The South East governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other candidates of the party in the forthcoming elections have disowned Mr Peter Obi who was on Friday picked as the running mate of the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The PDP leaders from the zone, who rose from a meeting yesterday in Enugu, declared that they were not aware of the choice of the former governor of Anambra State, Mr Obi as the running mate to their presidential candidate, Alhaji Abubakar.
They argued that though Mr Obi is an Igbo son, Atiku could not have picked him without the knowledge of the leaders of the zone whom he had bargained with for the vice president slot, describing his unilateral action as an insult to the entire Igbo leaders.
Briefing newsmen shortly after the meeting that lasted for about two hours at the residence of the Deputy President of Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, the Zonal Vice Chairman of the PDP, Mr Austin Umahi, said that the party in the zone still believes that the announcement of Obi was social media brouhaha as Atiku is yet to discuss with the leaders of the zone on his choice of vice from the region.
The meeting was attended by Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Chief David Umahi (Ebonyi); former governors of Ebonyi Senator, Dr Sam Egwu and Abia, Senator Theodore Orji; Imo PDP governorship candidate and former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, former Anambra State PDP governorship candidate, Chief Obazie Oseloka, and Ekweremadu.
Members of the PDP in the House of Representatives who were elected in the just concluded primaries and other candidates of the party across the Southeast states were also in attendance.
However, Chief Oseloka Obaze, who came for the meeting but could not enter into the venue queried the decision of the leaders and the governors of the Southeast, asking “is Peter Obi not one of us? When did zonal consultation on the vice presidential ticket start or is this meant to be the first?”
He said that in the Igbo Language, “even a mad man has relatives,” whom you may only identify when the madman is being beaten in the public and they will come to his defense. He pointed out that in 1979, Shehu Shagari did not consult the Southeast 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 to become his running mate.
“In 2007, Umaru Yar’Adua 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 Yar’Adua 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,” Obaze said.