*Afenifere, Umahi, Yakassai, others react
*Ohaneze to court Arewa youths, Middle Belt,Yoruba
By Our Reporters
The choice of a former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi as the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was generally described as a deft move by a cross-section of Nigerians.
His emergence as the running mate to the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku didn’t come as a surprise as his name had prominently featured among those being considered for the position.
Saturday Vanguard learned that Atiku met with Obi in his Asokoro residence after Jamaat prayers yesterday in Abuja.
A statement by the Director General of Atiku Campaign Organisation, Otunba Gbenga Daniel said the former governor was mainly chosen because of his vast knowledge of global and local economics.
Other reasons adduced were his youthfulness and experience in the management of people and resources.
However, most people, who spoke to Saturday Vanguard on the development were emphatic that Obi’s presence would add value to Atiku’s prospects.
Those who reacted include Ebonyi State governor, Mr. Dave Umahi; Deputy Senate Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwachaa; former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife; National Vice Chairman, South, of the PDP, Mr. Eddy Olafeso; and Spokesperson of pan-Yoruba sociopolitical organisation, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin.
Others are former Minister of Aviation in the First Republic, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi; ex-Adviser to former President Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai; Ohaneze Youths; a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Uzo Azubuike; former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Victor Ogene; former governorship candidate in Anambra State, Mr. Oseloka Obaze; and Chairman, Niger State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Tanko Beji.
It’s a masterstroke—Gov Umahi
Umahi in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Uzor described the choice of Obi as a masterstroke, adding that it had all the things that would make Nigeria work again.
He described Obi as a consummate administrator, who showed class in leadership as a two-term governor.
Umahi further maintained that Atiku and Obi would bring ingenuity and wealth of experience to bear when they become President and Vice President of Nigeria next year.
Peter is a great choice.—Ezeife
Ezeife described the choice of Obi as great, adding that he was not wasteful in the management of resources while serving as governor.
He said: “Peter is a great choice. He brings his business intelligence into governance. He is not corrupt and as a governor, he was not wasteful. I must say that I am very happy.’’
On his part, Olafeso said: “As a National Vice Chairman of the party, I hail the decision to pick Peter Obi as running mate to our presidential candidate. The decision to pick him is based on his outstanding performance as governor of Anambra State. He is a successful businessman and we expect his experience to translate into good governance for our nation.’’
Atiku/ Obi ticket a good one—Yakassai
An elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai said: “ It was expected all along that the slot of the Vice President should go to the South East for the PDP as APC has chosen the South West. What is not ascertained is whether the choice of Peter Obi is the collective choice of the majority of the people of the South East. Atiku Abubakar/ Peter Obi ticket is a very good one. Atiku Abubakar is a Muslim from the North while Peter Obi is a Christian from the South just as Muhammadu Buhari is a Muslim from the North and Yemi Osinbajo is a Christian from the South. Everything is balanced.”
This is Atiku’s time—Amaechi
Reacting, Amaechi, said: “Peter Obi is an experienced politician, administrator, and businessman. Obi and Atiku are widely exposed. Nigeria needs an enlightened government that will manage our economy very well. This is Atiku’s time to reign and with Peter Obi, I think it is a good team. I don’t know how the South West will take it but I want to advice the APC against rigging the elections. The things I saw in Ekiti and Osun states were not elections.”
Atiku/Obi should be committed to restructuring—Afenire
Odumakin stated thus: “All we are concerned about at this stage is that they should be committed to the restructuring of Nigeria. If it is true that he has picked Peter Obi as his running mate, he should join him to work out a clear-cut programme on restructuring and ensure that he remains steadfast to that because restructuring is the main issue that will determine the next election.”
A former House of Representatives member, Mr. Victor Ogene, said:’’The name, Peter Obi, has over the last decade come to represent frugality in public finance, sobriety, and probity in spending, and excellence in public office. His choice, therefore, as vice presidential candidate of the PDP, beyond representing a positive move towards integrating the Igbo into the top leadership strata of the nation is apt.
“As a successful two-time governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi comes fully ready for the top position he has been chosen for.”
Azubuike said: “It is a welcome development. It shows that Atiku and indeed PDP have been positioned to redress the injustice and grave marginalisation that Igbo have suffered in the hands of the current administration.
“It shows that Atiku is focused on reuniting and redefining Nigeria as one entity where all sections of the country will have a sense of belonging and active participation in governance.
“Of course, Peter Obi is experienced, quite knowledgeable, exposed and humble. He brought sustainable socioeconomic development to Anambra State. I am sure he will bring that experience to bear.’’
It’ll unite Nigerians—Ekweremadu’s aide
An aide of the Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who didn’t want his name in print said he believed the choice of Peter Obi would strengthen the relationship between the North East, the North Central, the North West, South South, and South East.
He said: “The Igbo are spread across Nigeria. In the North, some politicians who used to be with Buhari have left him. For instance, someone like Buba Galadima has left him. The international community has also seen the real Buhari and is not impressed with him. I am confident the South East and the South South will go for Atiku Abubakar/Peter Obi presidency. The South West people are wise voters and they know the right thing to do.” A former presidential aspirant of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Chief Charles Udeogaranya said: “Peter Obi as a running mate in the political calculation is expected to deliver the entire South East to the PDP. He is also expected to mobilise the entire Southern region for PDP while Atiku Abubakar should mobilise the North. Peter Obi will give Atiku Abubakar the required 25 percent to win the presidency.”
Obaze said: “His Excellency, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has made the right choice in picking Peter Obi as his running make.”
Atiku has just the exhibited the ability to make hard-headed decision required of purposeful leaders.”
Speaking on the matter, Ohaneze Youth Council said: “We are calling on Igbo youths to ensure that the duo of Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi make it to Aso Rock in 2019 as President and Vice President. We will reach out to Arewa youths, Ijaw, Middle Belt, Ibibio, Yoruba youths under the Nigeria Ethnic Nationalities Youth OrganiSations for the success of Atiku and Peter Obi.’’