A Few unresolved issues yesterday delayed the official announcement of former Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi, as the running mate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
A source close to the National Chairman of the party, Mr. Uche Secondus, told The Guardian, yesterday night, that although Obi has been endorsed by many party leaders, he was yet to be formally announced because of a few grey areas to be sorted out.
He, however, said that such issues, which he did not disclose, would soon be resolved, as consultations were being concluded at various levels and the announcement might be made soon.
When contacted, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said the party had no statement to make on the matter “for now.”
Spokesman to Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation, Segun Sowunmi, said: “I can’t confirm what I have not been told officially.”
Another close source in the PDP national secretariat said: “Nothing was conclusive yet. We are still at the meeting, no official decision has been taken for now. So, I can’t talk about it for now.”
But an insider in the Atiku campaign office said: “Yes, it is true, but I can’t speak about it. Peter Obi is the running mate, but please leave my name out.”
Meanwhile, a high-level consultative meeting involving Atiku, Obi and other relevant PDP stakeholders has been ongoing at Atiku’s residence in Asokoro, Abuja since around 2.30pm.
It was learnt that some stakeholders, Southeast PDP governors and members of National Assembly were against his choice.
A source close to the leadership, who pleaded anonymity, told The Guardian that those against his emergence have registered their displeasure to the party leadership over choice of Obi, which the source alleged was made without wider consultations.
“Neither the party leadership nor PDP the governors or National Assembly caucus were consulted before Atiku made the choice of Obi. It came to many party chieftains as a great surprise. That was why many of them were absent at Atiku’s house when the choice was made.
“While the governors were opposed to the Southeast zone producing vice president, to avoid it affecting the Igbo presidency project in 2023, the National Assembly members were not happy that a man who worked against PDP interest for eight years as governor of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) was compensated with PDP vice president slot on a platter of gold.
The governors have threatened to issue a statement if the choice is not reversed.
One of the leaders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo told The Guardian yesterday that even the PDP Atiku had reached out to him to intervene in the matter, but said he is not disposed to do so, because apart from not being a partisan politician, he was not consulted before the choice was made.
It was gathered that Obi’s choice was influenced by the Catholic faithful, led by an influential Bishop from the northwest region, to sway the votes of the Christians, more so Catholics, especially from Southeast, South-South and North Central zones.
Meanwhile, the Anambra State chapter has described the choice of Obi as a great honour to its founding father, the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
State Chairman of party, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, said the nomination was a “round peg in a round hole,” saying Obi possessed all the requisite quality to occupy the position, having been a successful governor and a seasoned technocrat.
He said the state chapter was happy that the PDP hearkened to its call that Anambra be given the slot, as it had plethora of individuals who could partner with any president to chart a new course for Nigeria.
“It is a welcome development. The choice of Obi is that of a round peg in a round hole. As governor, he set Anambra on a pedestal for economic growth and left huge funds for future generation.
“During the campaigns, we told the aspirants that they should consider Anambra strongly for the slot of vice president as a sign of appreciation to Ekwueme for his great work as a founding father of PDP.
“For the chapter here in Anambra, we are happy that Obi was picked and we are fully of confidence that the Atiku/Obi ticket is the magic wand Nigeria needs in all sectors especially economy,” he said.
The leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide commended Atiku for picking Obi, describing the combination as perfect.
A statement by its leader, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said after their special meeting in Abakaliki, the choice of Obi would yield better dividends for PDP, because the whole Igbo youths would support Atiku and Obi in the election.
Anambra State PDP’s governorship aspirant in last year’s election, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, congratulated Atiku on picking Obi, saying he made the right choice.
Obaze, a diplomat, said it was a hard-headed decision that was best in the interest of the country at this point in time, adding: “Atiku has made the right choice in picking Obi as his running mate.
“Atiku has just the exhibited the ability to make hard-headed decision required of purposeful leaders.”