By Ezra Ukanwa, ABUJA
THE Nigerian Youth Union, NYU, and other Youth Organisations in Nigeria, weekend, chided the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum, SMBLF, over rejection of nomination of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as the running mate to Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
This is even as the group averred that Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa is the most qualified for the position of Vice Presidential Candidate of PDP seeing his legislative and executive experiences.
You would recall a statement signed by leaders of four groups which included 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 elder statesmen described as 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 to accept the position of vice president.
Reacting during a press conference, in Abuja, the President of NYU, Chinonso Obasi, who spoke on behalf of other Youth Organisations, described the statement by Southern Leaders as an “outburst”, stating that they speak only for themselves.
The Press Conference was organised by NYU; National Association of Nigerian Students (Zone F and B); Odua Youth Parliament; African Students Education Support Initiative Cases; Northern Youth Initiative for Good Governance, in Abuja.
Obasi, while reaffirming support for Dr. Okowa’s Vice Presidential nomination, threatened that he would uncover the sponsors of those bankrolling all verbal attacks from Southern Leaders.
According to him, our attention at the Nigerian Youth Union (NYU) has been drawn to a recent outburst by the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) on the choice of Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, as the Vice Presidential Candidate of the PDP in the forthcoming 2023 election.
“In the outburst contained in the press statement, the regional leaders described Dr. Okowa as a betrayer and a traitor. But in an actual sense, they are the betrayers who are interested in pushing their interests, tagging it the position of the region.
“For us at NYU, Dr. Okowa is the most qualified candidate for the position of Vice Presidential Candidate of PDP. He was appointed because he has the Legislative and Executive experiences, great educational qualifications, and other administrative and governance experiences required to run the office of the Vice President.
“The choice of the PDP leaders is right and they won’t regret it as predicted by the regional leaders in the statement they released on Friday.
“Lately, we have observed that these regional speakers speak only for themselves and tag it the position of their region, while in actual sense, they are expressing their personal opinion simply because things didn’t go their way.
“It has become a trend by these sets of leaders to attack people of high profile with betrayal. They’re self-serving leaders. Apart from press statements how do Ohaneze, PANDEF, and the rest interact with the major constituents of Southern Nigeria?
“Aside from this outburst on Dr. Okowa, elder statesman, Edwin Clark and his cohorts have unleashed a verbal attack on other great Nigerians. We have uncovered the sponsors of this unwarranted attack and they are people who do not wish Nigeria well”, he added.
He further warned the southern regional leaders to desist from: “hitting up the polity, particularly the recent plan to cause distractions and confusion in PDP which is preparing to rescue Nigeria from the hands of the APC government that have succeeded in achieving one thing in the last seven years, which is more pains and hardship in the country.”
He advised the PDP flag bearers to reach out to Nigerians with their policies and programs designed to restore the lost glory and battered image of the Country.