The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum has called the Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, a traitor for accepting his nomination as Vice Presidential Candidate to the party’s flagbearer Atiku Abubakar in the forthcoming 2023 general election.
The group opined that Okowa was among the governors who agreed that power should be rotated to the southern part of Nigeria based on the principle of fairness, justice, and equity, adding that accepting to be the running mate of a northern candidate was unfortunate.
In a joint statement by the Leader, SMBLF/PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark; Leader, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; President-General, Middle Belt Forum, Dr. Dru Bitrus, and the President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, George Obiozor, they said Okowa was jeopardising the political future of the people from the southern part of the country.
The statement partly read, “It is unspeakable and quite disappointing that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who is currently Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum, and a native of Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area (one of the Igbo-speaking areas) of Delta State, would exhibit such barefaced unreliability.
“It bears recalling that the 17 governors of the southern states of Nigeria, both of the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress, under the chairmanship of the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, met in Asaba, the capital of Delta State on May 11, 2021, and took far-reaching decisions, including that based on the principles of fairness, equity, and justice, the presidency should rotate to the South, at the end of the statutory eight years of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)’s tenure.
“This very Governor Okowa was the host of that historic meeting. The southern governors later met again in Lagos on July 5, where they reaffirmed their decision, and again in Enugu, on September 16, to restate the call that the presidency should rotate to the South in 2023.”
It is, therefore, most unfortunate that the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, who should know better, accepted his appointment as running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“We do not have anything personal against Ifeanyi Okowa but his action is treacherous and tantamount to a despicable pawning of the political future of the people of southern Nigeria.”