Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has been told to choose his running mate from the South East.
The Peoples Democratic Party in the South-East made the demand after the party failed to zone its presidency to the region.
Atiku had in May emerged the winner of the PDP presidential primary after defeating other aspirants including a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim and an ex-President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Sam Ohuabunwa.
After the PDP primary, the apex socio-cultural organisation for the Igbo, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, criticised the party for betraying the zone.
A few days to the primary, Atiku’s running mate in 2019, Mr Peter Obi, dumped the party and joined the Labour Party on whose platform he would contest the 2023 presidential election.
There has been growing support for Obi since he joined the LP. Analysts have warned that Obi’s defection to the LP may affect the chances of the PDP in the South-East, where its presidential candidate got 1.6 million votes in 2019 against over 403,000 votes garnered by the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
The Publicity Secretary of the Anambra State PDP, Nnamdi Nwagwu, in an interview with The PUNCH, confirmed that the South-East had demanded the vice-presidential slot like the South-South.
He noted that both the PDP and the APC had sidelined the South-East, adding that it was only in the PDP that the zone could get the VP slot.
He added that only the VP slot could, at least, secure votes for the party in the South-East.
He said, “They (South-East leaders) are making such a demand for the VP slot. Let us see how it goes. They are making the demand because every party has sidelined the South-East and it is only in the PDP that they can get the VP slot because they cannot get it from the APC as the APC already has a southern presidential candidate.
“Only the VP slot can secure votes for the party in the zone, if not, it will be difficult to wrest the votes of the region from Peter Obi. And let us see how it goes if the VP slot will be given or not.”