Senator Jonah Jang, a former governor of Plateau State and member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) board of trustees, has criticized the party’s presidential nominee, Atiku Abubakar, stating that his choice of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate may cost the party the 2023 election.
Jang warned that the party has a lot of work to do to clean up the mess produced by Atiku’s selection of Okowa, the governor of Delta State, as his running mate, despite the suggestion of the party committee.
Jang told reporters in Jos on Friday that the party’s chances of winning the 2023 presidential election were bleak unless the situation caused by Atiku’s selection of Okowa as his running mate was handled promptly.
According to him, the results of last month’s governorship election in Ekiti State sent a clear message to the PDP that it could not afford to go into the upcoming presidential election with a split house.
Jang stated, “As one of the living founding fathers who participated in the processes that established the foundation for our primaries, I feel compelled to add my voice to those of prominent members of our great party who have expressed dismay over recent events, particularly the emergence of the vice presidential candidate.”
“Although it is no longer news that the presidential primaries have concluded and a candidate has emerged, it is depressing that the manner in which the vice-presidential candidate emerged is nothing more than a blatant contempt for procedures. We are all aware that, in conjunction with the presidential candidate, the party established a committee to select a running mate.
“Turning around and discarding the outcome of the exercise is conclusive evidence that the committee’s work was either not valued or was never intended to be considered in the first place.
Governor Samuel Ortom, who was a member of the 17-member committee established by the PDP to recommend a presidential running mate, was cited by Jang as saying, “Fourteen of us on the committee said the guy should be Nyesom Wike, but Atiku chose Okowa in his wisdom.”
Jonah Jang continued, “You cannot disregard the decision of a committee you created and expect people to be satisfied.
“The fact that the party is currently treating such individuals in this manner is a sign of what is to come. No one who wishes to oppose the APC, which has failed to deliver on its promises but feeds on misinformation, will join a camp that is divided.
“This underscores the urgency with which the party must retrace its steps in the right direction if the already terrible situation is to be salvaged in the shortest period possible.”
Jang urged the PDP Board of Trustees and the National Working Committee to do everything in their ability to prevent future discord resulting from the treatment of party leaders, particularly Governor Nyesom Wike.
He stated that the current situation, in which the governors of the party have begun distancing themselves from the activities of the party and other influential members have made public statements expressing their displeasure, did not bode well for the PDP, and that dragging the party into needless disagreements months before the general elections was not in anyone’s best interest.
He stated, “It is sad that the man, who has admittedly been a pillar of the party at a time when the oppressive tendencies of the governing APC were to wipe out the PDP, will be handled as the party has.
“Until we address the errors we did on purpose, the future is dark, and the PDP may fall into a trap it set for itself. We cannot run a campaign for a candidate whose platform is on uniting Nigerians if we are not considered to be doing enough to unite party members.
“The moment to act is now; all well-intentioned party leaders and stakeholders must defend the truth as a means of ensuring our teeming supporters of the party’s commitment to seize power from the APC. We cannot stand by and allow the party to wander away from the principles that have established it Nigeria’s sole really democratic party.”
The former governor Jonah Jang stated that the preferences of many who believe in the PDP and its ability to return Nigeria to its great days should not be overridden by the whims of a few.