Peter Obi: South East governors, PDP leaders divided over Atiku’s decision

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar embracing Peter Obi shortly after picking him as running mate on Friday, October 12, 2018
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar embracing Peter Obi shortly after picking him as running mate on Friday, October 12, 2018

The choice of Peter Obi as the running mate to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 presidential election has divided the party in the South East.

According to reports by News Agency of Nigerian, the leadership of the party in the zone had, after the announcement of Obi, summoned an emergency meeting in Enugu.

Mr Obi, a former Governor of Anambra, was picked by PDP Presidential flagbearer Atiku Abubakar for the 2019 race.

However, the meeting which was slated to hold at the party’s zonal headquarters, was later shifted to the Independence Layout residence of the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu.

In attendance in the closed door meeting were all PDP governors in the zone, some members of the National Assembly from the zone, zonal leaders and others.

Addressing newsmen after the meeting, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state said that the leadership of the party was not aware of the choice of Obi as running mate as it was not consulted.

Mr Umahi said that they only heard the appointment on social media and expected that they would be carried along prior to the announcement.

The governor said that the leadership still expected that the candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar would visit to inform them about the choice he made.

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

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

He said that what was playing out were 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 Mr 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.

Mr 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,” Mr Obaze said.

Meanwhile, scores of Enugu residents on Saturday, expressed joy, as the PDP presidential candidate, Mr Obi as his running mate for the 2019 presidential election.

A legal practitioner who spoke with NAN, Nicholas Ude, noted that the choice of the former governor would bring about a positive change, adding that Obi did very well while in office.

“All the sectors in Anambra during Obi’s tenure were properly fixed for the benefit of every Anambra person.

“I, however, hope that he will do the same if elected as Atiku’s vice president,” he said.

In his views, Mr Okechukwu Adibe, another legal practitioner, said that Obi’s impressive performance in his eight years as governor, was why he was chosen by Atiku.

“The former governor exhibited good governance in Anambra through his good knowledge of the economy across all sectors in the state,” he said.

For Cyprian Nnodu, the former governor corrected all the wrongs in governance in Anambra, making the state to stand as one of the best states in Nigeria.

Nnodu, a lawyer, however, called on youths and politicians to emulate Obi’s performance, noting that good character and integrity were of important in a person’s life and career.

In the same vein, Mrs Nneka Dim, a psychologist, said that people would hardly forget Obi’s performance as a governor in the state.

“Obi, through his knowledge of the economy, gave his best in repositioning Anambra as well as putting it on a good and high standard.

“This, I believe, is why Atiku picked him. I am sure that if Atiku wins, the country will not be disappointed,” she added.

Meanwhile, a businessman, Ikechukwu Ani, described Obi’s choice as a welcome development in Nigeria.

He added that with Obi on board, many wrongs would be corrected as he did during his time as a governor.

“Obi performed well and everyone felt it, especially in the areas of road infrastructure, health, education, judiciary among others,” Mr Ani added.