Why Atiku picked Obi as running mate

…Gbenga Daniel confirms ex-gov’s appointment


Former Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has been chosen as running mate to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Obi, an industrialist and consumate politician, became a popular choice ahead of others considered for the position from the South East. Among notable politicians from the zone who were said to have been considered included former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, former Secretary of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ben Obi as well as Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.

A source in the know revealed that Anambra State where Peter Obi comes from was not in the calculation. This was because the state was accused of having a lion share of political positions meant for the South-East. According to the source, the Ekweremadu’s case before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was suddenly resurrected to block his chances of being considered.

The focus was therefore on Abia and Ebonyi State. The source revealed that Obi’s choice influenced by some factors. Number one is that he is believed to be free from corruption charges. “Since he left office in 2013, no corruption charge was filed against him in any court in the country. Therefore, he has passed the integrity test,” he said. He added that Obi’s strong economic background further influenced his choice.

“You will remember that before he became governor, he was chairman of many companies, including some banks. And you know that (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo said we need a presiden who is strong in economy. “Atiku is an entrepreneur, Obi is also an entrepreneur, so they are perfect match who can combine to grow the economy,” he added.

But what might have formed the decision, according to the source, was to assuage any bad feeling arising from the National Convention. He revealed that Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, would have made Obi his running mate if he had won the PDP presidential ticket. Obi’s choice was, therefore, believed to pacify Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, who was Tambuwal’s strong supporter at the PDP National Convention.

Meanwhile, Obi’s appointment as running mate was confirmed by Director General of Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. Daniel in a statement said Obi’s “choice was largely influenced by his youthfulness, vast knowledge of global and local economics as well as being a financial expert, all experience which Nigeria is in great need at this point in time.

“This ticket will be able to steer our nation back on the path of progress, economic prosperity and unity.” Obi, who was born July 29, 1961, has an intimidating credentials as he attended the Christ the King College, Onitsha and later proceeded to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He was also a graduate of several international and national institutions such as the Lagos Business School, Harvard Business School, London School of Economics, Columbia Business School, Institute of Management, Switzerland, Kellogg Graduate School, Oxford University and Cambridge University.

In public service, the former Anambra State has served in various capacities, including member, Presidential Economic Management Team; Vice- Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum; Chairman, South-East Governors’ Forum, and the Governor of Anambra State. Daniel said: “Peter Obi is an astute professional who has laid his footprints across the corporate world. “He was the Chairman, Board of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC); former Chairman, Fidelity Bank Plc; former Chairman, Guardian Express Mortgage Bank; former Chairman, Future Views Securities; former Chairman, Paymaster Nigeria; former Chairman, Next International Nigeria; former Director, Guardian Express Bank Plc; former Director, Chams Nigeria Plc; former Director, Emerging Capital: former Director, Card Centre Plc.

“He is a member of the British Institute of Directors (IOD), Nigerian Chartered Institute of Bankers and Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).”

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