Yunusa Tanko, the chief spokesman of the Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Organisation, denies claims that his principal betrayed the late Biafran leader, Odumegwu Ojukwu, by leaving the party that initially launched his political career, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Tanko’s response followed accusations from the Biafra Independence Movement and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, claiming that Peter Obi and former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, betrayed their party leader by leaving APGA after serving as governors.
The accusation was made in a statement by BIM-MASSOB Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mazi Mocha.
Mocha said that without Ojukwu’s influence, Peter Obi wouldn’t have assumed the governorship of Anambra State in 2003.
BIM-MASSOB expressed regret, describing it as unimaginable to witness Peter Obi’s defection to the Peoples Democratic Party and subsequent selection as the vice presidential candidate to Atiku Abubakar shortly after the death of APGA’s founder in November 2011.
The Biafran group expressed regret, stating that it was unfortunate the LP presidential candidate never acknowledged Ojukwu’s role when discussing how he reclaimed his governorship mandate in court.
But Tanko defended the LP presidential flag bearer in an exclusive interview with Saturday PUNCH, saying that it was inappropriate to label Obi a betrayal for aspiring to move to party with a nationalistic appeal.
He said, “Obi is not a betrayer at all. BIM-MASSOB should be happy that Obi is a product of APGA that is now sellable to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“On second thought, I think this particular case MASSOB cited happened when they were all in APGA before 2011. As a nationalist, I was not in APGA but privileged to have followed the proceedings there.
“Peter Obi, in this regard, was thinking of a nationalist political party. I don’t see any wrong in that. For someone who wants to aspire to lead this country, he must be forward-thinking.
“But APGA has remained a regional party that has refused to spread its tentacles around the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“If you want to move yourself to the national level, you must look for a political party that is nationalistic in view. I think Peter Obi was strategic in choosing the Labour Party because it represents the interest of all Nigerian workers, which cuts across ethnic groups and religious lines.
“Thirdly, whether there were funds spent individually or collectively when they were in APGA, we don’t know. It could be true and it might turn out to be false. There may also be a reason why Obi said he didn’t spend money the way politicians are doing now to reclaim his governorship mandate.”
Kanyi Daily recalls that Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, had responded to the recent claims by the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led Government that they inherited a bankrupt nation.