Published On: Mon, May 29th, 2023

 Okowa Defends Allegation Of Betrayal Level On Him  On Zoning Of  Southern Presidency


LAGOS MAY 29TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Ifeanyi Okowa, outgoing governor of Delta state, has spoken on the accusations of betrayal levelled against him regarding the southern presidency agenda.

In the build-up to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary in May 2022, some stakeholders demanded that the presidential ticket be zoned to the south.

However, the party ditched zoning, throwing the contest for the presidential ticket open.

The move elicited heated criticism, with Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, saying the decision was in “clear violation of the party’s constitution

The attendant squabble led Wike and the governors of Benue, Abia, Oyo, and Enugu states to form a group called the ‘G5’.

Members of the group are believed to have worked against the success of Atiku Abubakar, PDP presidential candidate, in their election.

The Delta state governor, who was the vice-presidential candidate of the PDP, has been repeatedly accused of betraying the south.

The accusations partly stemmed from the reported resolution of the southern governors — from PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) — after a meeting in Asaba, Delta state capital.

The governors were said to have mutually agreed on a southern president succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari.

Their agreement was dubbed the ‘Asaba Accord’.


Speaking extensively on the matter in a chat with journalists on Sunday, Okowa said he never agreed to plans of a southern presidency.

He said the issue of zoning was never discussed as a main agenda at the meeting in Asaba, adding that it was only passed across as an afterthought.

“I don’t think there was any betrayal, people give the wrong communication. In the first instance, the meeting we held in Asaba never talked about the issue of a southern president. The meeting we held in Asaba was to discuss the issue concerning herdsmen and the need to find a stop to it,” he said.

“It was actually the meeting in Lagos… but people just misconstrue the two. It was in a follow-up meeting in Lagos that the issue came up and it was not actually part of our agenda but we did not know people had their own views; you know politics was coming.

“When we had finished, under ‘any other business’, the matter was thrown up and we just found that a lot of us were ambushed but a majority actually had their way.

“I don’t want to relate it to partisan politics now because some people in the PDP had supported it(southern presidency) and then the issue came out and it was introduced first by the governor of Ondo state, and supported by the then-governor of Ekiti state, and then it followed through and then one or two PDP people also made their comments.

“But for us, we could see that that matter had been discussed before — and it is part of politics so we let it go.”

Okowa, who is expected to hand over to Sheriff Oborevwori on Monday, said he chose what he believed was right for the PDP, adding that other members had also shared his views.

“I’ll tell you the truth behind the whole thing, if you’re going to back a situation, you must ensure that the situation is right for your party and that was the question I raised when people said it was a betrayal,” he said.

“There was no point where we said everybody agreed 100 percent or we were going to go this way.”



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