PRESS STATEMENT ON THE CONTROVERSY OVER THE CHOICE OF MR. PETER OBI AS VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE OF THE PDP.
The League of Anambra Professionals [LAP] remains a non-partisan political organization without compromising its focus on enthronement of good governance, enlightenment of the populace and overall development within the Anambra State space and Nigeria in general. It is against this backdrop that LAP feels the need to place on record its position on the entirely avoidable and indeed distracting controversy over Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s choice of Mr. Peter Obi as his running mate under the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) platform for the 2019 general elections.
The furore had been ignited by the complaint of a section of the leadership of the party in the South East zone of the country, led by the Governors in that zone, that it was not consulted by Mr. Atiku Abubakar before choosing Mr. Obi.
It is axiomatic that consultation is a necessary ingredient and indeed the handmaiden of politics, especially in a democracy. Therefore, absence of consultation of major stakeholders on a pivotal issue may raise concerns. Nonetheless, while the Governors are entitled to ventilate any grievances they may have against the appointment process, it is worrisome that they chose to escalate the matter in the public domain instead of first engaging in discrete consultations towards an amicable resolution. It is not as if they sought audience with Mr.Atiku Abubakar over the matter and were rebuffed. The issue was a very sensitive one and should have been approached accordingly especially considering that Atiku Abubakar as the PDP Presidential flag-bearer has the prerogative to choose his running mate. It is highly misconceived for the South East PDP Governors to attempt to deprive Mr. Abubakar of his right to nominate whoever he thinks he can work best with.
At any rate, it has not been said that Mr. Obi lacks the capacity to discharge the roles of that office or that he has any moral handicaps that may imperil his performance in office. It is therefore difficult to fault the appointment based solely on the allegation that the Governors were not consulted. Indeed, and as a matter of fact, Mr. Obi from all indications and on all reasonable indexes is a major asset to the PDP as part of its presidential ticket, as not many would argue that he has been probably the best Governor of any state of the Federation since the start of the present democratic dispensation in 1999.
Democracy thrives best with a strong opposition, and Mr. Obi’s presence on his party’s presidential ticket for the coming elections obviously strengthens it. We advise all the stakeholders, the populace, the relevant organs of state like INEC and security agencies and political actors-especially the Governors-to close ranks in the interest of the country and work towards ensuring that all Nigerians benefit from the dividends of democracy.
CHIJIOKE OKOLI, SAN.