A group, Independent Leaders’ Forum (ILF) has cautioned former governor Peter Obi against any attempt to single-handedly impose a running mate on the Governorship Candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Valentine Ozigbo.
The group said it had uncovered plots by the former governor to impose a Running Mate/Deputy Governorship Candidate in the person of Prof. Stella Okunna or Hon. Ndubuisi Menakaya, without recourse to other critical stakeholders in the party.
The President of the group, Obinna Okafor, in a statement, threatened to mobilise other youths to work against the party if Obi’s or any individual’s nominee of Running Mate was imposed on the candidate without the collective input of other critical stakeholders.
The group explained that the rejection of the duo was based on the fact that they were not grassroot politicians, warning that such imposition could lead to a repeat of 2017 experience where the party lost 21/21 Local Governments to the ruling All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
The statement read, “As lobbying for the post of a Deputy Governorship Candidate/ Running Mate to Mr. Valentine Ozigbo continues, *we, the members of Independent Leaders’ Forum (ILF) have observed the antics of His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi to single-handedly impose a Running Mate/Deputy Governorship Candidate in the person of Prof. Stella Okunna or Hon. Ndubuisi Menakaya, without recourse to other critical stakeholders in the party.
“Aware that the choice of a Running Mate is the business of the Party and generality of the major Stakeholders,
“We completely reject the choice of Prof. Stella Okunna, who is in her 60s and not a grassroot politician, and also the choice of Hon. Ndubuisi Menakaya, though in his late 50s, but is not a grassroot politician.
“Regardless of the fact that Mr. Ozigbo was not Peter Obi’s preferred choice in the just concluded primary, we were surprised to observe that Peter Obi, in the company of his close associates, immediately took Mr. Ozigbo to Abuja in the guise of “Reconciliation”.
“Naturally, this has affected Mr. Ozigbo such that making some critical decisions are difficult and almost impossible without the input of Mr. Peter Obi and his associates.
“With all sense of humility and modesty, may we remind His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi that we do not want a repeat of what happened in 2017 where Mr. Peter Obi was in the forefront of the campaign, sidelined the campaign organisation of HE Oseloka Obaze, and major stakeholders in decision making, the resultant effect was PDP losing 21/21 LGAs to APGA.
“No single individual can deliver a Governorship Candidate successfully, without the input of other major stakeholders. Therefore, Mr. Peter Obi’s dictate of Mr. Valentine Ozigbo’s Running Mate and Campaign would naturally bring a repeat of what happened in 2017. This we must oppose with everything we have.
“It should be noted that since 2003 till date, this is the first time a PDP Candidate emerged by a collective effort of major Stakeholders, and not by anointing/selection by a godfather. It is important that we protect this Candidate with all jealousy against those action/s capable of making us loose this election.
“Finally, We will not hesitate to mobilise other youths to work against the party if Mr. Peter Obi’s or any individual’s nominee of Running Mate is imposed on the Candidate without the collective input of other critical stakeholders.”