…May turn its back on Atiku if…
By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA—LEADERS of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the South West, are expected to meet soon to deliberate on the offer of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, slot offered the zone by the party’s Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Earlier findings by Vanguard revealed that the zone was pushing to have one of its own as running mate to Atiku, only for the former Vice President to settle for Peter Obi, erstwhile governor of Anambra State.
In what appears a move aimed at pacification of some sorts, the PDP candidate, through the Director-General of his campaign organisation, Gbenga Daniel, at a media parley in Lagos on Sunday, offered the zone the plum office of the SGF in the event of his election as President next year.
Meanwhile, member of the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, told Vanguard exclusively, yesterday, that leaders and party stakeholders from the South West would meet in a fortnight to deliberate on the offer, stressing that in addition to the slot, the zone might make additional demands as a condition to throw its weight behind Atiku in 2019.
I am authentic SDP candidate, says Awoniyi
He said: “The South West is strategic to PDP in 2019 as it has been for years. The offer of the SGF office (official or not) will be discussed at a meeting of our leaders as soon as possible. It is too early to ask if we are excited because, at the meeting, we may ask for more.
“It is the discretion of a Presidential candidate to pick his running mate from wherever but as a people; the South-West knows what befits it. Like I said earlier, we will make our position known very soon.”
Asked if the zone was still nursing hard feelings for missing out of the national chairmanship position of the party, the PDP chieftain said: “The party is very strong in the South West and that is largely due to the sacrifice of our leaders who continue to put the All Progressives Congress, APC, on its toes.
“What happened in the past belongs in the past but whether the party has learned any lesson is a different thing entirely. We have been insulted, vilified and looked down upon but this time, we are going to make it clear that there is a limit to what we can take and accept.”
In addition, the source said: “The mistake (choice of the South East for Atiku’s running mate) has been made but neither the candidate nor the party should miss the opportunity to work harmoniously with the South West.
“If SGF is what they are ceding to us, the question is: SGF and what?”