More reasons have continued to emerge on why former Anambra state governor, Peter Obi emerged the running mate of the People Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate in the 2019 general election.
Sunday Telegraph gathered from sources close to the Abubakar Atiku Presidential Campaign Organization that Obi nicked the top job based on a number of criteria which set him apart from the others considered from the South East and the South west zones of the country.
According to the sources, former corps marshal, Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) Osita Chidoka, former minister of finance and coordinator of the economy under the last administration Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala and one other person from the South East were contacted to be the running mate, however, “they finally settled for Obi, who was said to be a cross breed.
He has a background as a former banker skill in governance and a technocrat, who also appeals to the intelligentsia. “He was not the only one”, our source continued.
“There were also two names from the South West, President of the African Development Bank (ADB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina and Otunba Gbenga Daniel, who for obvious reasons contributed immensely to the emergence of Atiku as the Presidential flag bearer. “However, he was not a front runner. Obi eventually won. This was premised on the agenda of Atiku Abubakar on fixing the economy.
The mandate of creating jobs. A good choice”, but he has some liabilities. As two term governor who won on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), he dumped APGA. He handed over to Willie Obiano, who would have continued with the APGA legacy. Due to the political maneuvering of Obiano, he took out Obi, after he became the Governor. Even in the last election, Obi supported another candidate, but he could not unseat Obiano. He does not have the political clout to unseat Obiano.
“As a man of probity, he is seen as an upright man. No known corruption case has been traced to him, even after he left office in 2013.” Our source said that even though: “We have a great political battle on our hands come 2019, we are confident of clinching victory”.
He puts it in perspective: “No one can underrate Atiku. His political structure with which he has been winning elections is still very strong, especially in the South West. “He has used it to build bridges across various parts of the country. In the East, he has friends and an Ibo wife. It is the same thing among the Yorubas. “Muhammadu Buhari is seen by many as a Northern irredentist. Atiku does not have that baggage. “Fixing the economy is what everybody is talking about. The 2019 election is not going to be a piece of cake. But we are sure of victory on a level playing field. We hope INEC will conduct a free fair and credible election.”
Atiku’s choice brings Ndigbo closer to the presidency
In the meantime, reactions have continued to trail the choice of the former chairman of Fidelity Bank. Chairman, Kano state chapter of the PDP, Senator Jibrin Masaud Eldoguwa, said Atiku Abubakar, has displayed not only political maturity and professionalism, but has shown that he is a Man of impeccable character in the choice of Peter Obi as his running mate.
“The choice has simply brought South Easterners much closer to the Presidency and the man Peter Obi is a respectful personality, who excelled in both business and political line”. Eldoguwa who spoke to Sunday Telegraph on phone from Abuja, noted that Peter Obi enjoys respect across the length and breadth of Nigeria, and has exhibited enough political maturity to make him quickly accepted across party lines.
He said: ” Don’t forget that Peter Obi is an economist per excellent, and a former governor, whose efforts in making Anambra great is still there, therefore the choice is a right one and sooner than later you will see Nigerian’s queueing behind him”.
Senator Elddoguwa noted that the Igbo’s are also Nigerians and deserved to be elected as the president and Atiku’s wisdom is making them to have that sense of belongings. “Atiku chances are very bright because he will now get simply southeast, South South and greater part of southwest, while North he will penetrate and get North Central, some part of Northeast and northwest”, he explained.
Obi understands dynamics of economic growth –Industrialists
For Chief Obiora Ogoh, an agro-allied industrialist, Obi is known for financial prudence. According to Ogoh, “It is under an Obi/Atiku ticket that we can expect sincere action against medical tourism and attendant capital flight overseas by government functionaries.
It is only under such ticket that issues concerning cost of governance would be sincerely considered. You can be sure that left for Obi, government officials will stop flying first class at government expense. “I’m sure he is going to follow through on all credible economic blueprints, to kick-start the Nigerian economy again. For industrialists, what we need is a sound economic policy and we are confident the Obi and Atiku combination will understand our present predicament better, having been key players themselves, in the production and wealth creation industry.
“For instance, the present state of things where Indians living in Nigeria are given government waivers to import palm oil and sell in Nigeria is self-destructive. How does it encourage me, a local producer? If Indians want to sell palm oil and need the Nigerian market; they should come to Nigeria, buy land, produce and process the oil here and sell.”
MASSOB: Obi most qualified for the job
The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) stated that the choice of Obi as running mate was inspiring. The group added that Obi is about the most qualified for the slot in the region, in terms of capacity and competence.
Speaking to one of our correspondents, the MASSOB national leader, Comrade Uche Madu however noted: “Though in MASSOB, we do not believe in Nigeria and we are not part of the electoral process. But as stakeholders in Igbo land in the meantime, we are also affected by everything that affects Ndigbo including bad leadership.
Based on this, anything that is of beneficial interest to Ndigbo, we will support that. “With Obi in the Atiku presidential ticket, it shows that Atiku is committed to redressing the criminal exclusion of Ndigbo from Nigeria’s leadership. Obi’s emergence will foster a sense of belonging as this is the closest an Igbo man has come to the corridors of power in a long time, especially under President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Mixed reactions in Southwest
Outside the South East, members of the party were divided in their reactions. In Osun state, some members, leaders and elders of the party took it with good fate, others described the development as not in order saying, the party should have picked Abubakar’s running mate from the southern part of the country.
One of the party chieftains and a former party Chairman in the state, Alhaji Ganiyu Olaoluwa described the development as in order saying, the party is a disciplined one that always thinks constructively to advance the schemes of the party. Olaoluwa who stated that, being a tested and trusted careerist and politician, he stands outstanding in credibility that could be used to make the country more virile and commended the efforts of those that fished him out as Atiku’s running mate.
In his own view, another party chieftain, Chief Adekunle Adesiyan kicked against the development he described as a cog in the journey of the party’s success at the poll. Adesiyan opined that, the running mate could have come from the south west of the country to erase marginalization.
He said, there was nothing he could do to it for the leadership of the party had already acted in this direction but maintained that, it could affect the party’s chances in winning the forthcoming election due to the fact, its sole political contender in the exercise which is the APC has Pastor Yemi Osinbajo as the Vice president from the zone.
Ohaneze calls for unity
The leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, called on South east Governors to work together to ensure Atiku and Obi’s victory at the polls. The Igbo youths in a statement credited to the Chairman of the South – east Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi state, Dave Umahi, said, Atiku ignored the governors and other Igbo leaders in his choice of the former governor of Anambra state as his running mate for next year’s presidential election.
The youths led by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro announced that it has set up reconciliation committee led by a renowned academician and London based scholar Obinna Ukpabi, to lead the reconciliation team to ensure peace returned to South East over the development.
It pleaded with the South east Governors to forgive the process that led to Obi’s emergence as Atiku’s running mate, describing it as an act of God. In a statement issued by the National President of the group, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro the Igbo youths said: “ OYC begs the South East Governors led by Our dear Governor David Umahi, to forgive the process that brought Mr. Peter Obi as Atiku’s running mate as a divine mandate and act of God.
“We urge other aggrieved Igbo leaders to rally around Peter Obi and Unite for the challenge a head to ensure that South East is 100% PDP in the forth coming Presidential election.
“OYC ask those who lost out in the bid to become Atiku’s running mate, to allow the collective interest of Ndigbo to thrive above personal interests and support Peter Obi to deliver the zone in the forth coming Presidential election.
“We will reconcile Governor Obiano and Peter Obi to ensure there is no more rift in Anambra and that will not stop APGA not to present their Presidential candidate in 2019, but it is high time our leaders should know we are watching them and posterity will always remember them as great warriors of Igbo Nation who projected our collective interest not to be always humiliated in the political calculation of Nigeria.
“We will reward those who allow the divine mandate of Mr. Peter Obi as Atiku running mate to thrive above personal interests in the forth coming gubernatorial election and other elections, by ensuring they win through the ballot. Isiguzoro noted that the Igbo youths will work with youth groups from other zones to deliver the duo. ”
We applaud the gesture of PDP and Atiku Abubakar on the nomination of our son and mentor, Peter Obi as the running mate in the 2019 Presidential election, this nomination is the respect accorded to aspirations millions of Igbo scattered across length and breadth of the country”.
“The jubilation that erupted with the news of Peter Obi as Atiku’s running mate across the South East shows that both Youths and agitators accept that it is the Best pair for PDP to win 2019 Presidential election. “We will ensure that this respect accorded to aspirations will yield better dividends for PDP because the whole Igbo youths”
“We call on Igbo Youths to remained law abiding and prepare to ensure that the duo of Atiku and Peter Obi are returned to Aso rock in 2019, as President and Vice President. “We will reach out to the Arewa, Ijaw, Middle Belt, Ibibio and Yoruba Youths under the Nigeria Ethnic Nationalities Youth organizations for the success of Atiku and Peter Obi Project 2019”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman south east Governors forum, Chief Dave Umahi has said he has nothing personal against former Governor of Anambra state and running mate of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Presidential candidate for next year’s general election, Peter Obi. U
mahi said South East leaders including the governors were not consulted by Atiku before choosing Obi his running mate, a situation he said was a great departure from the earlier agreement.
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