PRESIDENTIAL candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar has reacted to the controversy surrounding the choice of his running mate.
Atiku had picked Delta State governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election against the recommendation of a committee chaired by Benue State governor Samuel Ortom.
The Ortom-led committee recommended Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike as the PDP vice presidential candidate.
The development has led to a crisis in the PDP.
However, speaking in an exclusive interview with Arise TV which was aired Friday morning, Atiku said he chose who he felt could deliver among the nominees that were presented to him.
He added that Wike was not rejected and that he only picked who could deliver.
Atiku said, “I didn’t reject Wike, I picked who can deliver. Going by history, I had picked an Igbo as running mate in 2007, in 2019. I still picked an Igbo for 2023.
“The committee that presented them was chaired the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom. They recommended three people, so I picked one. People should be fair to me and state the facts,” Atiku said.
Ortom had while speaking on Arise TV on Thursday said Atiku was not fair to Wike in by choosing Okowa as his running mate.
According to him, 14 out of 17 members of the committee set up to screen those shortlisted as PDP vice presidential candidates endorsed Wike.
Ortom also appealed to Atiku to reach out to Wike and pacify him.
He insisted that the Rivers State governor will not defect from the PDP as is being speculated.