Oseloka Obaze, a former Nigerian diplomat and PDP candidate in the 2017 Anambra governorship election, has slammed the-going moves by some Igbo leaders to kick against the selection of Dr. Peter Obi as the running mate to Abubakar Atiku for the Presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), describing it as a myopic and defeatist action that will take the Igbo nation back several years.
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He made this declaration at an emergency meeting of the PDP South-East Zone held in Enugu on Saturday.
Obaze, who served as the Secretary to the Government in the administration of Obi, called for caution, noting that the practice of putting one’s relatives and friends down must be reined in – a factor which he claimed was responsible for some of the losses taken by the party in recent times.
Relying on a few historical facts to support his submission, Obaze dismissed the calls for consultation as a ruse.
“We are talking of Zonal consultation on the vice presidential ticket. When did it start? Or is this meant to be a first?
“In 1979, Shehu Shagari did not consult south-east NPN before choosing Alex Ekwueme as his running mate. Indeed, Ekwueme who was then resident in London had been introduced to Shehu Shagari by the late Sir Joe Nwankwu.
“In 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo did not consult the Northeast PDP leaders before he selected Atiku Abubakar. Indeed, Atiku having won the gubernatorial election in his state was driving to Adamawa on the fateful day when he got a call to return to Abuja to meet Obasanjo and become his running mate.
“In 2007, Umaru YarAdua did not consult the south-south PDP leadership before picking Goodluck Jonathan. Rather,after Peter Odili was blocked as presidential candidate, it was James Ibori that YarAdua wanted as his running mate. It was the trio of Ahmadu Ali, Olusegun Obasanjo and Tony Anenih who decided, without any consultations with the region on Jonathan in order to block some PDP governors who were scheming to nominate another person after the rejection of Peter Odili as presidential candidate.”
Urging the Igbo nation to rally round and support their son, he noted that if the current plans to repudiate Obi’s selection pulls through, posterity will never forgive those who worked to deny the Igbo of this opportunity.
“Will the turn of southeast be different? Quo Vadis Ndiigbo? Are we to understand that after we have waited for thirty-five years to get a VP slot on a PDP ticket that is a winning combination, we are about to waste it on account of our not being consulted zonally?
“Would we rather the VP slot go elsewhere and wait another 35 years?
“How do we explain our malign attitude and that outsiders have accepted one of our sons, but we are the ones that seek to tag him “an outcast” and therefore unacceptable to the nation?
“I hope that those who champion such causes will also have the courage to sign their name to the resolution, so that in the fullness of time our posterity will appreciate our folly.”
According to him, discretion and circumspection should be exercised in ensuring that Ndigbo does not suffer from the actions of a few.