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Okupe narrows presidential contest to three



As the race for next year’s presidential election hots up, former presidential spokesman and chieftain of the Accord Party (AP), Dr. Doyin Okupe has narrowed the choice of credible opponents to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari to the trio of Senate President Bukola Saraki, former Vice President Abubakar Atiku and Sokoto governor, Aminu Tambuwal.

This came as a platform, Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG), expressed concern about the non-passage of the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the National Assembly saying the development may jeopardize the 2019 general elections.

Speaking at a forum yesterday, Okupe projected that the election will be between Buhari on one side against any of the three who recently defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).


According to him, “there are two platforms on which any candidate can win a presidential election in Nigeria; the first is by winning the Northwest and Northeast with Southern majority, the second platform is by clearing votes in the Southeast, Southwest, South-South and the Middle Belt. It doesn’t matter what votes come from the North, with this second strategy, a candidate will win the election convincingly.”

Analysing the chances of the three hopefuls, Okupe said “I see Tambuwal as a young politician from the Northwest and people have been clamouring for the return of power to the Northwest, that if you really want to defeat Buhari in an election, you need somebody from the Northwest who can divide the vote. Though he has the experience, exposure and acceptability that Nigerians can follow, but I don’t see Tambuwal in that capacity to divide the northern votes.”

On Atiku, he said, “Of all the aspirants, Atiku is perhaps the most ready because he’s been contesting for long. But he is not as acceptable in the North as you would have expected a Northern candidate should be. I think Buhari is faring better even in the Northeast than Atiku. That is not enough like I said earlier, if he can gather support from the South, he is good to go. He has been dutiful in preparing for this and he has the war chest to go for it.”

Speaking on Saraki’s chances, Okupe said, “Among all the three, my best is Bukola Saraki. He has a good background of responsibility, pedigree, he is well educated, extremely exposed, knowledgeable and intrinsically intelligent. He has done excellently well since becoming Chairman of National Assembly and the present legislature under him has performed better than any we’ve ever had.

On the geographical strategy, Okupe said “Buhari already holds the Northeast and Northwest, and if you want to battle with him you don’t go to his stronghold and start battling with him, it doesn’t make any sense, because as it stands today, no Nigerian politician can severely damage Buhari’s electoral reservoir in the North. The wise thing to do is to go to where he is weak like the Middle Belt.”

In a communiqué issued at the end of a one-day round-table meeting on the 2019 Election Budget Impasse held in Abuja, the ISDMG warned that all forms of intrigues and politics associated with the budget should cease immediately for national interest and good.

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