How South East Politicians Are Reacting To Obi’s Emergence As Atiku’s Running Mate

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Some politicians in the South East of Nigeria have reacted to the choice of Peter Obi as the running mate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Atiku Abubakar. While some respondents view the choice as a move to consolidate the support base of the PDP in the zone, others see it as a hoax. Ukpai Ukairo, PDP Legal Adviser, South East Zone described the choice of Obi as perfect. Ukairo said Obi would bring value and industry to the economy and governance of the country if the party wins the election. He said that Obi had one of the best track records of performance during his time as governor in Anambra. The legal adviser said that the fundamentals of the PDP ticket were the tenure issue and the restructuring of the country which the candidates had subscribed to. “It is better for us to leverage on this to restructure the country, rather than living in a Nigeria that is not working,” Ukairo said. Raph Egbu, former information commissioner in Abia, said that as an experienced technocrat, Obi would bring quality leadership to bear in the governance of the country. Egbu, who is a former chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, said that the ticket would give the zone the needed sense of belonging in the affairs of the country. “Atiku is an experienced politician and must have taken a look at the numbers and what would happen in the various zones during the election. “President Muhammadu Buhari is not a new candidate and will be assessed by his performance. If Atiku can contest fairly in the North and the South West, then anything can happen,” Egbu said. Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the President on Justice Reform Sector, Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu says the Atiku/Obi ticket is not a threat to Buhari in the zone and beyond. Ibekaku-Nwagwu said that the current administration had performed well in all areas of the economy in spite of the challenges it faced. She said that the South East remained a stronghold for the APC considering the unprecedented upgrade of infrastructure by the Buhari administration. The presidential aide said that party faithful in the zone would mobilise effective support for the president come 2019. Mr Osita Okechukwu, another chieftain of the APC, said that though the choice of Obi was a great one but the zone needed to know that ‘all that glitters is not gold’. Okechukwu, who is the Director General of Voice of Nigeria, said that the Atiku/Obi ticket was basically driven by a promise to restructure the country as well as to do one term in office. He said that Nigerians needed not to fall to the restructuring sentiments, adding “even the zone that the PDP presidential candidate hails from is opposed to restructuring. So how will he achieve it? “Even the commitment to serve for one term is not tenable and we still believe that the interest of the South East is better served in APC,” he said. Okechukwu urged electorates from the zone not to be carried away by the antics of the opposition, adding that South East would have a grip of the presidency in 2023 under the APC.
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