The Peoples Democratic Party governors and other leaders in the South-East on Saturday in Enugu said they have not been informed of the nomination of a former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, as the running mate of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Obi was announced as Abubakar’s running mate on Friday.
Shortly after the development, Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, and Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, issued a statement, saying that the PDP governors in the zone were not consulted before the decision was taken.
Our correspondent learnt that hours after Obi’s nomination became public on Friday, a ‘high-level’ South-East PDP stakeholders meeting was convened on Saturday in Enugu.
The three PDP governors in the zone — Umahi, Ebonyi, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu, and Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia — attended the meeting, alongside Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, some other National Assembly members and party leaders in the zone.
The meeting was stated to hold at the PDP South-East zonal secretariat but it eventually held in Ekweremadu’s residence.
Ekweremadu’s residence in the Independence layout area of Enugu is adjacent the PDP zonal office.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, the PDP National Vice President, South-East, Austin Umahi, a brother of the Ebonyi State governor, explained that the meeting considered several matters, particularly the ‘burning issue’ of Obi’s selection as Atiku’s running mate.
Umahi said the leaders of the PDP in the South-East only learnt of the development on social media, despite the fact that the position was allocated to the zone by the party.
Although he stressed that they were not rejecting Obi’s selection, Umahi noted that Atiku should consult the party leaders in the zone.
He said, “We want to use this opportunity to congratulate our candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and we are pleased because the finger of God is on him — we believe he will become the President in 2019.
“Our leaders came together to appreciate the party for the recognition given to the South-East and keeping to their promise to give the Vice President slot to the South-East.
“However, the leaders said they only saw it on social media. Our candidate (Atiku) is travelling tonight (Saturday night). When he returns, he will discuss with the leadership of the South-East.”
Our correspondent gathered that some top PDP leaders in the zone were also eyeing the position.
Also, feelers in the South-East PDP indicated that some states also felt the slot should have been given to them.
Besides, a former PDP governorship candidate in Anambra State, Mr Oseloka Obaze, who addressed journalists shortly after Umahi’s briefing, said the South-East PDP was threading on a wrong path.
He said, “Mr. Vice President, the Biafran war ended 48 years ago and the Igbo nation has yet to recover fully. Now a historic opportunity beckons; an opportunity to actualise the mainstreaming of the Igbo nation, and we are bickering as to which of our sons should lead the charge.”