There are unconfirmed reports that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar has picked the former governor of Anambra, Peter Obi as his running mate for the 2019 general elections, after a closed-door meeting held at Atiku’s residence.
Several names had been listed, with the vice presidential candidate (of the opposition party seeking a return to power) expected to come from either the Igbo-dominated Southeast or from the Southwest geo-political zone; a list of possible options have surfaced including former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chukwuma Soludo; former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina; and former Managing Director of Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Chike Obi; the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, as well as the former Anambra governor, Peter Obi.
Between the lines: If this decision proves to be true, it means that Atiku has probably listened to the ‘yearnings’ of the people of the South East (Igbos) which might, in turn, appeal to their sense of belonging – One Nigeria.
One key question is, however, is whether the eventual running mate to the PDP candidate can actually help garner enough votes in the region where he emerges from as this has over the years proven to make a significant difference in election outcomes.
Typically, people reference the incumbent vice president to have a debate on where the next one should come from and this decision – if it is eventually confirmed – will confirm that a roundtable discussion had actually taken place. Remember, Yemi Osinbajo is from the South West.
Some other details:
- For Peter Obi, a number of factors make him stand out among the listed options.
- He has a vast knowledge of the economy and vital solutions to challenges facing it, as he has adumbrated on several occasions, having also served as an economic adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
- Somewhat of the “younger generation” of politicians in the country, he appeals to the youthful population and does have a strong following in the South East.
- He has never been described as corrupt despite being a two-term governor in Nigeria
- Judging by his performance in office as governor and as an ardent critic of the present administration, Obi has a voice that people want to listen to, even beyond the South East.
- So, the decision will prove to be a viable chance for Atiku to win in 2019.