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2019: Atiku Narrows VP Search to South East; Enugu, Abia Come Tops (SEE List)

As the jostling for Atiku Abubakar's Vice president slot heats up, indications emerged yesterday, Monday, that presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has narrowed his search to the South East geo-political region.

The search for the party's VP slot has further been narrowed to Enugu & Abia States in the zone.

The PDP has till October 18 to submit the names of its presidential candidate and his running mate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in line with the commission's timetable.

A PDP source who is privy to the decision at a meeting of the South East caucus of the party held in the build up to the presidential primaries told IGBERE TV that the position was further narrowed to the two South East states.

The source added that deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu; former minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe were mentioned during the meeting. The space was also open to persons from other state in the zone, with former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, tipped as a possible choice in the event where those considered from the two states are rejected.

It was learnt the former vice president was open to work with the former minister of finance who has represented Abia State in the past but, stakeholders from the state opposed his choice. A move to replace the minister with the incumbent governor was also resisted by "other governors and party chieftains at the meeting who said he was not qualified for the position.

"The Enugu people put forward a serving Senator (Ekweremadu), while the name of a serving senator from Abia (Abaribe) was also considered. But so far, no name has been adopted. These are just names that he was presented with. He has to submit the names today." It was also gathered that the South West has also launched a lobby for the position on grounds that it would serve as compensation for the way the region was sidelined during the national chairmanship contest last year, which went to the South South. Ohanaeze Gives Conditions For Support 

Meanwhile, Ohanaeze Ndigbo yesterday insisted that only a running mate from the South East will be a suitable pair for PDP to win the 2019 presidential election in the zone.

Atiku on Sunday defeated 11 other aspirants to pick the party's ticket. He is main challenger to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in next year's presidential election.

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