The Association of South-East Past Presidents-General (ASEPP) on Saturday, endorsed the Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Sen. (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, for the February 25 presidential election in the country.
The endorsement was given at the first quarterly General Assembly of the association in Enugu.
Motion for adoption of the Atiku-Okowa ticket was moved by a member of the Association and Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Toby Okechukwu, and was adopted by the whole house.
Okechukwu said that over the years, the South-East and the South-South had been pillars of the PDP and had contributed immensely to the party’s victories, adding that the regions could not afford to be relegated to the background.
“We have resolved to support and vote massively for the party’s Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar and his Vice-Presidential Candidate, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa.
“Governor Okowa is a true representation of an Igbo man and my colleagues are convinced that Okowa has the intelligence and the experience to be Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the lawmaker said.
Former Governor of Enugu State, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, in his remarks, lauded the former Presidents-General for their support to PDP, and stated that the party remained the best for the Igbos.
He said that ASEPP is the heart and the engine of Igboland because they represented every community and disclosed that when PDP was formed in 1998, it had always won in the South-East and South-South.
Nwodo, who is Deputy Director, Research and Strategy of the Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign Council, said Okowa had capacity to lead and called on the Igbo race to support the party to rescue and rebuild the country.
Vice-Presidential Candidate PDP, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, was conferred with the Outstanding Igboman-of-the-year award in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in Delta and contributions to nation-building.
Earlier, President of the Association, Mr Omife Omife, had said that the group would support the emergence of Atiku Abubakar and Ifeanyi Okowa as President and Vice President.
He said as Igbo son, “whoever is fighting you is fighting the Igbos and whoever is supporting you is supporting the Igbos. So we are here to give you support, solidarity and prayers in this election.
“Since the formation of this association four years ago, this is the first time we are giving award to anybody and I am glad that Dr Okowa emerged as Outstanding Igbo Man of the year following due process,” he stated.
Responding, Okowa assured members of the association that the Atiku-Okowa presidency would work with them to promote peace and sustainable development in the zone.
Okowa noted that what was going on in the contemporary Nigerian society was not what Nigerians expected, but pointed out that it was so because of the high level of disunity in the country.
He pointed out that APC-led Federal Government was not fair to the people of South East because, according to him, when they seat in the Security Council, there is no single Igbo man that sits with them.
“I want to promise you that by the grace of God when Atiku Abubakar and myself become President and Vice President, we will work with this association to promote peace and development in the South East.
“What is going on in Nigeria today is not what you and I expected. It’s happening because there is disunity. Why is there disunity? There is disunity because we cannot trust ourselves.
“Why is it that we cannot trust ourselves? We cannot trust ourselves because Nigeria is run in such a way that some parts l cannot trust those at the head of the government.
“The APC-led Federal Government as at today, l don’t want to believe that they are fair to the people of South East or the ‘Ndi Igbo’
“That is not the Nigeria that we expect. There are six geo-political zones and the South East is one of them. If you look at the appointments that have been made, the South East does not occupy any prime position. That obviously, is not the Nigeria that you and l dreamt of,” he said.
The Delta Governor, therefore, urged the people in the South-East not to be obsessed with sentiment, adding that they should vote for the PDP as it was the only political party among the opposition that had capacity and potential to win the presidential election.
“Today, the conversation that we are having is all about sentiments. Sentiment don’t win elections. Elections are won by planning done on the table by people.
“I do not want to play the politics of sentiment but l like to tell people the truth for those who know me. So, we should not waste our votes by voting for a party that will not win election,” Okowa said, and reiterated his appeal for Nigerians to vote overwhelmingly for the PDP in the forthcoming general elections.
Earlier, Okowa paid a courtesy visit on his Enugu State counterpart, Mr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, at Government House, Enugu, where they had a closed-door meeting.
The Vice-Presidential Candidate was accompanied by Senator Ben Ndi-Obi, Deputy Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Toby Okechukwu; Hon. Victor Nwokolo, Hon. Ossai Ossai, Ebonyi State PDP Governorship Candidate, Ifeanyi Odii and his running mate, Professor Igwe Nwagu, among others.
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