Fac­tors that worked for Obi’s emer­gence as Atiku’s run­ning mate

Sunday Trust - - NEWS - From Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu, La­gos

Mr. Peter Obi, for­mer gov­er­nor of Anam­bra State was one of the few politi­cians cum tech­nocrats favoured to be the run­ning mate of the Peo­ples’ Demo­cratic Party (PDP) can­di­date, Al­haji Atiku Abubakar. Lit­tle did many peo­ple know that the soft­spo­ken ex-gov­er­nor would even­tu­ally be an­nounced as the vice-pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

The schem­ing over the run­ning mate com­menced al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter the emer­gence of Atiku with sev­eral groups and in­di­vid­u­als mak­ing a case for their pre­ferred can­di­dates and re­gions.

It is an open se­cret that with Atiku emerg­ing from the North­ern part of the coun­try, his run­ning mate would be picked from the south com­pris­ing the South-South, South-West and South-East.

Atiku’s emer­gence last Sat­ur­day at the PDP con­ven­tion was not with­out the sup­port of all geopo­lit­i­cal blocs. In fact it is a known fact that the for­mer Vice-Pres­i­dent has con­tacts and good­will across the geopo­lit­i­cal re­gions but there was anx­i­ety over which of the re­gions would pro­duce run­ning mate.

With the Na­tional Chair­man of the party, Prince Uche Se­con­dus, com­ing from the South-South, it was clear that the ag­i­ta­tion was be­tween the South-West and the South-East.

Among the names ini­tially touted as likely run­ning mates were; the for­mer Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture and cur­rent Pres­i­dent of the African De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB), Dr. Ak­in­wunmi Adesina, for­mer gov­er­nor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, for­mer Min­is­ter of Avi­a­tion, Mr. Femi Fani-Kay­ode.

Oth­ers were for­mer Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and co­or­di­nat­ing min­is­ter for the econ­omy, Mrs. Ngozi Okon­joIweala, Deputy Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Ike Ek­w­ere­madu and Sen­a­tor Eyin­naya Abaribe. Gov­er­nor Nye­som Wike was also be­ing touted as a pos­si­ble run­ning mate but he was edged out by virtue of po­lit­i­cal balanc­ing.

In se­lect­ing a run­ning mate, one key fac­tor con­sid­ered was that the per­son must be a tech­no­crat with un­der­stand­ing of the econ­omy apart from geo­graph­i­cal balanc­ing by the po­lit­i­cal par­ties.The be­lief is that a Vice-Pres­i­dent with suc­cinct un­der­stand­ing of the econ­omy would be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to com­ple­ment the Pres­i­dent in the run­ning of the econ­omy.

Peter Obi has a mas­sive record of achieve­ments in the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors and this much was at­tested to by his cre­den­tial which is al­ready in the pub­lic do­main.

Sources told our cor­re­spon­dent that the South-east be­came the favourite zone to oc­cupy the po­si­tion based on four fac­tors and the first fac­tor was largely be­cause of the be­lief that PDP is still very strong in the South­west. Again, go­ing by the feel­ing of dis­en­chant­ment among the Ig­bos, the PDP felt the need to pacify the re­gion by choos­ing one of their own to oc­cupy a very strate­gic po­si­tion with a view to sooth­ing their angst.

One of the sources said: “The South-West, de­spite be­ing un­der the con­trol of the APC, PDP is seen to be very strong in the zone. And this view is re­in­forced by the per­for­mance of the party in Osun and Ek­iti elec­tions where the APC could not be said to have won with land­slide. In fact in Osun we strongly be­lieve that we were robbed of our de­served vic­tory.

“So we be­lieve the PDP only needs to do lit­tle home­work to im­prove its stand­ing in the re­gion”.

An­other fac­tor which worked in favour of an Easterner as run­ning mate, ac­cord­ing to our sources,is the fact that there is a mas­sive pres­ence of Ig­bos in the South­west who are in­con­tro­vert­ibly well po­si­tioned to vote for the PDP.

“This was the case in 2015 with for­mer Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan who se­cured large votes in La­gos, es­pe­cially in ar­eas pop­u­lated by Ig­bos. We be­lieve we can im­prove on this feat and de­feat Buhari in vir­tu­ally all the South-West state”, one of the sources who pleaded not to be named added. Also there are in­di­ca­tions that for­mer Pres­i­dent Oluse­gun Obasanjo was dis­posed to a South-East can­di­date as run­ning mate be­cause he didn’t want to con­test the South­west with Asi­waju Bola Tin­ubu, the Na­tional Leader of APC, whose in­flu­ence in the South­west is at an all-time high.

Mr. Peter Obi

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