The choice of former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi as running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has torn the South East chapter of the party apart. Some leaders of the party in the zone have accused Atiku Abubakar of reneging on earlier promise to nominate former Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Prof. Charles Soludo as his running mate. These stakeholders including some state governors in the region have threatened to frustrate the Atiku/Obi ticket in the 2019 elections.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that South East Governors and some PDP leaders from the zone were working on endorsing President Muhammadu Buhari, as a form of protest. A competent source familiar with the plot told Sunday Telegraph that the only way out was for Soludo to replace Obi as running mate.
“There was a meeting in Enugu over this. Three governors came – Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi. The Ebonyi governor (David Umahi) is the Chairman of South East Governors’ Forum, he is angry over what happened,” said the source. According to him, he and other aggrieved stakeholders had met with Atiku and his wife and told them that Obi’s choice can’t sell .
On where Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State stood on the matter he said: “How are you asking this type of question? Obiano totally rejects Obi. Obi has lost four governors from the South East. APC already has Imo, so the entire five South East states are in the hands of APC. The zone is for Buhari.”
Asked if Umahi is serious with his threat, he replied: “Very serious. He is ready to work for Buhari.”On why they are backing Soludo, the source said that and he and some leaders of the party held a meeting three months ago where Atiku promised them that he would pick his Vice Presidential candidate from the South East.
“He told us that the person he had in mind was Soludo and Anambra Governor also supported it. I was instrumental to him winning the nomination . We started this spin doctor job months ago . Atiku met with me several times alongside Gbenga Daniel. He came to my house many times.
“After he was nominated, he went back on his promise, he changed completely and now brought Peter Obi instead of Soludo that we agreed upon. This is why all the South East governors and PDP leaders are kicking. Everybody is mad at Atiku for that singular decision.
“I heard Atiku said he did not consult us because PDP governors from South East voted for Tambuwal, that they did not vote for him. “He said that Wike agreed that Peter Obi should be his running mate. But in doing that, he jettisoned the promised he made to us that we will choose the person that will take the slot. Like I said, there is fire at the moment.
Governors of Ebonyi, Anambra, Enugu and Abia are angry. Governor of Enugu said he has discussed with a former governor in the South East that he will vote according to his conscience. He said that everybody deserves second term, that Buhari deserves second term. He said that he as Governor of Enugu needs second term , so he will not stop the President from enjoying second term . He said he will support the President if he seeks second term.”
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