The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has cast doubts on the likelihood of an alliance with the New Nigeria People's Party after revealing he preferred a younger person as vice-presidential candidate.
The LP-NNPP alliance deal appeared to have broken after NNPP's presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, revealed that his party would collapse if he decides to be running mate to any candidate.
Kwankwaso was quoted days ago by the News Agency of Nigeria as saying, “From the discussion with Labour Party, the main issue was who becomes the president if the parties merge. At the end of the day, some of our representatives thought that there should be a criteria in terms of age, qualification, offices held, performance and so on.
“Of course the other side wouldn’t want that. Most of the people from there believe that presidency has to go there (South East). If now I decide to be vice presidential candidate to anybody in this country; NNPP will collapse, because the party is based on what we have built in the last 30 years.
“I served for 17 years as a civil servant; we are talking of 47 years of very serious hard work that is what is rarely holding NNPP now.”
However, in an interview on Arise TV Morning Show on Wednesday, Obi who is five years younger than 65-year-old Kwankwaso revealed that he would prefer a younger running mate who has something to offer to complement his ticket rather than recycling old hands who had been in the government before now.
Responding to the social media rumours that he had picked a businessman and politician, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, as his vice-presidential candidate, Obi said, “We’re talking to a quite number of people and Baba-Ahmed is a capable hand and I wish he is the one. But I wish I can work with somebody who is more younger.
“I prefer younger people with fresh ideas who have a lot to offer rather than recycling old hands. 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’.”
During the interview, the former Anambra State governor also stated that Nigeria’s affairs were being piloted by ‘vehicle drivers’ instead of professional and certified pilots.
He added that the primitive considerations by Nigerians during the electoral cycle had led Nigeria to the current quagmire, adding that 2023 should be the time Nigerians must elect a capable candidate to pilot the country’s affairs.
“Nigerians have consistently hired vehicle drivers instead of hiring qualified pilots to pilot Nigeria affairs.
“My commitment is to let our campaign dwell on challenges in the country. There are a lot of problems besieging this country.
“This country will soon default on its debt servicing. This is what should be preoccupying us now. Universities have shut down and we are talking about who we’ll vote for. Let’s deal with the issues.
“This election will not be based on ‘my turn’, ethnicity, and religion. It will be based on a Nigerian agenda to save this Nigeria. Nigeria is in a coma, and it needs a specialist, and that is why I’m offering to save its life or it will die. I’m appealing to people to vote to save Nigeria, and to save Nigeria is to hire the best.”
“Nigeria is in a coma and needs an expert to save it. I am appealing to Nigerians to vote for me as the best man for the job and not because of primitive consideration.
“I don’t want Nigerians to vote for me because I am from the South or on a regional basis. I want Nigerians to vote for me based on competence and what I can offer.”