Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, on Thursday, said the presidential struggle of his Labour Party, counterpart, Peter Obi is premature.
Atiku, who stated this while addressing a press conference in Abuja, reaffirmed that he remained the stepping stone to the aspiration of the Igbo to produce Nigeria’s President.
He said, “When I ran in 2019, I picked an Igbo man as a running mate simply because I felt that after any other zone again, the next zone must be South-East. In 2011, I also picked another Igbo man. And in 2023, I also picked another Igbo man. And I have always said that I will be a stepping stone to an Igbo Presidency.
“Because there is no zone alone in this country that can produce a President on his own. I have always told my Igbo compatriots that you negotiate for power, you don’t fight for it.
"So, for anybody to think that I have anything against Labour Party, I think Peter (Obi) was in a rush. Do you know why I say he was in a rush? When the campaign and our PDP governors sat down and said they must produce the next President, vice president, and Chief of Staff amongst them, Peter got scared and left. I did not get scared. I stood up against the governors and I fought them and won the primaries,so if he was there, nothing could have stopped him from becoming a running mate.”
Speaking further, Atiku said Obi “wounded” his outing in the election by taking away the votes he would have gained from the South-East and South-South. He also added that his party was ready to have an alliance with the LP if Obi is willing.
"The question of whether I will work with Peter or not, or whether Peter wounded the PDP; yes, to some extent, he did because all the votes he carried were PDP votes in the South-South and the South-East. Agreed, he took our votes from the South-East and South-South, that, of course, will not make him President. You all know that to be President of this country, you need votes from everywhere. So, as far as I am concerned, Peter is welcome to have a dialogue with the PDP".
“We are ready to have a dialogue with him. I don’t think we will have any problem if he wants to have a dialogue with PDP either to form an alliance or not.”