PDP 2019 Vice Presidential pick: The Challenge before Atiku Abubakar By: Eugene Upah

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In the last two days, the Nigerian cyberspace have been awash with the choice of a running mate to His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential flagbearer of the People’s Democratic Party in the build up to the 2019 general elections. Many weren’t surprised he emerged as statistics before & during the rush hour of the elections tilted to his favor.

Political scientists, Analysts, commentators, journalists have argued for and against the choice of a running mate from the West or Eastern parts of the country as a block buster for the PDP’s victory in 2019.

This is what methinks;

The best section for PDP’s VP ticket to fly higher & sail wider is the South West. The choice of a running mate from the West will eventually split President Buhari’s vote by atleast 40%. The West will understand that whichever way the results of the presidential election goes they still have the VP position intact; wether the PDP or APC wins – hence they will vote with rest of mind. This may even help reduce the turnout of voters during the presidential elections in the West. The advantage of a low (presidential) voter turnout (in the West) is that the East, northeast & North central votes will drastically increase in favor of a PDP candidate causing a stir in the northwest that is PMB’s stronghold. If the PDP pairs Akinwunmi Adeshina a corporate technocrat, Gbenga Daniel a decent Politician, or Senator Abiodun Olubunmi, a woman, the combo will go farther.

Those saying the VP should come from the East should better think twice. Of a truth the East is long overdue to produce President but the process to enforce a president from the zone must be delibrate, very careful, well thought out, properly strategic & gradual else they may have to continue playing second (or third?) fiddle to other parts of the country. The choice of Peter Obi, Ngozi Iweala or Ike Ekweremadu as Vice President would be good, but can the 5 Eastern states match the votes of Lagos together with other states of the West? People talk as if the whole votes of the East is just lying fallow for Atiku to clear not realising they is Rochas, Ngige, Ogbonaya Onu, Orji Uzor Kalu and other APC bigwigs. PMB also has supporters/sympathizers in the East, many of whom have been made to believe he would eventually handover power to the zone in 2023.

Atiku should pick a sound, credible, diligent technocrat from the West. He should offer the East (during campaigns) the position of SGF in Peter Obi, Okonjo Iweala, Ike Ekweremadu or Frank Nweke even if it means adding that to his campaign posters. He should convince the Igbos he would be doing a single term and hand over to them in 2023.

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