On Thursday, Atiku Abubakar, a candidate for the presidency of the Peoples Democratic Party, provided some insight into why Peter Obi, a candidate for the Labour Party, defected to the major opposition party ahead of the party’s 2022 presidential primary election.
Atiku stated during a news conference on the results of the presidential election held last Saturday in Abuja that Obi abandoned the PDP out of fear for the demands of the PDP governors.
Former Anambra State governor Obi switched from the PDP to the LP, claiming that the latter is the platform that best supports his goals.
According to him, he had chosen a route that he considered to be in line with “our aspirations and my mantra of taking the country from consumption to production.”
But speaking in Abuja on Thursday, Atiku said Obi dumped the party because he was in a “rush”.
He said, “I think Peter was in a rush. When the campaign started, and our PDP governors sat down and said they must produce the presidential and vice presidential candidates, the chief of staff among themselves, Peter (Obi) got scared and left.
“I did not get scared. I stood up against the governors. When we founded the PDP, some of them (governors) were perhaps in secondary schools or universities. So, why should I be afraid? So, I stood up and I fought them. They fought me and I fought them and I won the primary election.
“So, if he was there, nothing could have stopped him from becoming a running mate because I had the right to choose whoever I wanted as my running mate.
“So, questions of whether I will work with Peter or whether he wounded (scuttled) PDP chances? Well, he did to some extent because all the votes he polled were PDP votes in South-South and South-East. But whether he will achieve his ambition or not, is left for God to decide.”
The former vice president also admitted that the Labour party candidate slashed PDP votes in both South-East and South-South regions.
“At the time Peter decided to leave the PDP and join Labour Party, we had not, I believed, begun our primary election process, so the question about whether he was going to get the ticket or not did arise.
“Yes, I agree it is a fact that he took our votes from the South-East and South-South but that, of course, would not make him a president. Absolutely, it will not.
“You all know that to be a president in this country, you need a vote from everywhere. But he is welcome to dialogue with the PDP and we are ready to dialogue with him. I don’t think we will have any problem if he wants to dialogue with PDP whether he forms an alliance or not.”