Former vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, has said it was not likely that the emergence of its national chairman would determine where the party would zone the presidency in 2023.
Speaking on Arise TV, yesterday, over speculations that the chairmanship of the party would go the South during its October national convention and the presidential ticket would go to north, the former governor of Anambra State said 2023 would be different because the party knows it has to get it right in 2023 or else it would be bad for the country.
“I cannot speak on what the zoning committee is going to do but let me assure you that even in the discussions that we have had in various meetings, I do not see the zoning of the chairmanship as a determinant that the other zone would produce the presidential candidate. Everybody today knows that things are not what they should be in Nigeria and we have to get it right in 2023. If we get it wrong in 2023, it would be very bad for the country, so, we have to get it right.
“We must look for competence and someone who has capacity in the knowledge of what it means to serve or lead this country. We are on the wrong road and we cannot continue this journey on this road. So, if the chairman comes from one zone, it would not stop people from the other zone from contesting. We are dealing with something that can be moved from one zone to the other. I can tell you that 2023 would be totally different because everybody is struggling to make sure that we do not get it wrong. I cannot determine where the zoning would go but we would wait and see, then we would look into it.
“In the event that the PDP zones to the north, I cannot speak for any state in the South East on how they would vote but I know that the southern governors have said the presidency should go to the South and that includes the South East. The South East as a zone has said it wants inclusion in Nigeria to show that it is part of it. The demand of the South East is genuine and compelling but we would have to watch what would happen. We have to consult, negotiate and make people understand what the issues are.”
Obi who was governor on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for eight years and defected to the PDP at the end of his tenure, denied reports that while he was governor, he vowed not to join the then ruling party and accused it of being a curse to the South East.
He said: “I want someone to show me a tape where I said that I will never join PDP because it is a curse to the South East. That statement is something that was orchestrated for a purpose. I was the chairman of South East Governors Forum for eight years, we were supposed to rotate it yearly but every other governor told me to continue. Don’t forget that the other four governors were PDP governors, so there is no way I would have made such a statement and they would still keep me as chairman of the forum.
“There was no governor that was closer to former president, Goodluck Jonathan, than me. While I was in APGA, I was in his economic management team, so, how would I have said that about the PDP and he will still keep me? There was a time the late Ojukwu was worried about my closeness to PDP but I promised that I would always be with him. When he fell sick, I ensured that he was taken abroad for treatment and I made provision for everything that he needed.”
He asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop taking pictures with “heartless, valueless” politicians switching political parties.
Obi said the trend “is sending the wrong signal that you can be anything and be elevated into something.”
“Let me tell you what I found worrisome about the defection of today. What I found worrisome is people, weekly and daily, being led to go and take photoshoots with the president, I’m worried about it. I want to see the president taking pictures at the funeral of our falling soldiers, police, or their family,” the former vice-presidential candidate said.
“I want to see him taking pictures with young people who are doing innovative things in the tech industry. I want to see him taking pictures with people who are making a lot of impact; not pictures with those of us, I’m generalising politicians, who are heartless, valueless. It is very worrisome. Those pictures are not helping our country. The perception is sending the wrong signal that you can be anything and be elevated into something.”