sight for Nigeria.
Ayu said: “Okowa’s nomination was a product of extensive consultations with several stakeholders in the party. Okowa was nominated based on his unique personality. The selection committee considered several factors before arriving at the decision of Okowa.
“Okowa’s humility, educational background, governance experience, performance and other achievements were part of the things considered in taking the decision. We are convinced that the combination of Atiku and Okowa will help us greatly, not only to rescue Nigeria but restore it back to the comity of a great nation.”
Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, Abok Nuhu Ayuba, who organized the event explained that northern Christian youths are critical stakeholders in the election, hence their support is needed.
Meanwhile, Christian youth leaders from different states and geopolitical zones in the north made presentations and suggestions on the approach that should be adopted to ensure the success of the PDP in the forthcoming general elections.