South-East governors plan evasive tactics for Atiku, Peter Obi ticket
Governors elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in South-East geo-political zone have resolved to adopt cautious support for the party’s presidential standard bearer, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
A source close to one of the three PDP governors confided in The Guardian that even before the meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari as part of the members of the National Economic Council (NEC), the governors agreed to take a middle course in the forthcoming presidential election.
The source said: “Part of the resolution of the governors is that they should not make financial commitment to presidential campaign of Atiku/Obi. They also agreed to ensure that there was no joint campaign promotional, especially billboards in their respective states.”
The source stated that the governors’ decision was informed by the need to preserve their political future and avert any adverse response from the ruling party in view of the electoral challenges they face in the hands of candidates from All Progressives Congress (APC) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the zone.
He added that some of those who erected goodwill political campaign billboards featuring Atiku/Obi, the governors and other PDP candidates had been told to remove them while the message had gone round that pictures of the governors and the presidential candidates should not be promoted on the same materials.
However, when contacted about the development, the Director-General of South-East Governors’ Forum, Prof. Uche Ortuanya, denied that the governors were aligning towards a political party to achieve zonal integration, stressing that the “political future of the governors and economic integration of the zone are not mutually exclusive.”
He said: “It is not true. It is a wrong perception of what is going on because South-East people tend to look at the Governors’ Forum from a distance and as such do not understand the inner workings of the forum.
“Rather, the economic imperatives require that they come together more than political imperatives. Politics is only limited to the realms of elections and about individual positions. The forum operates as a regional bloc in the realms of the economy.
“Anybody can be in any party and politics is only limited to parties. We have three PDP governors, one each from APC and APGA. There is no justifiable premise for that imputation.” They can still survive politically and the zone would grow.”