From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Spokesman of the People’s Democratic Party PDP (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council, Charles Aniagwu has the party is not bothered by the latest endorsement of the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, by elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.
Clark, leader of the South-South, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum (SMBLF), had earlier on Tuesday endorsed Mr. Obi, saying that giving the opportunity for a south easterner to lead the country will give true meaning to the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon’s mantra after the civil war of ‘no victor no vanquished.’
His endorsement is coming few days after former president Olusegun Obasanjo also endorsed the former governor of Anambra State for the nation’s top job.
Similarly, one of the G5 governors and governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has publicly thrown his full weight behind Obi, saying that he would have personally led Obi’s campaign if he (Ortom) was not a member of the PDP.
In a swift reaction, however, Aniagwu said what mattered more to the PDP was the overwhelming support by the generality of Nigerian voters who have the ultimate power to decide the next president.
Aniagwu said the fact that Clark hails from the same Delta State as the PDP vice presidential candidate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa does not stop him (Clark) from having personal opinion.
“In this election, you are going to have as much as over 90 million Nigerians qualified to vote. At the end of the day, even if we don’t have 50% turn out, it means that as much as 47.5 million Nigerians will be voting.
“For us in the PDP, as much as we desire some of these endorsements, we look forward to Nigerians who ultimately have the power to give us their endorsements, and that is what is going to happen on the day of voting.
“If you watch our rallies, you will see that silently we are receiving a whole lot of endearments from Nigerians.
“Secondly, there are a lot of other notable elder statesmen in this country that will not engage in public endorsement of candidates. The question, is don’t they have their choices?
“So if one or two goes ahead to express their choice openly, that does not in any way vitiate the potency of those other persons who are going to remain silent on their own endorsement or who we discussed with and we know that they are with us.
“So it is anybody’s democratic right to pitch their tent with whoever they like. We are not disturbed, we are reaching out to Nigerians because we do know that their endorsement carries more weight than any other endorsement,” he said.
On Ortom’s backing of Obasanjo following the later’s endorsement of Obi, Aniagwu said it is not a source of worry for the party, pointing out that the Benue State Governor has never be on the train of the PDP
“If he says he prefers one candidate, it is within his democratic right. We have millions of Nigerians in support of Atiku-Okowa ticket, those ones are also very important.
“You know one beautiful thing about voting in an election is, if you are going to buy a product, maybe clothes, you can say quality clothes, quality shoes. But in voting, we don’t have quality voting.
“We do desire that some of these high profile persons possibly come to our side but we are comfortable that there are a lot of high profile Nigerians who don’t want a public show of their support.
“We are quite comfortable with where we are, and we respect their democratic right,” he added.