Okowa never betrayed southern governors on zoning agreement, says aide

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Olisa Ifeajika, chief press secretary to Ifeanyi Okowa, vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says his principal did not betray his compatriots.

 

He asked the aggrieved governors of the PDP to sheath their swords and work for the party’s success in the elections.

 

Olisa, at a press conference in Asaba, Delta state capital, on Monday, said the governors are still important to the success of the party.

 

He said as a loyal party man, Okowa heeded PDP’s directives and decisions in all matters concerning the presidential convention and did not betray anyone.

 

He noted that the Southern Governors’ Forum, at a meeting in Asaba, resolved to work towards the realisation of the southern presidency.

 

He said when members of the forum returned to their various parties, decisions varied as each political party had different plans to approach the process of electing a presidential candidate.

 

“For us in PDP, the party told the governors that it may not go with their position because we are in opposition, and in order to get it right, the party set up a committee headed by Benue governor, Samuel Ortom, to advise it appropriately on the zoning of the ticket,” he said,

 

 “The Ortom committee, in its wisdom, recommended that zoning be jettisoned to allow all aspirants to participate in the primary to enable the best to emerge.

 

“The committee presented its report to the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) where it was agreed to open the presidential ticket to enable the best hands to emerge as recommended.

 

“As far as we are aware, no member, including the governors or group, protested the party’s decision. They all acquiesced and accepted the party’s decision on zoning.

 

“There was no treachery anywhere because no agreement was reached. The party’s position prevailed and delegates at the presidential primary voted as they wished.”

 

Ifeajika said long after the primaries, some persons were still talking about betrayal, and wondered where the G5 governors were when the Ortom committee presented its report.

 

“Why didn’t they raise their voices against the party’s decision not to zone the ticket to any part and rise against it?” he asked.

 

“They agreed to it, participated, only to start an agitation without foundation after a candidate had emerged.

 

“I see the G5 governors’ agitation as a distraction and I appeal to them to sheath their swords and beat a retreat as quickly as possible to join the party’s rescue mission.

 

 “They remain very senior members of PDP and they remain an important factor because the next election is a low-hanging fruit for the PDP to pick if we close ranks. We believe that Nigerians would vote for the party.”

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