It was on news within the last 24 that the People Democratic party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have settled for Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State as his running mate, the political titan makes a U-turn, picks Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.
Those close to his campaign said the announcement would be made at noon (12 noon) and the nominee will thereafter be screened by a committee already empanelled for that purpose.
This follows the conclusion Wednesday night of a series of meetings between the candidate and the hierarchy of the party on the issue.
TOP SOCIETY gathered that Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, was as of Thursday morning the final choice of Atiku.
“Barring any last-minute change of plans, Mr Okowa would be the nominee to be unveiled this morning,” a reliable campaign insider familiar with the matter told TOP SOCIETY. “But as you know even a minute is a long time in politics.”
Paul Ibe, the media adviser and spokesman to Atiku, declined comment on the identity of the vice-presidential nominee, saying press should wait for the official announcement.
“What I can say is that the candidate (Atiku) is anxious to conclude this process of picking a running mate so we can move to the next stage of kicking out the APC from power. His choice will definitely gladden the hearts of all well-meaning Nigerians.”
The party had set up a committee to recommend some candidates to the former vice president.
But despite reports on Tuesday that the committee overwhelmingly recommended Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, his recommendation did not sit well with many leaders of the party.
The leaders felt that Mr Wike is not suitable for a position that places him a heartbeat away from the presidency.
A number of party chieftains raised concerns about the governor’s temperament, his perceived dictatorial tendencies and his propensity for picking fights even with key allies.
Some also argued that Mr Okowa possessed a better intellectual bent and would bring better value to governance at the federal level if the ticket is eventually elected by Nigerians.
Mr Okowa supported Atiku in the primary where Mr Wike was his closest challenger.
After his public presentation Thursday morning, Mr Okowa will appear before a screening committee of the party.