‘Prior Engagements Abroad’: Okowa Explains Why Jonathan Missed PDP Convention
The Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, on Monday said former President Goodluck Jonathan was absent at the just concluded National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party because he had prior engagements abroad.
Eyes had been raised at Jonathan’s absence at the Convention amid speculations that he may soon defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress or that he was unhappy with developments within the PDP.
But Jonathan, since leaving the Presidency in 2015, has undertaken several international appointments and regularly travels abroad.
In July 2020, Jonathan was appointed Special Envoy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to lead mediation talks during the 2020 Malian protests.
On Saturday, the day of the PDP Convention, the ex-President was scheduled to depart for Nairobi, Kenya, to attend the 12th African Union (AU) High-Level Retreat on the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa.
“I believe communications were made with the former President Goodluck Jonathan but he had prior engagements outside the country,” Okowa said on Monday. “He was unable to attend because he had commitments abroad and he had to meet up with that.”
The Governor said the PDP “is very cohesive and we are working together.”
However, Okowa couldn’t explain why former Vice President Namadi Sambo, was absent at the Convention.
‘Almost like Afghanistan’
Okowa said the PDP, with the success of its National Convention, was now ready to rescue Nigeria from the APC.
He said the ruling party had mismanaged the country and his party was a “credible alternative.”
“We do know exactly what we are in at the moment; there is crisis in everything, in insecurity, in the economy. And a lot of people are really hungry, the number of unemployment is growing, the youths are becoming restive. And they are no longer comfortable with the country they call their own,” Okowa said.
“So when you look at all these things and the fact that the economy is nosediving everyday, and when you look at the kind of budget that is being presented to Nigerians, there is cause to worry, that it is something that cannot take us in the right direction.
“The insecurity is beginning to impact on our agricultural production. And that is not good for our country. We may find ourselves in the next few years going into food insecurity, and that will probably be the worst.
“So looking at this, you will agree with me that we need to retrieve Nigeria from the path we are on now. Something needs to be done. That is why we have presented ourselves as a credible alternative, to take Nigeria back to the path of progress.
“We need to make people believe that there is hope for a new Nigeria and we will not be in a situation where we have deep insecurity crisis, like we have in places like Afghanistan, because we are almost at that level now at the moment, and it is not the best for our nation.”
Meanwhile, Okowa denied that PDP Governors had hijacked the party structure.
“I don’t agree that the Governors are dominating the party,” he said. “The Governors try their best, to give guidance to the party.”