On Thursday, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, announced Governor of Delta State, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.
“I am pleased, therefore, to announce here my choice of Running Mate who will help to lead us to victory next year not only in the Presidential election but also in the governorship and legislative elections. And he will be by my side as I work hard every day to provide our people with security, revive our economy, improve education and unite our country. He has both Legislative and Executive experience.
“Please join me in welcoming to the ticket the next Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Governor Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa,” Atiku Abubakar said.
Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa was chosen over the clear favorite, Governor Wike of Rivers State and Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State.
Dr. Ifeanyi, born on 8 July 1959, hails from Ọwa-Alero in Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State. A medical doctor by profession who went on to serve as a commissioner in 3 different ministries under Gov. James Ibori’s administration.
He contested and lost to Emmanuel Uduaghan in the 2007 Delta State PDP governorship primaries, who later went on to win the State’s governorship election. In June of the same year, Okowa was appointed Secretary to Delta State Government.
In 2011, Okowa showed interest in the Senatorial election in which he needed a rerun to beat party leaders’ favorite, Marian Ali, wife of the former National Chairman of PDP, Ahmadu Ali, in the primaries. He went on to beat Ned Nwoko of DPP to represent Delta Senatorial District at the Senate.
In 2015, Dr. Okowa won the governorship election to become the first Igbo-speaking Governor of Delta State despite the opposition from the outgoing Gov. Uduaghan who preferred another aspirant based on ethnic sentiment. He was reelected in 2015.
Dr. Okowa is not new to facing insurmountable obstacles in the political scene as he has had to face opposition from powers that be both within and outside his party. In picking him as his running mate, Atiku would hope that his decisions go a long way in placating the Igbos.