Former vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and former governor of Anambra State Peter Obi, has said the party will not zone the 2023 presidency base on where its national chairman will emerge.
He started this during his appearance on Arise TV yesterday while speaking on the speculations that the party’s chairmanship would go to the South during its October national convention, and the presidential ticket would go to the north.
According to him, 2023 is different, and the party must get it right or else it would be not good for the country.
He said: “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 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 location to the other. I can tell you that 2023 would be different because everybody is struggling to ensure we do not get it wrong.
I cannot determine where the zoning would go, but we would wait and see and 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 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.”
Recall that Obi, who was governor on the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) platform for eight years and later defected to the PDP at the end of his tenure. He, however, debunked reports that he vowed not to join the PDP and accused it of being a curse to the South-East while he was the sitting governor.
He said: “I want someone to show me a tape where I said that I would 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 the 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 government that was closer to the 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.”
Obi further lamented the spate in defection, saying 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 impacts, not pictures with those of us, I’m generalising politicians, who is 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.”