The National Chairman of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Mr. Dan Nwanyanwu, has refuted insinuations that the former presidential candidate of the party Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and now the Senatorial candidate for Ondo central district, was forced to drop out of the presidential race.
Nwanyanwu told THISDAY that though Mimiko had been inundated with calls on his presidential ambition by concerned citizens, he was not compelled to jettison his aspiration.
He noted, “Politics is about people and structure. This contest is between two people. I’m not saying the others are not good. Oby Ezekwesili is good. Donald Duke is good. Moughalu is fantastic, but their time has not come. Let us not deceive ourselves. We will check our tally after the presidential election. Mimiko’s withdrawal was of his free will, after due consultation with stakeholders and the party.”
The ZLP National Chairman also rejected the notion that party faithful may have become disillusioned after Mimiko’s withdrawal from the presidential race. He held a different opinion. “Our decision was to work towards 2023. We were just two months old when the election timeline for primaries was released. As soon as people saw the leadership of the party, they started coming. Within two months, the party performed beyond expectations. We were the last to be registered, now we are in first 10. We are already a member in the House of Representatives even before the election.
The target of the leadership of this party is to make it to the first three in one year. It was not in our contemplation at all to go far. We just wanted to pick few states to avoid de-registration. Over 70 political parties will go after the election, those who failed to at least make state house of assembly. Our members never expected a presidential candidate, but when Mimiko came, we could not deny him. That was how he became the presidential candidate of the party, after a convention. We have about 79 presidential candidates, some of them jokes, others jokes taken too far, nothing serious, some just want to be on the ballot maybe to put on their CV, ‘Aso Rock attempted’. Members and non-politicians applauded Mimiko’s. Everyone agreed it was the wisest thing.”
Going further, Nwanyanwu explained that the presidential contest has been narrowed to two candidates, but the party had not taken a decision on who to support. He reasoned that, “The south has conceded presidency to the north. The north has given us two Fulanis, This contest is among Fulanis and that’s why I expect it to be very peaceful.
We are not forming an alliance. We will look at the stronger of the two. We have membership, structure. We don’t have to join a group of political parties. The person we want to support will come to us because they know what we have.”