Peter Obi’s nomination and the dissension from the South East
Special Assistant to former President Obasanjo on Media and Publicity and Senior Special Assistant to former President Jonathan on public affairs Dr Reuben Abati has advised the South East leaders to sheath their swords and accept Peter Obi as Atiku’s running mate.
According to him on his facebook wall, the choice of VP by the presidential candidate is often times followed by some measure of disapproval by interest groups from the zone where the VP nominee comes from.
However the choice is squarely nearly an exclusive prerogative of the Presidential candidate.
Usually because the zone is under contention for the VP slot the zonal leadership of the party ought to have met immediately after the primaries and agree on a shortlist of 3 candidates which would have been submitted to the candidate through the national leadership of the Party.
It is expected that the candidate will pick one of this three. But still the candidate is at liberty to reject the three and bring up his own preferred candidate in further consultation with the party and selected stakeholders in the zone.
In 1999, the party leadership and stakeholders had their own preferences and the zonal leadership were solidly behind abubakar Rimi.
Candidate Obasanjo got a wind of the position of the party because close individuals within the national caucus revealed to him the trend of their thoughts.
That evening in Nicon Hilton Obasanjo rejected the nominees of the party and the zone which was expected to produce the VP. He gave the name of Atiku Abubakar who was from the north east and not even in the preferred ME zone and therefore not favoured.
It was a night of “long knives” but the strength of his mandate, his personal charisma and the love of party and country, the elders conceded to the lone voice of Obasanjo and accepted Atiku as the Vice President.
This is what the elders and leaders from the south east must do immediately and not allow this issue degenerate to any distasteful level which may make the candidate lose focus and be unnecessarily distracted even in this early stages.
The good thing is that the choice is indeed a good one with a high national appeal and acceptability.
The South East leaders and elders must not create any bad blood capable of eroding the already entrenched popularity of the party in that zone.
TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN, MUCH IS EXPECTED.