Former President Goodluck Jonatha has appealed to political leaders of the PDP in the southeast to back Peter Obi’s emergence as Atiku Abubakar’s running mate for the 2019 elections.
Atiku, a former vice president, announced obi, a former governor of Anambra state, as his running mate on Friday after a closed-door meeting.
But governors on the platform of the PDP in the southeast, from where Obi hails, have distanced themselves from Atiku’s nomination of Obi as Nigeria’s number two citizen.
Making this known on Saturday after a meeting in Enugu, the governors, who also met with other leaders of the sub-region, said the national body of the party and Atiku did not consult them before picking Obi.
However, Jonathan, speaking through a statement, said the party needed to be united to defeat the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in next year’s polls.
Jonathan said that it was the prerogative of the presidential candidate to choose the person he can effectively work with.
“I therefore want to directly appeal to my brothers and sisters from the South-east zone who are members of our party to reconsider their position and allow the presidential candidate of the PDP to select a candidate he thinks he can work with to be able to achieve the party’s development goals. Since Atiku has already nominated Mr. Peter Obi as his running mate, I am pleading with my party members from the zone to accept his choice,” he said.
Jonathan continued: “I thank members of our great party for the successful conduct of the primaries for the various elective positions ahead of the 2019 general elections. By holding transparent, peaceful and rancor-free convention and primaries across the country, our party has once more, taken the nation’s democratic exercise a notch higher, in line with our well-established tradition of deepening the growth of democracy in our
“I again congratulate all our candidates for various positions, including Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who was overwhelmingly elected by our delegates as the flag bearer of our party in the 2019 presidential election. The popularity and positive reviews of the exercise across the country is a clear demonstration of national endorsement for the choices we made, going into the 2019 elections.
“The task before us is to build on this firm foundation and momentum by pulling in one direction and working assiduously for the victory of these candidates at the polls.
“I affirm that consultation is a key ingredient in every political process. Nonetheless, in the selection of a vice presidential candidate, a presidential candidate is allowed reasonable freedom to select his running mate based on loyalty, trust, experience, temperament and capacity to perform the responsibilities of the office. Anything other than this could create tension and acrimony between the presidential candidate and his running mate, even before the inauguration of the government.
”My plea is for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to be given a free hand to choose who he wants to work with as his Vice President without putting him through undue pressure. In this regard, only minimal consultation is required which doesn’t necessarily have to involve full regional review and approval.”