Former President Goodluck Jonathan has pleaded with South-East leaders to accept the decision of Atiku Abubakar to choose Peter Obi as his running mate for the 2019 election.
There have been protests from the South-East leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party over the choice of Obi as Atiku’s running mate. They complained of not being consulted.
PDP governors and leaders of the region met on Saturday, reaching a resolution to meet with Atiku over the matter.
Reacting to the development on Sunday, Jonathan said a presidential candidate had a right to pick a running mate of their choice.
He said Atiku’s decision does not require “regional review and approval.”
A statement signed by Ikechukwu Eze, Jonathan’s media aide, read, “I want to directly appeal to my brothers and sisters from the South-East zone who are members of our party to reconsider their position and allow the presidential candidate of our party to select a candidate he thinks he can work with to be able to achieve the party’s development goals. Since Atiku has nominated Mr Peter Obi as his running mate, I am pleading with my party members from the zone to accept his choice.”
Earlier, the statement had quoted Jonathan as saying,
“The task before us is to build on this firm foundation and momentum by pulling in one direction and working assiduously for the victory of these candidates at the polls.
“It is against this backdrop that I appeal for calm and understanding in the South-East where my attention has been drawn to the fact that some leaders of our party are openly expressing their discomfort with the reported nomination of former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, as Atiku’s running mate. I am told that some of our leaders in the zone have raised issues with the process of consultation that produced the Vice Presidential candidate.
“I affirm that consultation is a key ingredient in every political process. Nonetheless, in the selection of a vice presidential candidate, a presidential candidate is allowed reasonable freedom to select his running mate based on loyalty, trust, experience, temperament and capacity to perform the responsibilities of the office. Anything other than this could create tension and acrimony between the presidential candidate and his running mate, even before the inauguration of the government.”