From Tony Osauzo, Benin
A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Kenneth Imansuangbon, has expressed his support for the aspiration of former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to clinch the presidential ticket of the party for next year’s general election.
Recall that some chieftains of the PDP had recently called on Atiku to support younger aspirants from the Southern part of the country for the presidential race next year.
But in a statement in Benin City, Imansuangbon, a lawyer, popularly known as the ‘Rice Man’, said Atiku remained the best choice candidate of the PDP to defeat the ruling All Progressives Congress if the party is desirous of winning.
He, therefore, urged PDP members to market their aspirants instead of presenting Atiku in a bad light, pointing out that the ex-vice president has the prerequisite experience, contacts across the country and has impacted many lives through his many philanthropic works.
Imansuangbon, a former Edo State Governorship aspirant, cautioned PDP governors and party chieftains to call their supporters to order and refrain them from casting aspersion on Atiku.
He argued that those using the issue of age and zoning against the former vice president are doing that for selfish and parochial reasons.
‘What I want PDP members to understand and focus on is winning the election. We cannot field candidates Nigerians do not know and trust.
‘How on earth can someone argue that Atiku should not be given our party’s ticket on account of his age? Age is not a curse but a blessing.
‘For example, it is on record that the founding father and former president of Singapore, late Lee Kuan Yew, became president at a very old age and he led his country into economic prosperity. Same with former President Ronald Reagan of the United States. So what are they talking about?
‘Again, If we are talking about fairness, equity and justice, power should remain in the North. He is the most qualified in the North and doesn’t forget that the North East has not produced the president. Even if you leave the presidency open he is the most qualified and his presidency will usher in prosperity for the country.
‘From 1999, the South has done 14 years while the North will have 11 years by the time Buhari completes his tenure next year. There is a 4 years deficit for the North to balance up.
‘PDP where I belong, the North has not finished its tenure. Obasanjo did 8 years, Yar’ Adua did 2 years and Jonathan did 6 years. In fairness, they should take it to the North.
‘Atiku is well known across the country. He is the best option to defeat the APC. I want to appeal to PDP Governors and other members to support Atiku,’ Imansuangbon pleaded.