Southern, Middle Belt leaders reject Okowa’s emergence as Atiku’s running mate.


The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) has rejected Delta State Governor Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s nomination as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s running mate in the upcoming 2023 general elections.

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, President-General, Middle Belt Forum; and Prof. George Obiozor, President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide signed a statement.

“It bears recalling that on May 11, 2021, the 17 governors of Nigeria’s Southern states, both of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), met in Asaba, the capital of Delta State, under the Chairmanship of Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, and took far-reaching decisions, including that, based on the principles of fairness, equity, and justice, the presidency should rotate to the South at

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“And Governor Okowa, himself, was the host of that historic meeting. The Southern governors met again on July 5 in Lagos to reaffirm their decision, and on September 16 in Enugu to restate the call for the presidency to rotate to the South in 2023.

“It is inexcusable and disheartening that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the current Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum and a native of Owa-Alero in Delta State’s Ika North-East Local Government Area (one of the Igbo-speaking areas), would show such blatant unreliability.

“It is therefore most unfortunate that Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, the Governor of Delta State, who should have known better, accepted his appointment as Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s running mate.” We have no personal grudges against Ifeanyi Okowa, but his actions are treacherous and amount to a despicable pawning of the people of Southern Nigeria’s political future.

“Governor Okowa has betrayed the trust that his colleagues, the southern governors, the entire good people of southern Nigeria, and all well-meaning Nigerians, had placed in him.” He has made himself a persona non grata not only among SMBLF members, but also among all citizens who value our unity and wish for a more united and peaceful Nigeria.”

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