The Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) and founding member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Osita Okechukwu, has said that the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, is no match for the APC presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Okechukwu argued that the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Musa Kwankwaso as that of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) negate the convention of rotation system, adding that this would be their albatross.
He started this on Sunday during an interview with journalists at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja, where he expressed confidence that Tinubu would secure 60 percent of the total votes cast in the 2023 presidential election.
He said: “Asiwaju has 60 percent of winning this election. We are in charge of 22 states of the federation. We have the majority in the National and State Houses of Assembly – they are not going to betray him.
“Even in the South-East, that has never been our (APC) stronghold, on the day of the election, we are going there to protect our mandate.”
He added that all political appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari who are party members would also work to ensure victory for Tinubu.
He continued: “Whatever is my preference, if I want my office to remain it means I must support Asiwaju. It’s applicable to those who are board members whether you are coming from Yenogoa or Dutse so that is the power of incumbency.”
Okechukwu described rotation of government from zone to zone as important, saying “when (Abubakar) Tafawa-Balewa as Prime Minister, the president or governor-general was Nnamdi Azikiwe from the South. When (Yakubu) Gowon became Head of State, Obafemi Awolowo was his deputy, the same thing with Murtala (Muhammed) and (Olusegun) Obasanjo. Obasanjo/Shehu (Umaru) Yar’Adua; (Shehu) Shagari/(Alex) Ekwueme down the line.”
“It’s not as if rotation is a new thing. So, for the PDP because of Atiku’s muscle, they jettisoned the rotation of the presidency which was an injury to himself. Some of us in the south will forbid him because he touched on the ligament that is holding the country.
“That is why we thank the northern governors because they recognised the import of that ligament. You may not take it seriously but if you know the sense of belonging it brings to the north and south you can’t just dismiss it.
“So APC obeyed it. Kwankwaso I know they were afraid of us. I don’t want to name names. This rotation may not have its legal teeth but rotation is a convention. It has its moral angle. That’s why the UK does not have a written constitution they live on conventions. Atiku will not know what he did to himself until the day the votes come.
“So is also the way Kwankwaso is playing with us. The areas he will capture in the north, I know he is not going to give up and since he doesn’t obey the convention, he will not nominate somebody to go with Peter and if Peter does not go strong north, we will be in CPC and ANPP in 2003 we had 12 million votes we didn’t win the south.
“Nobody can win in Nigeria if you can’t have northern support. No northerner can win without a southern stronghold. Atiku has lost in the southern stronghold. That’s why I’m giving Tinubu about 60% chances,” he added.