Home Politics Why I accepted to be Peter Obi’s running mate – Baba-Ahmed

Why I accepted to be Peter Obi’s running mate – Baba-Ahmed

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Shortly after his announcement on Friday as the running mate to Mr Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed has said that he accepted the position because of his belief in Obi’s capacity to make Nigeria live up to its billing.

He said he was convinced that Obi would not mismanage the nation’s wealth, adding that his principal’s outing as Anambra State Governor lent credence to that.

Fifty-three-year-old Baba-Ahmed is the founder of Baze University, Abuja and was declared winner of Kaduna North Senatorial district election in 2011. But following a court ruling that his party, the now defunct Congress for Progressive Change was involved in electoral malpractices, his victory was voided upon the votes being recounted. Former Kaduna State Governor Ahmed Makarfi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared winner.

Baba-Ahmed had earlier served as House of Representatives member for Zaria Federal Constituency between 2003 and 2007.

He was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the National Youth Service Corps in 2015. He also serves on the board of Hope Alive Foundation, which campaigns for post-service economic survival of corps members who suffered permanent disability during service.

LP has now been able to beat next Friday’s deadline fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for replacement/withdrawal of candidates for presidential and National Assembly elections. The party submitted the name of the Director-General of the Peter Obi Campaign Organisation, Dr Doyin Okupe as vice presidential candidate to beat the initial deadline set by the commission. On Thurday, Okupe announced his withdrawal as the vice-presidential candidate of the party.

The LP entered into merger talks with the Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s New Nigeria Peoples Party. However, the discussion collapsed due to the inability of the parties to agree on who would be the flag bearer if the merger arrangements had scaled through.

Obi’s candidacy has received massive acceptance across the country especially among the youths, metamorphosing into a campaign known as #Obidient Movement with the slogan: #TakeBackNaija.

Speaking at the Baba-Ahmed unveiling event on Friday, Obi, who apologised for the postponement of the activity from Thursday to Friday, said it signalled the resolve of the party in the journey to “take back Nigeria”.

“Being here today after weeks and months that we have gone round, consulted and searched around and looked for somebody who fits the bill of what we are trying to do. Today, I am proud to say I have been able to meet and secure somebody who is eminently qualified and fits the bill to be the Vice President of Nigeria.

“I know people will say you are not there yet; but I can tell you, I know where we are going to”, Obi said.

Continuing, he said, “This is our right to secure, unite and make Nigeria productive. And you can do that without having people who have similar visions, ideas and are prepared for the task. So, I have the honour today to present to you, God willing, Nigeria’s next Vice President in the person of Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed”.

On Wednesday, Obi said he preferred a younger person as his running mate. He told Arise TV Morning Show that such a person must have something to offer to complement his ticket rather than recycling old hands who had been in the government before now.

He said: “We’re talking to a quiet number of people and Baba-Ahmed is a capable hand and I wish he is the one. I want a competent person and I am building a formidable team.

“I want people who can look me in the eye and disagree with me during cabinet meetings; people who have their own minds and ideas. If you agree with me in three meetings, then you are gone because that means you don’t have your own ideas. I want people and cabinet members who can say ‘Mr. President, you are wrong’.

Obi joined LP on 27 May 2022, a few days after dumping the main opposition party, the PDP, saying the party is the right platform that aligns with his aspiration. According to him, he had chosen a route that he considered to be in line with “our aspirations and my mantra of taking the country from consumption to production”.

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