The rising profile of the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi is currently creating anxiety within the ranks of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over his choice of a running mate.
Also, it has deepened the conspiracy in the North and South West against the choice of Peter Obi’s running mate as some political leaders in both zones were alleged to be threatening their kinsmen not to accept the offer of running mate in order to frustrate Peter Obi’s ambition to be president.
The threat, according to a reliable source, is in retaliation to the refusal of the South East politicians to become the running mate of the PDP Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar. It would be recalled that about eight persons were approached in the South East to be running mate of Atiku Abubakar but all turned the offer down.
In the APC there is strong lobbying at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to disqualify Mr Peter Obi on the grounds that he has no running mate.
A source in the party stated that the plot has been perfected but for the refusal of some top leaders of the party from the South East who took on their fellow party members over the plot. Source said: “Let me tell you this is not about political parties but about the ethnic sentiments that are driving the country’s democracy.
“Some leaders of the party in our party the APC are not comfortable with the Peter Obi ticket in the Labour Party and there are fears that the party’s candidate may not get constitutional twenty five percent spread in the South East so they are working hard to get INEC to disqualify him so that the coast would be clear for them.
“They are using one of the APC governors in the South East to execute that plot but most Igbo people in the APC are against that plot and this was after the lamentations of the former Minister for Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu at the party convention center that the South West betrayed the South East after he Onu stepped down for Obasanjo and Olu Falae of the then APP for the South West to produce the next President of Nigeria.
“Even top leaders of the party in the South East are highly opposed to that plot and they have threatened to dump the party should the plot continue.” However, the name of the Director – General, Peter Obi Campaign Organization, Chief Doyin Okupe has been submitted to INEC as the running mate for Peter Obi pending his substitution for a Northern running mate,” the source said..
So far Mr Peter Obi has pencilled down three names from the North as likely running mates and according to one of his media aides, Obi has chosen to keep their names secret in order not to pre – empt the alleged conspirators getting at them. But former governor, old Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife told Sunday Telegraph that the plot was dead on arrival.
He said: “We know that these plots are there but we know our brother Peter Obi and we know his pedigree that he already has a running mate from the North and at the appointed time the name would be made known to everyone.
“They have frustrated us during the APC and PDP primaries and now they have come again but this would not work. Peter Obi is now a movement and Nigerians have taken over the movement and it is unstoppable because it is too late,” he added.
When contacted, Peter Obi said that he already has three persons as his likely running mate adding that he is not aware of any plot to stop his ambition. He expressed confidence that he would surely win the Presidential election come 2023 noting that these are the attendant challenges of changing the old order in the country.
Meanwhile there have been meetings without end among the South East APC Youth Forum where it has been tentatively resolved that there would be mass defection of members of the party to the Labour Party should the plot continue. Similarly in the People’s Democratic Party PDP South East such meetings are currently going on as at the time of this report with the agenda of dumping the party in protest.