The governor of Delta, Ifeanyi Okowa says Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), lacks the required experience to lead Nigeria.
Governor Okowa, who is also the vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), spoke in an interview with BBC pidgin.
While conceding that Obi has experience from his time as a former governor, he, however, noted 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.
While speaking on the crisis in the PDP, Governor Okowa said Nyesom Wike, his Rivers counterpart, is his friend and that he is making an effort to get in touch with 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 designate Okowa as his running mate for the 2023 presidential polls evoked division in the party.
Few party stakeholders, including the governor of Benue, Samuel Ortom, had expressed concerns amid Atiku’s decision to ignore Wike, who was recommended for the role by the party’s national working committee (NWC). Wike came second in the PDP’s presidential primary election which was conducted in May.
However, in a recent interview, Atiku Abubakar said the committee did not select Wike and that he did not pick Wike as his running mate because he wanted someone he could work with “amicably”.
In his own response to the claims made by the PDP flagbearer in the interview, Wike accused Atiku of lying, pronouncing that he would speak on the matter in a short time.