Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, the Governor of Abia, has denied the allegations made against South Eastern leaders. He said on Wednesday that South-East PDP governors never opposed the selection of former Gov. Peter Obi as the running mate of the Party’s Presidential candidate in the person of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Ikpeazu made this statement in Aba, Abia State after accompanying Obi to the site of last Friday’s pipeline fire that killed scores of residents of Umuimo and Umuadoro communities in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Council.
He insisted that reports making rounds, indicating the dissatisfaction or rejection of Peter Obi by Governors or Igbo leaders were lies and should not be taken seriously.
“How could that be? But be that as it may, I want to cease this opportunity to officially and publicly congratulate our leader and our brother, Mr. Peter Obi.
“He is a worthy son of Igboland and a worthy Nigerian; one of the best in this clime, for the opportunity to serve Nigeria.
“Mr. Peter Obi is a gift from Ndi-Igbo to this country and his work and pedigree bear eloquent testimony of the Igbo DNA.
“It will be fool-hardy for anybody not to queue and support and make sure that he continues to serve this country to the best of his ability.
He explained that what the South-East governors said was that they had anticipated a meeting with Obi on his return from a trip he had embarked on.
“He (Obi) had promised that he was returning and coming to speak with us and we said yes, we were willing to speak with him.
“At no time did the governors or the leadership of Ndi-Igbo at any level express dissatisfaction or say that we are unhappy”.
“If anything, we think that his choice was apt and you can see the widespread reception across Nigeria and if we are banking on the 11 million Igbos in Diaspora to vote, it is only Mr. Peter Obi that can get there,” he said.
Earlier, Obi said that the South-East governors and leaders in the PDP had never acted against the interest of one another but had always acted as a team.
He said he had spoken to leaders in the Senate including Ike Ekweremmadu, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Theodore Orji, Sam Egwu and others.
“For us, what is important is to rebuild the South-East, to rebuild Nigeria. What we need is to talk about how to create jobs, how to make Nigeria better for the citizens.
“Let me thank Gov. Ikpeazu for what he is doing. Governance is about the people feeling you. It is about moving around, seeing it for yourself.
“When we came this morning, he could have said “well, listen I am busy” and stayed back in his office but he came around with us. He has been to those places.
“He has listened to the people and I assure you that whatever he said today he will do will be practicalised. It is not a question of wishing. So we are all working as a team.
“You know in politics, we need to ask for more. That consultation will be asking for more”, he said.
Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, in his remarks, re-enforced their complete support of the People’s Democratic Party vice-presidential candidate, insisting that the South-East caucus in the National Assembly had always been in support of Peter Obi’s emergence as the PDP vice-presidential candidate.
He said that at this time Nigeria needs men and women with integrity, whose words are reliable and who completely understand the challenges of the country.
“Today, what we have is a man who we can queue behind, a man who can make sure that Nigerians are rescued from where they are today, in despondency”, he said.
He noted that this was the reason he could say that all the leaders of Igboland were in support of Obi’s candidature. This also is in sync with Osita Chidoka’s statement explaining how southeastern leaders did not reject Peter Obi.