Anti-graft activist, Fejiro Oliver has alledged that the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar might not have had enough money to fund his outing in the recently concluded Presidential primaries, thereby raising speculations that most of the funds came from the coffers of the Delta State Government headed by his running mate, Patrick Okowa. Following Atiku’s Integrated Logistics Services (INTELS) contract dead-ends with the Federal Government and massive funds invested in past failed aspiration, Fejiro believes Okowa must have invested heavily in Atiku’s aspiration in exchange for the VP slot.
In series of posts made on his verified Facebook page, Fejiro noted that the 150 Billion naira and 25 Billion naira loans recently obtained by the Delta State Government through suspicious means must have given Atiku the edge over Rivers Governor who has Rivers State Treasury in his palms, in an election that has been adjudged a tug of war between moneybags.
To many the nomination of Governor Okowa as running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar might have come as a surprise, while to the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF), it was a damning act of betrayal. In a statement signed by Chief Edwin Clark, for the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF); Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Afenifere, Dr. Dru Bitrus, the President-General, Middle Belt Forum and Prof. George Obiozor, the President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, the groups rejected the governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa for accepting his nomination.
The statement read in part, “It bears recalling that the 17 governors of the Southern states of Nigeria, both of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), 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 President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.
“And 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 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 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.
“Governor Okowa has, by his action, betrayed the trust reposed on him by his colleagues; the southern governors, the entire good people of southern Nigeria and all well-meaning Nigerians. He has made himself persona non grata, not only, with SMBLF but all citizens who treasure our oneness and yearn for a more united and peaceful Nigeria”