Labour Party’s candidate for the Oyo State governorship race, Tawfiq Akinwale, alleged in a radio interview that President-elect, Bola Tinubu urged Professor Pat Utomi to step aside in favour of Peter Obi before the 2023 general elections.
This allegation came to light during Akinwale’s appearance on the radio program 101.7 YES FM, based in Ibadan, Oyo State.
According to Akinwale, who spoke in Yoruba, Obi received campaign donations from Utomi, whom he characterized as Tinubu’s “protege”.
He stated that, “In the buildup to the 2023 elections, Obi who had purchased the nomination form of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), suddenly announced his exit from the party.
“Initially, Pat Utomi had secured the LP’s presidential ticket, but when Peter Obi said he resigned from the PDP and joined the LP. Bola Tinubu, a master political strategist, quickly told Utomi, that everyone knows to be his son to step down for Obi.
“The “president-elect” saw in Obi’s presidential bid, a good chance to reduce the winning chances of the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
“What Peter Obi didn’t know is much more than what he knows, he started collecting campaign funds from Utomi, while Tinubu was giving the money to Utomi.
“This went on until Obi’s presidential campaign got to a stage it went beyond the target. Obi was used without him knowing.”
Before these events, Obi had initially bought the nomination form of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 elections.
However, he abruptly declared his departure from the party, sparking the sequence of events that Akinwale described.
The Labour Party candidate further emphasized that Tinubu, widely recognized as a skilled political strategist, advised Utomi to step aside for Obi.
Akinwale suspects that Tinubu considered Obi’s presidential candidacy as an opportunity to undermine Atiku Abubakar, the PDP’s presidential candidate’s odds of winning.
After resigning from the PDP and withdrawing from the presidential race, Obi switched to the Labour Party.
Consequently, he entered the contest for the party’s presidential ticket. In June 2022, Pat Utomi made way for Obi, who became the unchallenged presidential candidate of the Labour Party at a meeting in Asaba, Delta State.