The Director-General of Saraki Support Group (SSG), Earl Osaro Onaiwu has dismissed claims contained in a report published by the Guardian newspaper that during the visit to Asaba yesterday by four leading presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who are working on the idea of achieving consensus, the State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa was offered the post of Vice President in the post-2023 government.

Reacting to a report in a national newspapers (not Vanguard) titled “Saraki, Tambuwal, Mohammed woo Okowa with VP position”, Onaiwu expressed disappointment with the reporters for misleading their news organisation with false stories and therefore debasing the credibility of a respected news platform like the Guardian.

“I was part of the delegation led by the former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Governors of Sokoto and Bauchi States respectively, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal and Senator Bala Mohammed as well as Former Managing Director of FSB International Bank PLC, Alhaji Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, when paid visits to Asaba, Benin, and Uyo to solicit the support of the state governors for their plan to achieve consensus amongst presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). At no time was the issue of Vice Presidency or sharing of posts discussed or mentioned in any of the discussions.

“It is preposterous for anybody to be talking of offer of the position of running mate when the candidate has not emerged. We do not know where the Guardian reporters got their false report from and it does not represent the line of discussion in the meetings with the various governors.

“It is to avoid any mischief, misinterpretation, or speculation that the presidential aspirants have made it a rule that after any of their meetings amongst themselves or with other leaders or stakeholders of the party, they will always brief the press on what was discussed. This same rule was adhered to yesterday as the group mandated Dr. Saraki to brief the press after the meeting with Governor Okowa in Asaba. Dr. Saraki did the same in Benin and Uyo when the group visited Governors Godwin Obaseki and Emmanuel Udom.

“The delegation was scheduled to visit Port Harcourt yesterday for a discussion with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. The appointment was made impossible by travel logistic issues and has been rescheduled for sometime this week. In all the places visited, the message of the delegation has been the same. The team is also in Oyo State today and its consultation with all leaders and stakeholders of the party is a continuous one.

“It is pure mischief for the Guardian reporters to be writing about sharing of offices when the most important issues to the stakeholders in the PDP now is how to achieve unity, build consensus, avoid rancour and create a solid platform which can provide fresh leadership for Nigerians. The story by the Guardian reporters was perhaps aimed at derailing the noble efforts of these men who are making their own ambition secondary while focusing on helping the party to select a presidential flag-bearer that will be acceptable to all Nigerians and who can lead in the efforts to get the non-performing ruling party out of power.

“I hereby call on all Nigerians, particularly PDP members, to ignore the report as it contained no iota of truth. The purpose of the visits is to ensure that the process of evolving the flagbearer of the PDP in next month’s primary election is seamless, without any rancour, and with the result strengthening the party. The purpose is gaining traction and we are happy with the discussion with all the governors we visited yesterday.

“This is a sensitive time in the life of our nation when consensus building is highly necessary. The press should help in achieving this national objective. We, therefore, urge the media to avoid allowing the craving for sensationalism to lead them into peddling false reports. The media should always focus on reporting the truth and they should cross-check their stories before going to press as the old-time rule of “when in doubt, leave out” is forever relevant”, Onaiwu stated.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.