A media aide to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Emmanuel Jonathan, has declared support for the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, ahead of the 2023 general election.
Mr Jonathan, a special assistant to the governor on new media, disclosed this in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday
Mr Ugwuanyi is among the five aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) known as the G-5
The G-5 is led by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
Apart from Messrs Wike and Ugwuanyi, other members of the G-5 are Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and their Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde.
The G-5 came about after the PDP presidential primary where Atiku Abubakar defeated Mr Wike and others to become the party’s presidential candidate.
The group has been demanding the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to pave the way for a southerner to lead the party to achieve a “regional balance”.
The governors’ argument is that both Mr Ayu and Atiku hail from northern Nigeria.
Although the five governors have not announced the presidential candidate they would support in the 2023 general elections, there are speculations that the G-5 governors may be backing Mr Obi.
However, there have been speculations lately that the governors may have decided to support Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress.
Mr Jonathan has become the first political appointee in Governor Ugwuanyi’s government to openly endorse the LP candidate.
He is expected to lead one of Mr Obi’s campaign groups, Obi/Datti Apostles Presidential Campaign Support Group.
‘Why I ditched Atiku for Obi’
Mr Jonathan explained in the statement that he could no longer keep quiet in the face of bad leadership, maintaining that he had chosen to add his voice in support of the Peter Obi/Datti Yusuf Baba-Ahmed presidential ambition.
“Nigeria as a country has suffered inept leadership for years leading to the exposure of many innocent Nigerians to a hellish condition while still alive.
“The only panacea to redress this situation is to first of all appreciate the words: Truth, capacity, justice, equity and fairness while making choice on those who will pilot the affairs of Nigeria in the next four years, which the Peter Obi/Datti Baba-Ahmed presidential aspiration epitomises,” he said.
He pointed out that he remains a member of the PDP, despite declaring support for the LP candidate.
Grouse with PDP, APC
The PDP chieftain faulted the party for violating the zoning arrangement which favoured the emergence of a Nigerian president of South-east extraction in 2023.
He said it was “worrisome” that the PDP was among the major political parties that ignored the zoning arrangement, which he termed, “the antidote for a peaceful cohesion” by electing Atiku, a northerner, as its candidate.
“This is because they failed to appreciate the word, truth, capacity, equity and justice, and the conventional gentleman’s understanding on the ground, which is that power should ordinarily rotate to Southern Nigeria and with a special focus on the section that is yet to occupy the seat of the president,” he said.
Mr Jonathan criticised the APC for failing to elect its candidate from the South-east, and for having a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Mr Tinubu, a southern Muslim, picked Kashim Shettima, a former Governor of Borno State, a northern Muslim, as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.
The ticket had elicited widespread criticisms across the country, with various groups including some APC chieftains also criticising the ticket.
“It is therefore interesting to note that the Peter Obi/Datti Baba-Ahmed Presidential Aspiration of the Labour Party, did not only factor the consideration of the antidote for a peaceful cohesion that creates the much-needed enabling environment for a fruitful and progressive leadership that will put smiles on the face of Nigerians, it appreciates the word truth, capacity, justice, equity and fairness because Obi comes from the South-east zone that has not produced the occupant of the presidential seat of Nigeria,” Mr Jonathan stated.
He claimed that the LP candidate and his running mate, Ahmed Yusuf, have a “wonderful track record of experience devoid of corruption in the past leadership positions” they both held, saying the record is a “major plus” for them.
He said their ticket presents “the youthfulness and smartness” that are in tune in different countries of the world, arguing that Mr Tinubu and Atiku would only do better in making useful contributions in the Elders’ Council of Nigeria rather than “exposing themselves to the stressful task of the exalted office of a president at their age.”
“Both Tinubu and Atiku’s 2023 presidential ambition would rather create more divisiveness than the love which Nigeria needs at this moment of our nationhood.”
He contended that Mr Tinubu’s presidential ambition does not “stand on justice” given that it is the turn of the South-east to produce the president of the country based on equity.
“Atiku’s ambition is against the understanding between Southern and Northern Nigeria that power should rotate between the two sections of the country irrespective of political affiliation,” he stated.
“Based on these reasons and many more that I cannot state here for the sake of the respect I have for both Tinubu and Atiku who are old enough to be my parents, I choose to support and speak out in favour of the Obi/Datti Labour Party Presidential team in the 2023 presidential election for the future of our dear country,” Mr Jonathan added.
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