By Vincent Ujumadu
A high-profile delegation of Atiku Abubakar Campaign Caretaker Committee stormed Anambra State weekend for was described as part of the ongoing consultations ahead of 2023 presidential election.
The team, led by the founder of Africa Independent Television (AIT), Dr Raymond Dokpesi, paid a visit to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the November 6, 2021 Anambra governorship election, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo at his country home, Amesi in Aguata local government area.
According to Dokpesi, the visit was to inform Anambra citizens that Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President of Nigeria and 2019 PDP presidential candidate, is again aspiring to contest for the president in 2023.
He said his team was in Anambra because the state has been at the forefront of producing great leaders for Nigeria and has shown commitment to PDP as a party over the years.
He said: “We have come to seek and solicit your support for the presidential aspiration of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and to assure you that he is in the best position to unify Nigeria and protect the interest of his in-laws (Ndigbo)”.
Dokpesi, who explained that Anambra was the 30th state his team had visited, observed that the concept of rotational presidency was meant to prevent the emergence of what he called “Super Nigerians” by allowing people from every part of the country to lead, adding that PDP had technically zoned the presidential ticket to the North by electing Atiku as its flag-bearer in 2019.
He further argued that Atiku has not yet emerged president since then, pointing out that “the Waziri is the right person that could match Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu should he eventually emerge as the presidential candidate of APC”.
He said that Atiku Abubakar, if elected, would ensure that “South East’s interest is highly protected”, as exemplified earlier by him with the choice of His Excellency Peter Obi as his running mate.
He urged Igbo people to mobilize massively join the PDP, and boost the party’s membership ahead of the 2023 elections.
Dokpesi said that Anambra State missed out on having “the services of a dogged fighter” by failing to elect Valentine Ozigbo during the 2021 gubernatorial election and declared that the forces that worked against the PDP candidate cannot stop his light from shining.
In his comments, Ozigbo thanked the Atiku campaign team for finding him worthy of the visit and expressed admiration for Dr Dokpesi’s commitment towards the growth of PDP.
“I am encouraged by your consistency for the PDP”, Ozigbo said and appreciated the media mogul’s support to the party during the last Anambra State governorship election.
While commenting on his perception of Atiku Abubakar, Ozigbo said he looks out for character and competence in a leader, adding that the former vice president is eminently qualified to vie for the presidency of Nigeria.
He added that nobody would doubt Atiku’s capacity to lead, arguing, however, that there is a need to note the sensitivity around the country for the clamour for power shift.
Speaking on the issue of zoning and rotational presidency, Ozigbo described it as sensitive and called for “a high level of emotional intelligence and balance”, noting that credible South-East leaders would need to come together and agree on the direction after considering all factors.
The Atiku team included Engr. Olajide Adeniji, who acts as the secretary of the committee, Emeka Donald Nwachukwu, Chief Obunike Ohaegbu, Mr Olumide Opeewe, Hajia Hassana Dada Shuaibu, Mr Adai Edwin Adai, Mr Ado Datti, and Amb. Bin Abbas.
The Ozigbo team at the meeting included his running mate in the November 2021 election, Dame Azuka Enemo; two state lawmakers, Hon Onyebuchi Offor and Chuka Ezenwune; three former State Chairmen of PDP, Benji Udeozor, Ejike Oguebego and Pandola Okwuosa; former lawmakers at the federal and state levels, including Hon CY Egwuatu, Hon KG Enemuo, and Hon Tim Egboka; some key stakeholders of the party, including Chief Sunday Ezeobiora, Chief Tony Offiah, Chief Chike Ezechukwu, Chief Kenneth Ezeoke, Dr Richard Okechukwu, among others.