Igbos have waited for 35 years to produce VP; we should not lose the opportunity due to the whims of a few people — Obaze

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South-East Governor s and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders have been advised not to let the region lose the opportunity of producing the country’s Vice President in 2019 “due to the whims of a few people”.

PDP’s candidate in last year’s governorship election in Anambra State, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, gave the advice in a statement issued on Saturday in Enugu at the sidelines of a meeting held at the residence of Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu to discuss the emergence of former governor Peter Obi as the running mate of PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

The South-East Governors and leadership of PDP had expressed disappointment that Atiku did not carry them along in choosing Obi but that they only learnt of it on social media.

Though details of the meeting is yet to be made known at the time of filing this report,  Obaze, who recalled his experience during the 2017 governorship election in Anambra State, regretted that he ran and lost, not because he was a bad or unqualified PDP candidate, but because some people within the PDP family in the state and beyond worked against him.

He wondered why members of the party would speak against the candidature of a person the party sought to have in their party until he joined them saying: “What changed? Is Peter Obi not one of us?  “In our language, ‘even a madman has relatives’; whom you may only identify when the madman is being beaten in public and they come to his defense. Similarly, in American politics, there is an instructive saying, ‘he is a son-of-a-gun, but he is our own son-of-a-gun’.

“I have not been in partisan politics long, but I am a political scientist by training. And I do research and write, so let me share with you some basic historical realities. We are talking of zonal consultation on the vice presidential ticket. When did it start? Or is this meant to be a first?

“In 1979, Shehu Shagari did not consult South-East NPN before choosing Alex Ekwueme as his running mate. Indeed, Ekwueme who was then resident in London had been introduced to Shehu Shagari by the late Sir Joe Nwankwu. In 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo did not consult the Northeast PDP leaders before he selected Atiku Abubakar. Indeed, Atiku having won the gubernatorial election in his state was driving to Adamawa on the fateful day when he got a call to return to Abuja to meet Obasanjo and become his running mate. In 2007, Umaru Yar’Adua did not consult the South-South PDP leadership before picking Goodluck Jonathan. Rather, after Peter Odili was blocked as presidential candidate, it was James Ibori that Yar’Adua wanted as his running mate. It was the trio of Ahmadu Ali, Olusegun Obasanjo and Tony Anenih who decided, without any consultations with the region on Jonathan in order to block some PDP governors who were scheming to nominate another person after the rejection of Peter Odili as presidential candidate.”

The former diplomat explained that in the three instances, the respective regions embraced rather than repudiate or reject their sons.

He added: “Will the turn of South-East be different? Quo Vadis Ndiigbo? Are we to understand that after we have waited for thirty-five years to get a VP slot on a PDP ticket that is a winning combination, we are about to waste it on account of our not being consulted zonally?  “Would we rather the VP slot go elsewhere and wait another 35 years? How do we explain our malign attitude and that outsiders have accepted one of our sons, but we are the ones that seek to tag him “an outcast” and therefore unacceptable to the nation? What is it we seek at the bottom of the pot but fish?

“I have heard corridor talks about passing a resolution to repudiate the selection of Peter Obi as Atiku’s running mate. I hope that those who champion such causes will also have the courage to sign their name to the resolution, so that in the fullness of time our posterity will appreciate our folly.

“Mr. Vice-Chairman, the two distinct vagaries of history is that ‘only victors write history’ and that ‘historians claim to be able to recover the past’.”

Obaze further urged the party faithful not to lose the opportunity of procuring the Vice President due to the whims of a few people.

Source: News Express

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