There seems to be no end in sight of the crisis bedeviling the Labour Party as some of its stakeholders have accused it’s Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi of mounting pressure on his proposed running mate , Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed to sign an agreement which demands that Datti serves only term as Vice President and also makes a financial commitment of two hundred billion Naira as contribution to fund the campaign.
Findings have also revealed that in addition to the above demands that Datti the founder and Pro-chancellor of Baze University Abuja utilises his position to mandate the students and staff to obtain and avail their Permanent voters card (PVC) to vote for the Labour Party Presidency in the 2023 General elections.
This is coming barely few hours after a former Deputy National Chairman of Labour Party, LP, Calistus Uju Okafor disowned the Presidential ambition of former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi which vowing not to backtrack on his suit currently challenging the constitutionality of the Abure-led national working committee of the party in Court which produced Obi as the Presidential candidate of the LP. The development as gathered fueled the recent call by a northern establishment on Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed to decline the vice Presidential slot offer.
According to reports as gathered by polity.com a source close to the Julius Abure led LP executive hinted that the pronouncement of the businessman and politician as running mate to the Labour Party candidate is being delayed as a result of Peter Obi’s demands which some of them described as stringent and inconsiderate.
Pleading anonymity the source further unveiled that a series of meetings had been ongoing inorder to meet up with July 15 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deadline for the submission of the list of vice Presidential,governorship and House of Assembly candidates by political parties.
The insistence of Obi’s stance that Datti will serve only one term as vice president and also commit 200 billion campaign fund has been a major clog in the wheel as majority of the party stakeholders including Datti have out rightly rejected. According to the source, signing such agreement will be a betrayal to the North, adding that though the party is in need of funds considering the financial power of their opponents Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar, Datti will however not be induced to make such outrageous commitment. Disclosing further the source said that Datti has also refused to compromise his position as pro Chancellor of the University to mandate the University communities to submit their voter cards, he added that talks are still ongoing as at the time of filing this report its however unclear if any agreement has been reached.
Another bottle neck as disclosed by the source is that fact that Baba-Ahmed hails from the popular Baba Ahmed family in Kaduna, whose brother is Hakim Baba-Ahmed, spokesperson of the Northern Elders’ Forum, NEF hence the demand to refuse the offer.
“The situation is very difficult as a result of the demands being made by Peter Obi. Though he has brought the Party to limelight, his demands are outrageous. We are trying our best to manage the situation.
“We are still battling with our court case over the leadership of the Party but Peter Obi is not helping matters by insisting that Datti agrees to serve only one term and gives 200 billion. Even on social media we are tagged as the IPOB party. How can you expect Datti to agree to such demands? We cannot even agree to such a thing because it will cause a serious problem later in the future and it will be a huge slap to the Northerners.
“According to our last meeting we are looking at a budget of about six hundred billion to fund the campaign if we are to match Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress and Atiku of the Peoples Democratic Party but asking Datti to provide 200 billion out of 600 is very inconsiderate. It’s just like buying the position of the Vice Presidential ticket when Peter Obi joined; we never made such a demand, not even to Pat Utomi, the source is quoted to have said.
Obi, a former Governor of Anambra and former presidential aspirant of the PDP joined LP on May 27 after he withdrew from the race for PDP’s presidential ticket and also resigned from the party in a letter dated May 24. He won the presidential ticket of LP at the party’s convention in Asaba on May 30.
Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed is a Nigerian economist and politician. He was a Senator and founder of Baze University Abuja and Baba-Ahmed University Kano. He is the founder and Pro-chancellor of Baze University Abuja where the Baze University Hospital which is said to be the biggest private hospital in Africa is domiciled