How Buhari should handle 2019 – Okupe
Dr. Doyin Okupe was Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and is now the Southwest leader of the Accord Party (AP). In this interview, he speaks on the 2019 re-election bid by President Muhammadu Buhari and the
Daily Trust: Why did you leave the PDP for the Nigeria Coalition Movement?
My reasons for leaving the PDP had been earlier discussed severally. But I left the PDP because I fundamentally disagreed with what was going on in the party. More importantly, the nation is in a state of anomie now and there is actually a need for patriots to find a way to save our democracy. Yes, Obasanjo is like a political godfather to me. I believe in him and I also trust him. If there is a nationalist in Nigeria, Obasanjo is one and I believe that he means well for Nigeria. You may not like his style, but we need to look beyond the surface. CNM is a brilliant idea and to every discerning mind, it is absolutely impossible to oppose the incumbent and a towering figure like President Muhammadu Buhari and hope to win. To defeat Buhari will take exact reversal of what Bola Tinubu and others were able to do with APC. A broad platform encompassing the political majority in the country must be put together to present a candidate to contest against Buhari with the hope of being able to win. To that extent, the coalition that Obasanjo is leading is what I am proud to be a part of and I am part and parcel of it, even though I am the Southwest leader of Accord Party.
DT: A former Oyo State governor, Rasheed Ladoja, was a national leader of the Accord Party, he is back in the PDP, how do you reconcile that?
There is nothing to reconcile really. All politics is local like they say. The primary motive of Chief Ladoja at his age is to look for a way to wrestle power from the ruling party in Oyo State which he had tried so often and had not been able to satisfactorily do in recent time. I have held meetings with him and he figures out that unless he is able to put together a coalition, he may not be able to confront the APC machinery. And in doing so, majority of the tendencies in Oyo State were tilting towards the PDP. I was there in one of the meetings when a delegation from Oyo State came to him to lead them into the PDP.
They believe that is the only way to unite and take power from the APC. He conceded and that was why he went to the PDP. But I don’t think he is well treated in the PDP. You really cannot say he is in PDP now. He is more or less in a limbo now. He is not in PDP and not out of PDP.
DT: What is your take on the spate of killings in the country?
Every sane Nigerian must be worried. Something profoundly evil is going on in the country. The bloodletting is too much. The frequency and viciousness of the attacks is confounding. What is more perplexing is that we cannot really say the same of efforts from the government to counter this evil. I may be wrong and may be right. I don’t think President Buhari was too much out of order. Perhaps he didn’t put it well when he said these are people trained by Gadhafi. What he probably had meant to say was that people that were trained in Libya
Buhari should aspire to end as a father figure in this country and I will personally applaud him for that. I will even canvass that everyone should put partisanship aside and support him to finish well and give him a grand exit. We do not have any father figure in this country. All our leaders have either destroyed themselves or we destroyed them. Let us preserve Buhari as historic legacy
had come down and are wreaking havoc in our system. There is also a shade of opinion that what we are seeing is a breakaway faction of Boko Haram that has actually teamed up with ISIS. The signature we are seeing in these attacks is mindless killings, arson and massive destruction. This is so typical of ISIS operations. It is better for us as Nigerians and those who lead us to term with this reality.
We have ISIS operating in Nigeria and it is another form of extreme Islamic fundamentalism in a very vicious and dangerous form. If you look at it, Boko Haram is located in the Northeast and not going beyond the zone. But if you see what is going on now, we had some very serious attacks in Benue, Jos, Kaduna, Zamfara, Kano, Kogi, Edo and Ekiti. That is no longer Fulani herdsmen’s attack. It is a misnomer to say there is a Fulani /farmers clash. Now it is the militias that are not just killing farmers, but going to churches to kill priests and worshippers. What has that got
Dr. Doyin Okupe