The Ijaw Youths Council has said the choice of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as the running mate to presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar was a strategic one for the South-South.
This is as the group urged critics of the move to desist from such and rally around to support the move to get a person from the region in the presidency.
This was contained in a statement signed by the IYC President, Peter Timothy Igbifa, on Tuesday.
He said: “The only best political position available for us in the Niger Delta now is the running mate and Okowa has been selected to represent the region, which could have been any other. If Okowa’s PDP wins, the Niger Delta will have the opportunity of occupying the position of Vice-President again.
“The South already has two Presidential candidates from other political parties but doesn’t have any other position bigger and better than a running mate in the Peoples Democratic Party( PDP). This region’s interest is paramount.
“Pulling Okowa down amounts to rejecting the only opportunity that is available in that political party for the region, especially as the PDP is the biggest party in the region with huge followers.
“Therefore, the region should unite and queue behind him.
“We urge them to forgo their misgivings and support the governor in the overall political interest of the Niger Delta”, he said.
The group denied claims that Okowa betrayed the South, stating that his emergence as Vice Presidential candidate was purely the decision of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party.
He said: “Okowa did not make himself a running mate. The PDP and the presidential candidate, Atiku, chose him. The decision of the party is always supreme and it behoves the Delta State Governor to accept it.
“Besides, it is the prerogative of the candidate to select his running mate and since he has chosen Okowa, the only thing expected of all stakeholders is to support him.
“It is high time the Niger Delta stopped the pulldown syndrome. They should emulate their northern counterparts, who despite unfavourable political decisions, support their own”.