The Labor Party leadership has praised the courage of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in publicly endorsing his presidential candidate Peter Obi, describing him as a valuable New Year gift.

Obasanjo had in said message personally signed by his spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi, stated that the former Anambra state governor had an advantage in the February 25 poll.

Hours after his endorsement, the presidential campaign council of the Congress of All Progressives rebuked the former president, describing him as a political paperweight.

A statement signed by the PCC’s director of Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, said that Obasanjo does not have the influence to make anyone win a presidential or councilor election in the country.

But in a phone conversation with the punchLabor Party National Secretary Umar Farouk praised the former president as a champion of peace and nation builder.

Farouk described his open support for the LP candidate as a worthy “New Year’s present” for both the party and its presidential candidate.

He said: “We are very excited. It is one of the greatest gifts the Labor Party and our presidential candidate will have. Unsurprisingly, President Obasanjo is someone known to be a champion of peace and a builder of nations. In fact, he has shown the world and the international community that our presidential candidate is one of the best.

“Therefore, I believe that Obasanjo’s endorsement is a step in the right direction. Beyond that, the punishment of his former vice president, who is not trustworthy, indicated that Nigerians should follow Obasanjo’s recommendation by supporting our candidate.

“It has been shown that none of these people who are competing against Obi can really deliver Nigeria. Is it Tinubu or Atiku? We have seen what they can do.

“Tinubu is an APC leader and we know that 70 per cent of Buhari’s cabinet is from Tinubu. What has he done for the betterment of Nigerians? Atiku also as vice president has been virtually in charge of Obasanjo’s management and sales of Nigerian assets for eight years. He’s the only thing he can talk about after all these fraudulent sales of the country’s assets. But Nigerians know better.

“We pray that this New Year’s gift from Obasanjo is something we are very happy with and would like other senior statesmen to emulate by backing Peter Obi to change the government for the betterment of Nigerians.”

In a related development, Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council Chief Spokesperson Festus Keyamo tweeted via his Twitter account that the open show of support for the former Anambra governor cannot have any effect on its director.

While asserting that Obansajo has the right to endorse someone, Keyamo also believed that his action had inadvertently put the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party in a bad light.

He tweeted: “It’s within OBJ’s right to endorse anyone, but it’s bad for the PDP in two ways: (1) Atiku’s ex-boss doesn’t think he deserves to be president this time (2) The little support OBJ gave to the PDP in 2019 and they failed, that has been brought to LP. No effect on Bola Tinubu.”