Okechukwu: Tinubu Has 60 Percent Winning Chance in 2023
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON) and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osita Okechukwu, yesterday, said the presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has a 60 percent chance of winning the 2023 presidential election.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, he said he was not worried about the growing popularity of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and his counterpart in the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
“Asiwaju has 60% of winning this election. We are in charge of 22 states of the federation. We have the majority in National and State Houses of Assembly. They are not going to betray him.
“Even us in the South/east that has never been our (APC) stronghold, on the day of election, we are going there to protect our mandate, otherwise, if I don’t defend it, did I get an appointment before APC won the presidential election?
“Whatever my preference is, 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 Yenagoa or Dutse, so that is the power of incumbency,” he said.
The party chieftain, however, said while Tinubu was still searching for his running mate, he has an array of Christians to choose from in the North.
According to him, “The last I heard from our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is that he is still searching and luckily, he has a wide variety of areas to search from. From River Benue up to the last point in Jibia, Dutse, Lake Chad boundary.
“Luckily for us, a lot of people will not know that even in Kebbi, Sokoto there are Christians. Even in Borno, there are Christians. He has a wide range of areas to look for Christians.”
Okechukwu stressed that the refusal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to jettison its zooming arrangement would be its undoing during the election, adding that, power rotation might not have its legal teeth, but it has its moral angle.
His words: “Why the Obi thing is not worrisome, I know the Kwankwaso’s ailment in NNPP; they have the same ailment with PDP. They don’t believe in rotation convention. So, for the PDP, because of Atiku (Abubakar) 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.”
Okechukwu commended APC Northern governors ceding the presidency to the South, and reiterated that, “This rotation may not have its legal teeth but rotation is a convention. It has its own moral angle. That’s why UK does not have a written constitution; they live by conventions.
“Atiku will not know what he did to himself until the day the votes come. So also is 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, he will be where we were in CPC and ANPP in 2003. We had 12 million votes, we didn’t win in the south.
“Nobody can win in Nigeria if you don’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. The day Okowa returned home, his godfather James Ibori, was not there and they were in Delta.
“So, where are you going to fetch that water? Do you tell the south that you are their friend, that you are more liberal when in the PDP, the PDP constitution you breached it yourself, because you have more dollars in hand, let’s call it muscle. So, that’s our chances as APC.
“You don’t like Tinubu? Are you happy? I am happy that he was able to win. He built a bridge. He went to the northern states, 12 governors, whatever magic he used to convince them has brought reprieve, because if all the candidates of the major parties were northerners, Nigerians would have been grumbling. The grumbling in the south would not have been too palatable.
“They asked me the other day, I said I am supporting Tinubu strongly. Whether he was my preference, remember the other time I asked him to go to the South-east and pick somebody and they replied me that the kingmaker wants to be king.”
The VON DG noted that Tinubu may not be his preference before the primary election, but today, Tinubu is his preference as the party’s candidate, stressing that his preference could not be those who don’t want the country to be more united.