I think we have to commend Atiku Abubakar for his choice of running mate. He’s chosen Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. This is by no means a rejection of Governor Nyesom Wike, who, obviously, if the PDP wins at the centre, would hold a very powerful, consequential position within the administration.
Atiku needs a solid, serious person untainted by any controversy; a cool, quiet operator whose actions speak louder than his words. Okowa’s political career has been marked by his quiet efficiency and no-frills delivery of good governance to Deltans, whether as a Local Government Secretary or Chairman, a Commissioner, Secretary to the Delta State Government or as a Governor. At the national level, Nigerians got an idea of his intellectual and pragmatic capacities in the Senate where he shone brightly, even if not noisily.
It would be a mistake for people to see this as a competition between Wike and Okowa. Both of them have their strengths and discerning people can see that Wike’s strength is not in the vice-presidency. Wike is a force of nature, a natural mobilizer, a speaker of truth to power and a fearless, can-do leader. Wike is more suited for a ministry charged with delivery of infrastructure or everyday services to the people, a position where he has to daily interact with persons delivering services to government and the people so as to keep them on their toes.
Wike is the kind of guy you want to send out into the field because his positively rambunctious, bulldozing and take-no-prisoners style gets things done in a system used to institutionalized and routinized delays and graft. We’ve seen this with how he’s gone about governance in Rivers State.
Okowa is the calm, quiet type who observes everything and misses nothing and who will find the time to sit quietly with his principal to advice on a course of action without anyone or the press knowing what he has shared with the President. The most important role of the Vice-President in the Presidency is as the first adviser to the President and the man who will stand in for him effortlessly in any occasion. Honestly, Okowa would be a natural.
One of the things that the choice of Okowa has proven is that Atiku is a thinking man who is not easily swayed by where the wind is blowing or by a herd mentality. He understands the long-term needs of the country and he simply blocked out the noise, did the math and came up with the right answer in the choice of Okowa. Throughout the campaign, Nigerians will get reintroduced to Okowa and I have no doubt that every day, as the campaign goes on, they themselves will be the ones repeatedly justifying this choice till election day when they will have the opportunity to confirm through their vote that this indeed is the PAN-NIGERIAN TEAM!
Having concluded this process, the PDP should now get everyone together on the same page to execute a winning campaign. I have observed Atiku still campaigning like he did in 1993. These are different times. This election is his to lose now. He has the best manifesto of all the candidates. Anyone who takes the time to go through it will see that there is nothing out there to compare. It is a product of deep thought and research, something that shows clearly that Atiku knows where the shoe pinches Nigeria. BUT THE MANIFESTO HAS TO BE PROPERLY SOLD TO THE NIGERIAN PEOPLE! If he wants to win, he needs to get real fresh blood and ideas into his campaign organization nationwide. Nine months is long, but not long enough. The work must start now! He can design a winning strategy and execute it winningly.
Congratulations to the Ekwueme, Governor Ifeanyichukwu Arthur Okowa!
The work starts now!