GIVEN the unfolding coalition in Nigerian politics, the All Progressive Congress (APC) will lose next year’s presidential election if they allow President Muhammadu Buhari to contest, former Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe says.
Speaking in an interview on Channels Television monitored in Abuja on Monday, he observed that with what had happened in the last three years of the administration, the ruling party is in shaky the foundation.
The former presidential aide noted that Buhari could only save his hero status if he does not seek a second term.
Okupe said: “Left to me, the APC will be doing themselves a favour if they do not allow the president to run.
“In this country today, we do not have heroes and there’s nobody with better credentials of becoming a national monument, a national hero. You know, we have destroyed all our heroes but there is one that we can still preserve and that is Muhammadu Buhari.
“But if he runs for this election, it’s likely going to be a regrettable act because of if Buhari wins, there will be problems, if he doesn’t win, there will be problems. So, why bother to run?
“The party that has the best chance of winning tomorrow is APC because they are incumbent, the president seems to have a major constituency that is behind him but it’s not that Buhari is unbeatable or APC is undefeatable.
“From what we see developing today, with his conglomeration of political forces in the country, the unity of the elite and all that, and the outright rejection of APC, it is very very likely that APC will lose this battle in 2019. It is very very likely.”
Okupe noted that Nigerians are disappointed in the APC as conditions in the country become unbearable for many.
He also said the ruling party cannot afford to lose members at this stage because of its precarious position.
Okupe added: “The government and APC are resting on a very shaky foundation right now. You know what has happened in the last three years, promises have not been kept, people are disappointed, whether for good or for bad.
“I’m not blaming anybody, I’m just saying this is what is on the ground. The situations are hard, life is becoming unbearable, there’s a lot of religious division, we have ethnic problems, there are killings.
“So, the popularity of the government is at its lowest ebb. This is not a government or a party that can afford even a minuscule loss or its followership
“(Adams) Oshiomhole the chairman said he’s not losing any sleep. He won’t lose any sleep now because the events are yet to happen.
“He will lose sleep after January 2019. That is when he will have serious insomnia. Right now, he will not because he is in a state of euphoria.”
He expressed surprise that the APC has survived as a unit for this long even though he claimed it was never a political party but a caricature.
According to him, “I have never believed that APC was a political party. It’s a caricature, the amalgamation that I saw and the coming together that I saw
“I’m surprised that they stood together for this long which somebody should give them kudos for. But it was an inevitability that nPDP will break away, I mean, it is given. The Tinubu faction ought to have left, you know a lot of manoeuvring took place to bridge that gap.
“All they have been doing, they never really practised or existed as a political party.
“Adams Oshiomhole’s first step doesn’t show a man, he’s is mature, he’s experienced. I’m surprised he’s saying what he’s saying. Filibustering or grandstanding for a national chairman is not it.”
Okupe, who is a member of the Accord Party, described the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the most visible opposition to the APC.
He said the former ruling party is coming together with other political parties for the purpose of dislodging the APC, noting that they will succeed in their plan.
He further stated: “You cannot build a viable opposition against the current administration without PDP.”
“The difference is that the PDP is the core of the coalition, that is the leadership of the coalition. The others are in form of alliance. An alliance is not the same thing as a true merger.
“In an alliance, you have some understanding, that we are working together on a certain premise. For what is developing now, I think what’s bringing this alliance together is the issue of the national presidential election.
“The PDP and all these people are coming together, they are trying to make sure they aggregate all their electoral potential to overpower the APC and they will.”
The former presidential aide asserted that what is happening to the APC now is a repeat of the 2015 experience of the PDP.
He dismissed suggestions that President Buhari will retain his 12 million votes he secured in 2015 in his northern stronghold.
While noting that former President Goodluck Jonathan was not as damaged in 2015 as Buhari is now, he added: “The saying that Buhari has 12 million votes in the north, I’m telling you, that’s a myth. Let us assume that he has 12 million in 2015, by now a minimum of 10% of that vote has gone because of people are not really happy.
“Buhari had about two million votes from the middle belt. Eight percent of that is gone. Kwara will not vote for him, Kogi will not vote for him, Niger will no vote for him, Benue will not vote for him, Plateau will not vote for him. That’s five states out of six.
“Anything Buhari or the APC candidate loses in the north, will not be recovered anywhere else.”