ABUJA- Following reports earlier in the week that governors of the South-East elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were reluctant in throwing their full support behind the party’s Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; findings have revealed the reasons for this development .
It all started last Saturday in Yola, the Adamawa state capital when a gathering of eminent personalities including some state governors visited the big city to felicitate with the PDP candidate on the occasion of the America University of Nigeria, AUN, Founder’s Day. Copiously absent from that gathering were the three governors of Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi states.
Although, a party official would later dismissed the governors’ absence as a “non-issue,” the failure of the governors to grace Atiku’s turbaning as Waziri Adamawa the next day expectedly sent worry signals to the public, particularly the media.
However, a highly-placed party official told our correspondent yesterday that the South-East zone wants assurance from Atiku that he would be committed to a single term in office if elected.
According to him, PDP governors of the zone are aware that with consistent push, both the ruling party and the PDP would concede the 2023 Presidency to the South-East and are thus, prepared to “hold on for a while before pledging their support to Atiku.”
He said: “You are aware that since the attainment of independence in 1960, the Igbo people have not tasted the highest office save for the brief spell the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe held sway. Even at that, he was a ceremonial head as the then Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa was in charge of the running of government.
“The All Progressives Congress, APC, are dangling the 2023 Presidency as a carrot to secure the support of the South-East. So, what these governors and by extension, PDP leaders of the zone are doing is to secure a commitment from the party and its Presidential candidate that in 2023, it would be the turn of the South-East.”
Ask if the Vice Presidential slot already conceded to the zone was not sufficient to get the backing of the zone for the PDP in 2019, the source stressed the importance of the highest office, which in his words, “has no comparison in the political scheme of things. ”
He continued, “This is not about the governors but about the people. They are aware that APC is prepared to hasten our quest for the Presidency. But, if the PDP can make same commitment, we will work together to ensure victory for our party and our candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. The office of the Vice President as important as it is cannot be compared with the number one office. Was it not you people (the media) who once described that office as a spare tyre in the past? ”
Although Atiku had earlier pledged to serve a single term if elected President, not much has been heard of the promise especially after his historic victory at the Port-Harcourt convention.
Vanguard gathered that the South-East governors may insist on a written agreement committing Atiku to a single tenure given the manner verbal bonds were reneged upon in the past by two ex-Presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan.