The leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) disclosed yesterday that they were not consulted about the party’s presidential candidate’s, Atiku Abubakar, choice of running mate in Peter Obi in preparation for the 2019 general elections.
Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu State), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) as well as Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, former House of Representatives Speaker Emeka Ihedioha and former Ebonyi Governor Sam Egwu, among others, said the report of Obi’s nomination remains a rumour to them, for now.
This declaration comes after a statement by Governor Umahi on Friday that Atiku did not meet with the governors and leaders of the zone before picking Obi as the running mate.
However, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Uche Achi-Okpagha and other Igbo youths, in separate statements welcomed Obi’s choice.
The former Anambra State governor himself took to Twitter, thanking Atiku for the ‘privilege’ to serve as the presidential running mate.
“We will work closely together to boost the economy and provide jobs. Our administration will be far away from anything called ‘lifeless’,” he said.
In a statement, the leaders at a meeting in Enugu though acknowledged the zoning of the vice presidency to the east but they insisted on the right to be consulted before such a crucial decision was made.
The Southeast zonal chairman of the party, Austin Umahi who briefed reporters on the outcome of the meeting said: “The fact is that Peter Obi is our son and we are not rejecting him, but the presidential candidate has not informed us formally.
“Atiku, we learnt, is travelling out tonight. We will discuss with him on the issue on his return”.
Their position tallied with the statement issued on Friday evening by Governor Umahi of Ebonyi State who said Atiku’s action was in breach of a standing agreement that all such appointments be discussed first with leaders of the zone.
“Any position zoned to Ndigbo must be discussed and agreement reached so that the right thing is done in line with the peculiar nature of Igbo politics and their quest for politics of inclusiveness,” he said
He said in the choice of Obi was not discussed either with the governors or other Igbo leaders.
He said while he has nothing personally against Peter Obi or any other person emerging as running mate to the PDP presidential flag bearer, such a decision should not have been taken without consulting the governors and other leaders of the zone.