The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has defended Atiku Abubakar’s absence at a reception held for his running mate, Peter Obi, in Awka the Anambra State capital.
Director-General of the Atiku/Obi Campaign Council in the state, Dr. Harry Oranezi, told newsmen on Tuesday that Atiku was not factored into the programme.
This followed insinuations by critics of the PDP that Atiku deliberately shunned the inter-denominational Church service/reception held for Obi at the weekend.
However, Oranezi explained that Obi’s reception was a special event meant strictly for PDP chieftains, as well as its members and supporters from the state.
Oranezi, a former member of the House of Representatives, further disclosed that the event was necessitated by the need to welcome Obi home after his appointment as Atiku’s running mate.
He added that it was also an opportunity to show appreciation to the PDP presidential candidate for the choice of Obi, while seeking God’s guidance to achieve victory in the forthcoming election.
He said: “The event was an Anambra State affair, meant for some sons and daughters, including well-wishers from outside the state to celebrate with us.”
Also, Chairman of Atiku/Obi Presidential Council in Anambra, Okoli Akarika, said the grand reception was purely to welcome and honour Obi as the vice presidential candidate of PDP.
Akirika, a former Commissioner for Lands, added that the organisers deemed it fit to also use the occasion to showcase other candidates from the state who are vying for various positions, from state to federal levels.
He stressed that the reception was to further show the Igbo people that it is only the PDP that has their interest at heart, unlike the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), which is working against Igbo interest.