A former aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, and presidential hopeful has withdrawn from the 2023 race to support the ambition of ex-governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi.
While disclosing this on Wednesday at a press conference held at the Iwe Iroyin Press Centre in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Okupe said that the leader of the socio-political group, Aferenire, Ayo Adebanjo, appealed to him to withdraw from the race.
He called appealed to all other Peoples Democratic Party aspirants from the South including Dele Momodu, Pius Anyim, and Nyesom Wike to team up with Obi, who is from the South-East geopolitical zone.
The ex-presidential aide also accused the PDP leadership of driving presidential aspirants to “fait accompli”, saying “those at the helm of affairs of the party are trying to hoodwink those of us aspirants from the South to commit ourselves to obtain the requisite forms before coming up with the original position that ‘every zone can contest the presidency’.
“This position is politically fraudulent, unjust and inequitable.”
Okupe, who was also an aide to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo said he had consulted far and wide with the political stakeholders in the South and decided that power be zoned to the South-East in the spirit of fairness.
The 70-year-old said, “Two weeks ago, Pa Ayo Adebanjo called me for the first time into his bedroom and admonished me that no matter what circumstances we Yorubas find ourselves in the ever gyrating political circus of Nigeria, I must uphold the truth and follow the path of equity and justice.
“In aligning myself with the wish of our elders and in the interest of equity and justice, I publicly admit that the 2023 political race must be conceded to the South-East; that is, the Igbos.
“I, therefore, here and now proclaim that I am, as I have said publicly several times, withdrawing from the presidential race and I am declaring my support for the best aspirant not only in Igboland, but in Nigeria as a whole.
“I and my supporters within and outside the PDP are teaming up with His Excellency, Peter Obi.
“At the same time, I want to enjoin all other aspirants from the South; Chief Dele Momodu, Senator Anyim, and His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike to come with me and let us team up with Peter Obi. So we can give the South the best possible chance.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I am not fanning the embers of division, rather I am by this action lightening the torch of unity by establishing political stability on the pillars of truth and justice upon which the Bible tells us that even the throne of the Almighty God is founded.”
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