A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant in the forthcoming 2023 election, Dr Doyin Okupe, yesterday withdrew from the race and declared support for the candidacy of former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi. Okupe, who was a former aide of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, announced his withdrawal at a press conference in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, said, “in the interest of equity and justice, the next president of Nigeria must come from the South East.”
“In aligning myself with the wishes 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 Igbo. “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 Igbo land, but in Nigeria as a whole.
“I and my supporters within and outside the PDP are teaming up with His Excellency, Peter Obi,” Okupe said. The former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan called on his fellow aspirants – Dele Momodu, Senator Anyim, and Nyesom Wike – to join hands and support Obi, to give the South the best possible chance. He said he has no belief in the 37-member Zoning Committee of the PDP to come up with a fair position and concede the presidential ticket of the party to the South. “I observed that the leadership of the PDP seems to be driving us all towards a fait accompli. The most central consideration concerning the presidential primaries is the issue of zoning. “The matter has been referred to a committee of 37 members with a member each from every state of the federation and the FCT Abuja.
“One would have expected that the mandate of this committee would be such that it would discharge its duties and report to the NEC of the party within a maximum of 5-7 days. Sadly, this has not been so. “It is clear to me that 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. “But, as a politician, I have come to accept the ill-defined zoning arrangement, and still forge ahead with my unrepentant call for a rotation of power to the South,” Okupe stressed.