Former Nigerian vice-President Atiku Abubakar (R) is congratulated by runners-up Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal (L) and Senate President Bukola Saraki (C) after winning the presidential ticket of the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) during the party's national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on October 7, 2018. Nigeria's main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has picked Abubakar to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari who is seeking a second term in presidential polls scheduled for February 2019. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP
Agence France-Presse

More revelations came out yesterday why Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) favoured the former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi above the choice of the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu and Ben Obi.

It was gathered that three names, Ekweremadu, Peter Obi and Ben Obi were sent to Atiku to choose from, but Atiku, though had Peter Obi in mind, told Igbo stakeholders to pick their choice.

A PDP source told newsmen that when Atiku threw the choice of Obi before the Igbo stakeholders, the Igbo business community said that they preferred the choice of Obi to others, as Obi would open the economy.

The source said that the business community said that Obi is more accessible than the others.

The choice of Ekweremadu was also discarded and also the choice of National Organising Secretary of PDP Austin Akobundu, who was described as a military officer.

The source said that Atiku had Peter Obi in mind as running mate before now, adding that the former Anambra State governor is disciplined and moderate.

It was further gathered that Obi emerged through series of consultations by stakeholders in the party and outside it.

The source, who spoke with newsmen said that a form had already been given to Obi to fill as the running mate of Atiku, even as it was gathered that the names of the presidential candidate and his running mate would be sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) next week.

Already, there is excitement in the South-East over this possibility.

Speaking with journalists in Enugu on Friday, Bismarck Oji, a former leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo youth wing, commended Atiku for choosing Peter Obi as his running mate.

According to Oji, it is gladdening to hear that Atiku abided by the zoning formula in PDP, which ceded the Vice President (VP) ticket to the South East.

He described the choice of Obi as a sign that Atiku would live up to his promise to enthrone governance based on fairness, equity and justice in Nigeria.

“However, what is paramount is Igbo interest. We want a government that will give the Igbos’ latitude to operate and contribute to the growth and development of our dear country.

“The reality is that Nigeria will have an election next year. President Muhammadu Buhari has failed in his chief duty in Nigeria, which is the protection of lives and property. When he campaigned in 2015, he promised to deal with Boko Haram in two months. Now, we have herdsmen.

“Atiku is a more detribalised and more liberal person. In 2015, Buhari and APC talked about restructuring. Some time ago, they set up a restructuring committee that went all over the country and submitted a report. Yet, up till now, nothing has been done,” Oji said.

Also, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has commended the former Vice President and PDP Presidential flagbearer, Atiku Abubakar, for nominating former Anambra State Governor, Mr.Peter Obi, as his running mate in the next general elections.

Umahi, who described Obi’s choice as masterstroke, said Atiku and Obi are capable of making Nigeria to work again.

Umahi in a statement on Friday signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, expressed optimism that with the Atiku/Obi in the Presidency Nigerians will have reasons to smile again.

Senator Ben Bruce representing Bayelsa East has also congratulated former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi over his selection as running mate to Atiku Abubakar.

This was confirmed after both men met at Atiku’s home in Abuja on Friday to hold talks. Reacting to the development, Bruce said the partnership was one which will lift Nigeria. “Congrats to my friend and brother, Mr. Peter Obi on your selection as vice presidential candidate. Without doubt, this is a solid team that will lift Nigeria to her rightly place amongst the assembly of nations.”

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