Making a decision on a presidential running mate is not an easy task. It takes time to carefully consider prospective candidates.
Mr. Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar
The enthusiastic reaction to Mr. Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra state as running mate to Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in 2019 presidential election, is a confirmation of Obi’ unquestioned competence, his reputation for integrity and experience in domestic and global economics. But these are not the only factors that made him a unique Vice-Presidential pick.
Making a decision on a presidential running mate is not an easy task. It takes time to carefully consider prospective candidates. To winnow down the prospective candidates and settle for one person requires the following criteria: The candidate must be fully qualified to be President, just in case. The nominee must share the political philosophy of the presidential candidate. Besides, the person must be someone with whom the presidential candidate is comfortable with. And in the interest of party harmony, the person must be acceptable to majority of party members. Obi is acclaimed to fit into all the criteria listed and miles ahead of other prospective candidates.
In addition, his accomplishments as Governor of Anambra state for eight years were also considered as excellent. A statement by the Director-General of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Gbenga Daniel said that much about Obi’s astute professional credentials which are what Nigeria needs at this point of her peculiar political and socioeconomic history. Beyond all of this, Obi is both smart, savvy and a highly principled, a man of conviction who always stands for something, a man with strength of character, who is not afraid to speak his mind in any issue he strongly believes in.
In Nigeria’s politics today, it’s hard to see public officials and politicians who have chosen the path of honour no matter the greasy pole that is Nigerian politics. That’s why, very often, it’s difficult for a typical Nigerian politician to answer these baseline questions: Why am I in public office? Am I going there for public good or to feather my own nest? Again, that is why many of our politicians lack that clear qualification for higher office. Many of them don’t possess what it takes to perform beyond average. The truth is that the Presidency and the Vice Presidency are not prizes to be won. These unique offices, to paraphrase former United States President Gerald Ford, ‘is a duty to be done.’ In other words, it’s the challenge of the job, not the power and glamour of the office that should matter most.
How then does Obi complement the strength of Atiku, and not a spare tyre of sort? This is what Obi will bring into the office. Anyone who has closely and keenly followed Obi’s political career will tell you that one reason he has been so successful as businessman and politician is because he is one of the first to truly treat politics as a science. But this is where Atiku/Obi ticket will be a winning team. Reason: Atiku, in both politics and business has been more successful in a more traditional way. He (Atiku) has proved to be a master of the art of politics. In that regard, the difference between like a chalk and cheese. While Obi is cool and rational thinker, Atiku is a talker, a tackler and a smooth operator. Simply spoken, Obi’s political style seems to be in his head, Atiku’s is in his blood.
Make no mistakes about it: The stakes in the coming campaigns and the election proper, are higher than that of four years ago If issues will drive the campaigns as the All Progressives Congress (APC) has promised, Atiku is not diminished by Buhari’s appeal, especially in the North. Indeed, Atiku has the machinery to match whatever the incumbent president and the APC throw up. He is the master of the game. And in Obi, there is no minuses.In the campaigns, the questions that will be raised before the voters include: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Are you, your family and relatives more secured now than you were four years ago? Is Nigeria more united now than four years ago? Is your disposable income better now than it was four years ago? Is your future better now or looking bleak? It will be interesting how voters answer these questions. If Nigerians desire a credible, responsible campaign and a future of peace, the pluses are on the side of PDP. This is one presidential election, I think that the Vice Presidential candidate will play a significant role.
Obi is comparatively young, 57 years, a devout Catholic, known across the country and beyond. Like Atiku, Obi has a attractive wife, Margaret who is not an Igbo, just as two of Atiku’s wives hail from the Southeast and South west, respectively. But this aside, Obi has never been tainted by any impropriety. He had been tried and tested. No blemishes found. On that scale, Obi will be a great asset to the Atiku ticket across the country. He will broaden the PDP base and appeal.
It is left for the PDP strategists to come up with a campaign theme that will capture the worries, the aspirations and vision of today and the future. Such a theme should be an umbrella under which a realistic objectives for the next four years will be captured. Nigerians need confidence in their own future and belief that governance matters if entrusted in the hands of those who know why they are seeking public office.
And politics provides that rare opportunity of a lifetime to do good for your country and the people who put you in that office. Sady, our politicians have squandered public trust. They pursue simple, personal things with zeal, but approach critical matters of governance either half heartedly, or completely unattended to. That’s not what life in the presidency ought to be. It ought to make positive change happen, inspire the citizens to shade their doubts by fixing the problems that confront them and provide a unity of purpose.
What makes Obi a unique VP candidate is that he will draw from his shining legacy in Anambra and vast experiences in different sectors of the economy, believing that Atiku if he wins the presidency will listen to him and solutions he (Obi) will proffer. Atiku, I believe, will fancy Obi’s expertise on economic management, as he (Atiku) was entrusted with similar function as Vice President under Olusegun Obasanjo presidency. That prospect is looking increasingly possible now. Good governance and good leadership drive the citizens to offer their utmost best for their country.
Given the great pessimism in Anambra before Obi assumed office as Governor and the rough patches he went through after his illegal impeachment, and his triumph and the legacy he left, that has put Anambra as the state with the lowest poverty level and highest number of billionaires in the country, is an inspiration that politics matters if we elect transparent leaders into office. It’s left for Atiku to tap from the vast and unique qualities of his running mate.
Together, they can wage a winning campaign in every state, every geopolitical zone of the country.
Source: Sun News