By G9ija

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2023 elections, Atiku Abubakar, has reacted to the controversy surrounding the choice of his running mate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.

Abubakar spoke in an interview on Arise TV following his not choosing Governor Nyesom Wike as his running mate.

Recall that Wike emerged second at the PDP presidential primaries.

The former Vice President in his reply to the question said: “In arriving at the decision, I held wide consultations with various stakeholders in our party, including our governors, the National Working Committee, Board of Trustees, and other leaders to seek their inputs and their wisdom.

“In these consultations, I made it clear that my running mate would have the potential to succeed me at a moment’s notice.

“That is, a president-in-waiting.

“In other words, the person must have the qualities to be president.

“The person must have an appreciation of the deep rot which our country has been put into by the rudderless All Progressives Congress government, understands the great suffering that most of our people are going through and the urgency of relieving them of that suffering, understands the critical importance of economic growth and development to provide our young people with jobs, hope and a pathway to wealth.

“I didn’t reject Wike.

“I picked who can deliver.

“Wike is brilliant and tenacious.

“Going by history, I had picked an Igbo as running mate in 2007, in 2019.

“I still picked an Igbo for 2023.

“The committee that presented the three nominees was chaired by the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.

“They recommended three people, so I picked one.

“People should be fair to me and state the facts.”

Speaking on resolving issues with Wike, Abubakar said: “We are reaching out to Wike and talking to him.

“Very soon, we will resolve our internal crises.

“I have contested this presidency a couple of times and I don’t try to blame anybody.

“I accept the outcome or go to court.”

Abubakar also noted that he was driven by passion to serve the country.

He said: “I’m driven by passion and desire to give back to this country.

“I’m driven by the passion to give back to this country because of what the country has done for me.

“With what I have been able to accomplish at my age, I don’t desire any other thing other than the passion to serve my country.”

Speaking on zoning, Abubakar said the PDP had never agreed to zone the presidency to the South, noting that there was no concession like that.

“We never zoned to any part of the country,” he said.