Peter Obi’s choice splits Southeast

The choice of Peter Obi as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential running mate to Atiku Abubakar in next year’s election has

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The choice of Peter Obi as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential running mate to Atiku Abubakar in next year’s election has divided the party in the Southeast. OKODILI NDIDI reports the intrigues.

FORMER Anambra State Governor Peter Obi may have been picked by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar as his running mate in the 2019 election without much consideration. His choice is creating ripples in the Southeast.

Disturbed by the development, the PDP leadership in the zone summoned an emergency meeting of critical stakeholders in Enugu.

The meeting, initially scheduled for the party’s zonal headquarters, was later shifted to the Independence Layout residence of the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.

At the meeting were three PDP governors of Ebonyi (Dave Umahi); Abia (Okezie Ikpeazu) and Enugu (Ifeanyi Ugwanyi), some National Assembly members from the zone, zonal leaders and others.

Addressing reporters after the meeting, Governor Umahi said that the leadership of the party was unaware of Obi’s choice as running mate. He said nobody consulted them.

The governor said that they only heard the appointment on social media, saying they expected they would have been carried along prior to the announcement.

He said they expected that Abubakar would visit to inform them about his choice of Obi.

But, the PDP candidate in the 2017 Anambra State governorship election, Oseloka Obaze, faulted the position of the party leadership on Atiku’s choice.

Obaze told reporters after the meeting that it had never been heard of how a presidential candidate would consult on a zonal level before choosing a running mate.

He noted that the antics of few individuals within the party and cautioned that they needed not go into the election divided.

“As the leader of the party in Anambra, I want to say that we support the choice of Peter Obi. He is our son but we are here saying we are not aware of his nomination.

“We need to support him and the party,” he said.

Obaze said that the conduct of the governors who took off from the residence of Ekweremadu without meeting with party faithful who attended the meeting was most regrettable.

“I have heard corridor talks about passing a resolution to repudiate the selection of Obi as Atiku’s running mate.

“I hope that those who champion such cause will also have the courage to sign their names to the resolution so that in the fullness of time our posterity will appreciate our folly.

“If we lose the present opportunity to produce the vice president due to the whims of a few among us, Ndigbo will never recover the past and history will be unkind to us,” Obaze said.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Imo State, Uche Nwosu, said that the ceding of vice presidential slot to the Southeast by the opposition PDP would not stop President Muhammadu Buhari from winning  in the zone.

Nwosu viewed the nomination of the former Anambra governor as Abubakar’s running mate as another ploy to derail the Igbo Presidency.

According to him, “I don’t think that the nomination of the PDP presidential running mate from the Southeast will affect anything, because President Buhari has made a landmark, I call him a man of his word.

“One this is sure that President Buhari cannot be compared to Abubarkar. President Buhari is a man of integrity and remember that the country was almost gone before he came in and since he came in, you can see that every part of our economy is doing well and our integrity abroad has been restored and the fear of corruption is very high now, so President Buhari remains the best for Ndigbo and the country”.

He went further:  Abubarka is doing a very big mistake, we cannot afford to wait for another eight years to have an Igbo man as a President, I think it is

a carrot that is being dangled at Ndigbo but we must reject it, we cannot wait for another eight years, we prefer to vote for President Buhari and in the next four years, power will return to the Southeast.

“So the issue of vice president cannot bring anything to the Southeast, you cannot compare a vice president to a president. So, the issue of bringing Peter Obi is to deceive Ndigbo again and make them continue the waiting all over again. What we are asking for as Ndigbo is a president, not vice president. That is not what we need.

“When President Buhari finishes in 2023, it will be the turn of Ndigbo. So, no Igbo man that is well in politics, will think of supporting Abubakar, who will want to stay for another eight years, no that is not acceptable. So, we shall vote for Buhari en masse to ensure that Ndigbo will only have to wait for four years”.

On the possible extraction of commitment for the anticipated Igbo Presidency in 2023, Nwosu assured that, “those expressing doubt are not members of the APC, we that are members of the APC will tell you the commitment President Buhari has for Igbo presidency. So, let them wait and see what will happen. So, on the issue of power coming to the Souteast, President Buhari is a man of integrity, a man of his word and will support Ndigbo after the end of his tenure in 2023”.

Nwosu also dismissed insinuations that the APC may have been weakened by crisis arising from the just concluded primaries.

He said” I don’t think it has affected the party in anyway, it is politics and the most important thing is that at the end of the whole thing, we must resolved the issue of our quarrel because the APC is a big party and the party in power, it is not a problem at all”.

He also lauded Adams Oshiomole’s led other NYSC National Working Committee (NWC) members saying that “I think our national chairman has all it takes to bring the APC to victory in 2019, remember that before now the party was in shambles and nobody was hearing about the party.

“The former leadership did not visit any state throughout the time they were there, nobody knew that APC was existing but, now the people know that is Oshiomole is a man you can trust with power andoffice. Immediately he took over, you can see the vibrancy in the leadership of APC, and I am convinced that he will lead the party to victory in 2019”.

The Nation