Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), will not replace Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State, as his presidential candidate despite opposition from some party leaders in the South-East — the same region Obi hails from.
Obi was announced Atiku’s running mate on Friday evening, but some South-East PDP leaders, including four state governors — Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, Willie Obiano of Anambra, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi —of Enugu protested, saying they were not consulted.
It is a complaint Atiku has taken note of, according to a source very close to him, even though replacing Obi with anyone else is "not an option for him”.
“The fact remains that Peter Obi remains the best option for now… the best who is in sync with Atiku ideologically and business-wise,” said the source.
“He is young, smart, cool-headed as well. Atiku wants a VP whom he can give important responsibilities to; not someone going around to give lectures and seminars, and sharing N20,000 at market squares. Those were some of the things Atiku was looking for, and he has seen them in Peter Obi.”
He added that reneging on the Obi choice would amount to Atiku running foul of one major weakness identified by many in the current administration.
“On the political side, it will be hard for him — because the opposition might use that against him, saying he is not firm and cannot stand by his decisions. We were talking about cabals running the Muhammadu Buhari administration; how will that be different from some individuals in the country dictating who should be picked as running mate?
“South West only had two options: Akinwunmi Adesina and Gbenga Daniel. But while campaigning, Atiku had even promised that them in the South-East that one of them would become his running mate. If he doesn’t keep to that promise, it would be difficult for those people to trust him for the election. He made a promise; he has fulfilled that promise. It is not now for some individuals to now think they should be able to tell him who exactly should be picked.”
Depsite the opposition by some of the PDP leaders, there scenes of wild jubilation in many parts of Anambra when the announcement was made.