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Atiku and Obi: Government as business

How Atiku atikulated the VP position to Peter Obi

18 November 2019

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar’s choice of Peter Obi as his running mate during the (s)election in February was quite controversial, especially as one or two PDP governors from the southeast were reportedly against that choice. There was a lot of speculation around their motives for not wanting Obi.

Obi was a two-term governor of Anambra State under the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) before switching to the PDP. A source close to the former governor told that Atiku “sold the vice presidential ticket to the highest bidder”.

The source continued: “Government to Obi is just a business, a criminal enterprise”. Atiku and the PDP decided to zone the vice presidency to the southeast – Obi’s region, but on the condition that the person chosen must cough up 15bn naira ($41.2m), ostensibly for the campaign.

Obi paid up and became the running mate. The source said Obi, a former businessman, starting from his days as governor, was always in cahoots with three other businessmen from Anambra State. Those businessman provided the funds for Obi’s two governorship campaigns, alongside funds from Obi, with the clear intention of recouping their investment from looting public funds. “Politics was just another business for them”, according to the source.

They had no problems raising the 15bn naira that Atiku demanded from Obi. However, with Atiku losing in the (s)election to Buhari, it seems like their gamble has failed and Nigeria may have been spared a looting spree to recoup the investment. But, in all likelihood, the winning President Muhammadu Buhari campaign would have been engaged in similar practices with wealthy Nigerians with their eyes on the public purse.

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