My Objection with Atiku, PDP over Choice of Obi as Running Mate, Says Umahi

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Chairman, South East Governors forum and Governor of Ebonyi state, David Umahi has given further explanation on his position about the nomination of the former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi as running mate to Atiku Abubakar.

He said it was negligence on the part of the Atiku and PDP to have taken such decision in consultation with other regions without any leader from Southeast where Obi hails from.

Umahi insisted that anyone from Southeast region faulting the reservation he expressed is not a human being; saying that even Obi has acknowledged that he was right in his position when they met recently.

Umahi stated this while giving more explanation on his position Obi’s nomination on Tuesday at the state executive chambers Abakaliki.

He added that if Atiku had just announced his running mate without people from other regions seeing the lists and making inputs or choices, “we wouldn’t have been bothered because nobody chooses a VP for anybody; it is like a wife”.

He however said though Obi is eminently qualified to be Vice President of the country, but leaders of the southeast geopolitical zone where he hails from was not carried along during deliberations to that threw him up among others considered for the post.

Umahi also pointed out the non consideration of Ebonyi and Imo among the five persons earlier shortlisted for the position was against equity and fairness; adding that no Southeast PDP governor was even interested in the VP slot as they all need to complete their second term in office.

The governor said he is a fighter if injustice and marginalization and had no regret over his position on the matter.

“We have never said that we are against Peter Obi but what we have said is that if six people can come together from five regions and look at recommendations for the southeast and no Southeast person is there. That is not good for us.

“We have never said we are against Peter Obi. We have never said that Obi is not good for us, we have nothing against Obi but we want when decisions that concern us are being taken; we want to be part of that decision.

“Number two, the five names submitted, of course, no governors in southeast east wants  to be Vice President; everybody wants to finish his tenure.  The Five names for VP should have been drawn from the five southeast states but there was no name from Ebonyi and Imo states. I am a fighter of marginalization of Ebonyi people.

“If we are going to vote, we must be treated with equity. These are the issues; two names came from Anambra, one from Enugu and one from Abia.

So, what is wrong in having someone from Ebonyi and then one from Imo? These are the issues but there are not as terrible as is being looked at. I know that my people put me on social media talking so many thing about me but it doesn’t move me.

“We must sit down with the Presidential candidate and say look, if we work together, we must be part of the decision making . I am not talking about myself; I am talking about the leadership of the southeast.

“If six people can come from other regions to take decision and there is nobody from south east and our people think is right, so be it.

“Nobody is against Obi.

The leaders of Ndigbo are saying that when decisions are taken and you invite people from other regions, invite people from southeast. They never issued any statement and anybody from southeast that is saying that my stand is not good, is not a human being, because tomorrow is bigger than today.

“If Atiku had just announced his running mate without other people from other regions seeing the lists and making inputs or choices, we wouldn’t have been bothered because nobody chooses a VP for anybody; it is like a wife.

So, but if other people were there, at least one person from southeast should have been there. Two, in particular, Ebonyi state shouldn’t have been neglected even if we will not make the list because the choice is for the man.

“You remember that one of the reasons that Ebonyi man is not too comfortable with the issue of region is that we are afraid of further marginalization. So, these are the issues.

“Obi is my friend. You would have seen our pictures on the social media. Yes, he is my good friend and we have worked together very very well and he said something to me and he said, look ‘if I were you, I will be more bitter, I will make greater noise than you are making’.

“Obi understands. And let me give you one shocking news. I was told in the course of our meeting in Enugu that somebody asked Chekwas Okorie why is it that Igbo don’t vote for their Vice Presidential candidates and Chekwas told him that anyday the Igbo man chooses his Vice Presidential candidate, the Igbo man will vote for the Vice presidential candidate and if you check be it Ekwueme or any other, you will  find out that we have never voted along that line.

“But, I think this one is a movement and I thought if the Igbo man is so much interested and wants that corrected; but jobless people in social media are just talking nonsense. These are people that are looking for the cross without the crown.

“I am very sure that in further decision, the Igbo man must be called and that is what we are just saying. Nobody is against Obi and Obi is very competent to be VP but I cannot endorse Obi alone.

“Like when my Chief Press Secretary made a mistake and sent congratulatory message and southeast leaders started calling me and said, you alone has made the VP.

“So, I had to issue a counter statement and said look, it was an honest mistake by my Chief Press, I was not consulted. If that is my sin, I cannot repent”, Umahi said.




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