Facts have emerged on why the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate for the 2023 general election, Mr. Peter Obi, kept former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the dark concerning his defection from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The PDP presidential standard bearer had, during an interaction with Arise Television crew, disclosed that Obi, who was his running mate in the 2019 presidential poll, did not inform him of his intention of leaving PDP till after three days he joined the Labour Party (LP).
The former Vice President also described Obi’s presidential candidacy on the LP platform as a mere social media sensation, stressing that only a miracle would make him win the presidential contest since LP has no visible nationwide structure to achieve electoral victory.
However, an investigation by The Guardian revealed that the LP presidential contender and former Anambra State governor purposely kept his defection plans away from his former principal after sources informed him that Atiku did not want a Southeast candidate as his running mate.
It could be recalled that the former Vice President’s decision to nominate the former Anambra State governor as his running mate in 2018 sparked controversies as major political actors from the Southeast, particularly the Southeast Governors’ Forum, kicked against it.
A close ally of the LP presidential candidate, who was a central player during Obi’s administration in Anambra State confided in The Guardian that during the buildup to the PDP presidential primary, they got intelligence that Atiku had planted a candidate in one of the thriving young parties.
The source added that Atiku saw the potency in the younger parties, going by the experience of the Young Peoples Party (YPP) in 2019, which made a good impression at the poll.
The source said, “You know Kingsley Moghalu did not win in 2019, but he made a serious impact on the youth population. The former Vice President believed that with such a young charismatic politician in the race it would create some problems for him.
“Even before the PDP national convention, Atiku was sure that he would pick the party’s presidential ticket again. That was why he talked about the right of the first refusal and called the bluff of northern elders that wanted to broker consensus.
“It became clear to us that since PDP was not forthcoming on the issue of zoning the Presidency to the South, as well as the bond among incumbent state governors, we needed to explore other options and ensure that we did not give Atiku any impression about our plans.”
He said arrangements for Obi to move over to LP had been concluded long before June 24, when he wrote his resignation letter to the Agulu 2 ward of PDP, which was also transmitted to the party’s national headquarters immediately.
He stated: “With the resignation officially sealed, Obi now travelled to the United Kingdom briefly. After the visit to 10 Downing Street, he came back and declared officially for LP on June 27. It was actually on July 1, that His Excellency informed the former Vice President that he had moved on, that is it. By that time the LP presidential primary had been concluded.”