Former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar emerged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the opposition party’s national convention held in Port Harcourt from Saturday, October 6 to Sunday, October 7.
Atiku’s emergence was the party’s candidate came as a surprise to many political analysts who believed the current governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Tambuwwal, who had the support of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state and former Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose, would get the presidential ticket.
A report by The Nation newspaper has, however, shed light on the possible reasons why the former vice president emerged the winner.
An influential member of the PDP in the southeast told the newspaper that the zone’s political stakeholders went against Governor Wike and voted massively for Atiku because he (Atiku) entered into certain agreements with them before the national convention.
Below are the pre-convention agreements Atiku allegedly with the southeast leaders which facilitated his emergence as the PDP presidential candidate:
1. Consultation with southeast leaders on how to pick vice presidential candidate
2. Consensus on other positions conceded to the zone
3. Finding a meeting point with the zone on Atiku’s idea of restructuring
4. Need to spend one term in office and cede power to the southeast in 2023
5. The offer of the VP slot to Ekweremadu (Right of First Refusal) before any other candidate
The southeast PDP leaders are, however, reportedly annoyed with Atiku as he has reportedly violated two of the above-stated agreements.
First, they accused the presidential candidate of not consulting with them before picking Peter Obi, the former governor of Anambra state, as his running mate.
“All our leaders have no grudges against Obi but they are just unhappy about how Atiku reneged on some of the agreements reached with him especially the essence of carrying stakeholders along,” an anonymous source was quoted to have said on Saturday, October 20.
Second, the source who spoke with The Nation said Atiku had allegedly offered Ike Ekweremadu the vice presidential slot a year ago.
The deputy Senate president’s response had always been: “Let us get the ticket first. I am interested in the southeast being in the mainstream of power equation in Nigeria.”
Though Ekweremadu was among the people considered for the position, he was not offered the VP slot nor given Right of First Refusal as indicated in the alleged agreements.
“The assumption is that if Atiku can treat southeast leaders and governors in this manner as a candidate, what if he becomes the president. It is just a matter of trust. When in need, he offered Ekweremadu the position of running mate. Courtesy demands that he should have also confided in Ekweremadu before choosing Obi,” the source was quoted to have said.