A former Presidential spokesperson and chieftain of the Accord Party, Dr Doyin Okupe has tipped Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki as the only outstanding aspirant who the odd favours to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari, among all the Presidential aspirants in the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
President Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) announced his intention to seek a re-election few months ago and he is most likely to be the party’s sole candidate as the incumbent.
Speaking as a guest on a morning show which had discussions on the 2019 Presidential election, on Arise TV, Okupe projected that the 2019 presidential election will be between President Muhammadu Buhari on one side against Dr Bukola Saraki, former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku, or Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state. The trio recently dumped the APC for the PDP.
According to the former Presidential spokesperson, “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, Southsouth and the Middlebelt. It doesn’t matter what votes come from the North, with this second strategy, a candidate will win the Presidential election convincingly.”
He said those are the tested strategies winning presidential election in Nigeria.
Analysing the chances of the three Presidential 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 former Vice President Abubakar Atiku, Dr Okupe 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 Senate President Bukola 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 NASS under him has performed better than any we’ve ever had.
“His emergence will give us a President that could stand with President Emmanuel Macron of France and you will not be scared of what he is going to say. Someone who can stand to talk at the United Nations (UN) and you can be confident and proud as a Nigerian.”
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 Middlebelt.
“If Saraki emerges on the platform of the Middlebelt, all he needs to do to weaken Buhari’s northern stronghold is to gather support from Southeast, Southsouth and Southwest, since it is very clear that Buhari will lose all the Middlebelt states,” he added.
“That a candidate cannot break Buhari’s stronghold of the North does not mean the candidate cannot win the presidential election, it’s a fallacy.”
The Accord Party chieftain further explained that “Former President Goodluck Jonathan won in 2011 with Southern majority and the Middlebelt. Despite the fact that the North voted Buhari, Jonathan still won with Southern majority and the Middlebelt votes.
“In 2015, Buhari didn’t get any substantial votes in the Southeast and Southsouth, but he won based on the votes from the Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and some parts of the Middlebelt.”