Deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu is rallying south-east leaders to back the choice of Peter Obi as the vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ), The News Agency understands.
Both persons were the main candidate considered by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as running mate in the forthcoming 2019 presidential election, with Obi becoming the choice.
However, south-east political leaders, including the zone’s PDP governors, national assembly caucus, board of trustee members and other party bigwigs, rose from a meeting on Saturday complaining that they were not accessed over the choice of Obi, a former governor of Anambra state.
An insider at the meeting said Ekweremadu asked angry leaders to remain calm and support the choice of Obi, who seems to have been better received outside the south-east than by his own constituency.
“Ekweremadu reminded us that the major task now is to get the PDP back to power and save the country from its downward spiral,” a party leader who attended the meeting told The News Agency.
“He even joked that it wouldn’t matter if Atiku picked a northerner as his running mate, as long as it would get the repressive government of Buhari out of power.”
Although the meeting was called with the agenda of turning down Obi’s recommendation, the south-east leaders were reportedly surprised by Ekweremadu’s stand.
The insider said, “You cannot weep more than the bereaved. We thought we were fighting for him, but he said we should allow Obi be. We were shocked by his sportsmanship.”
The main anger of the leaders, according to insiders, was that Atiku did not request for their ideas in making the choice.
Among those considered were Ekweremadu, Obi, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Osita Chidoka, and Austin Akobundu, a retired colonel and the national organsing secretary of the PDP.
Former MD of AMCON, Mustafa Chike-Obi, did not make the final shortlist, contrary to a former report by The news agency.
Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state, was said to have backed Obi in order to spite south-east bigwigs for not supporting his candidate, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, for the presidential ticket.
The south-east reportedly voted en masse for Atiku at the PDP convention.
The south-east leaders preferred Ekweremadu because of his broad-based understanding as a former council chairman, former secretary to the government of Enugu state, and two-term deputy senate president.
The geo-political zone’s leaders are expected to make their complaints known to Atiku at a meeting scheduled for the week.