Jonathan Makes Case For Obi’s Candidature 

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Joseph Bakare 

Former President Dr.  Goodluck Jonathan has urged leaders of

the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  in the South East zone to accept 

the party’s presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s choice

of  Mr. Peter Obi as his running mate, to ensure victory for PDP in

next year’s general elections.

The former President’s appeal follows a statement  issued  on Saturday

by leaders of the party in the zone stating that they were not

properly consulted before Obi’s nomination was made public. In a

statement addressed to party members which he personally signed,  the

former President counseled against insisting on obtaining a zonal

endorsement for a vice presidential nomination,  adding that it is the

prerogative of the Presidential candidate to select the candidate he

believes will help him to achieve his vision and goals for the nation.

A statement issued by Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, the former President’s

spokesman quoted Dr. Jonathan thus: “I therefore want to directly

appeal to my brothers and sisters from the South East zone who are

members of our party to reconsider their position and allow the

presidential candidate of the PDP to select a candidate he thinks he

can work with to be able to achieve the party’s development goals.

Since  Atiku has already nominated Mr.  Peter Obi as his running mate,

I am pleading with my party members from the zone to accept his

choice.”

Below is the full statement issued by Dr. Jonathan:

“I thank members of our great party for the successful conduct of the

primaries for the various elective positions ahead of the 2019 general

elections. By holding transparent, peaceful and rancor-free convention

and primaries across the country, our party has once more, taken the

nation’s democratic exercise a notch higher, in line with our

well-established tradition of deepening the growth of democracy in our

nation.

“I again congratulate all our candidates for various positions,

including Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who was overwhelmingly elected by our

delegates as the flag bearer of our party in the 2019 presidential

election. The popularity and positive reviews of the exercise across

the country is a clear demonstration of national endorsement for the

choices we made, going into the 2019 elections.

“The task before us is to build on this firm foundation and momentum

by pulling in one direction and working assiduously for the victory of

these candidates at the polls.

It is against this backdrop that I appeal for calm and understanding

in the South East where my attention has been drawn to the fact that

some leaders of our party are openly expressing their discomfort with

the reported nomination of former Governor of Anambra State Peter Obi

as Atiku’s running mate. I am told that some of our leaders in the

zone have raised issues with the process of consultation that produced

the Vice Presidential candidate.

“I affirm that consultation is a key ingredient in every political

process.  Nonetheless, in the selection of a vice presidential

candidate,  a presidential candidate is allowed reasonable freedom to

select his running mate based on loyalty, trust, experience,

temperament and capacity to perform the responsibilities of the

office. Anything other than this could create tension and acrimony

between the presidential candidate and his running mate, even before

the inauguration of the government.

My plea is for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to be given a free hand to choose

who he wants to work with as his Vice President without putting him

through undue pressure. In this regard, only minimal consultation is

required which doesn’t necessarily have to involve full regional

review and approval.

“We have to be careful not to give the impression that the process of

selecting a Vice Presidential candidate cannot progress until a

regional stamp of approval is formally procured. The system we are

used to right from the First Republic is one that places the choice of

a running mate at the behest of the candidate, based on his own

convictions on capacity and compatibility.

“From my political history beginning from Deputy Governor to

President, I can say that this is the tradition and standard practice

in countries where either the President and his Vice or Governor and

his deputy contest election on a common slate. In such instance, once

a candidate emerges, he or she is given a free hand to select the

person who understands his vision and plans for the country, as his

running mate.

I therefore want to directly appeal to my brothers and sisters from

the South East zone who are members of our party to reconsider their

position and allow the presidential candidate of our party to select a

candidate he thinks he can work with to be able to achieve the party’s

development goals.  Since Atiku has nominated Mr. Peter Obi as his

running mate, I am pleading with my party members from the zone to

accept his choice.”

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