When he returns from his current trip to the United Kingdom, Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), intends to discuss the choice of Peter Obi as his running mate with the party leaders in the South-East who are unhappy with the development.
After Obi, former Governor of Anambra State, was announced Atiku’s running mate on Friday, some South-East PDP leaders, including four state governors — Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, Willie Obiano of Anambra, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi — protested, saying they were not consulted.
As reported by SaharaReporters on Monday, replacing Obi with anyone else “is not an option” for Atiku.
However, the former Vice-President, who has been in the UK since Sunday, is also wary of coming across as leaving any vital interest group out of his plans.
“The disappointment of some PDP leaders in the South-East is something I know Atiku will look at once he comes back from the UK,” SaharaReporters was told on Tuesday.
“He’s willing to meet with South-East PDP leaders to discuss; but the option would not be about changing Peter Obi; the option would be about discussing every other political appointment with them before announcing them.
“Atiku is very open to discussing with those who are aggrieved; he wants to carry everyone along, and that’s the reason you’ve not seen him tweet about Obi’s emergence as his running mate. The campaign organization has come out to say this is the running mate, but for Atiku personally, he would have to carry everyone along, which is why he has been silent about it on social media.”
It is still unclear when exactly Atiku will be back in the country, but it will be any moment from now, as Thursday is the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for parties to submit the list of their presidential candidates and running mates.