The campaign organisation for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election in 2019 has dismissed the hope being expressed by the opposition parties that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will lose power at the centre due to the recent gale of defections by the National Assembly members and some state governors.
A statement signed by the director of Strategic Communications, President Muhammadu Buhari 2019 Presidential Campaign, Festus Keyamo (SAN), said that the defections had not depleted President Buhari’s strong followership.
Rather, he said, the president has gained more supporters due to his performance in some critical sectors and, more importantly, in the area of security.
Keyamo pointed out that the president won in some states with large margins without the support of a majority of the politicians from those states who moved recently to join the opposition party, adding that the president was making in-roads in several places where he lost in the past, notably in the south-south and south-east.
He said: “From the demographics we have now, the historic figures and the present realities that we know, these defections will have little or no impact on the chances of Mr. President’s re-election.
“The following 12 states, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe and Niger with over 30 million registered voters, are states the president had consistently won with considerable large margins in past elections, especially in 2011 and 2015. This was achieved despite the fact that most of those states were being controlled by political parties other than his own.
“In 2011, when the president was in the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), despite being states with sitting opposition governors, National Assembly members, State Assembly members and local government chairmen, the president posted close to 11 million votes against all odds, defeating all his rivals in these 12 states mentioned above.
“In 2015 despite the majority of these states being in opposition after the merger that formed the APC, the president posted close to 11 million votes again in these states with PDP not scoring up to 20 percent of the votes in most of these states.
‘’As we can see, any defection within these states would have little or no consequence on President Muhammadu Buhari’s chances as he had always won those states irrespective of the party in power in those states.”
According to Keyamo, the president’s popularity in these states has increased due to the fight against Boko Haram which has been largely successful and as such he expects more votes from these strongholds.
He further remarked that the nine states the president lost in 2011, such as Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Kwara, Kogi, Adamawa and Benue, he won in them in 2015.
‘’The five Southwest states have registered voters strength of more than 14 million out of the about 20 million voters in these nine states.
‘’Today, those five states are being controlled by the APC. Ekiti will join before the 2019 election after Governor Kayode Fayemi is sworn in for a second term in office. All the political gladiators in those Southwestern states that helped to tilt the election in favour of the president in 2015 are still solidly with him and more have joined.
‘’The entire defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) structures that moved into APC are solidly behind the president. In terms of defections in the western states, the party has gained more than it has lost as the likes of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Senator (Mrs) Fatima Raji-Rasaki, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Senator Gbenga Kaka, former Governor Adebayo Akala, to mention a few, are now with APC.
“To underscore the rising profile of the party in these states, the people of Ondo State and Ekiti State decided to entrust their states in the hands of the APC by voting out the previous PDP governments. Furthermore, these states are well represented in government with a sitting vice president, important ministerial portfolios and prominent membership of the economic team. So, we can only expect more votes, not less, from the west,” he stated.
Speaking on President Buhari’s chances in the south east and south south where he lost all 11 states in 2015, Kenyamo noted that with the exemplary work of the president in the regions in terms of infrastructural developments, like the Second Niger Bridge and other road constructions, the profile of APC is on the rise in these states and this momentum will surely rub off on the electoral fortunes of the president.
“This can be seen in the high level defections to the APC in the last three years in these states and more are coming. The recent election in Anambra is also a testimony to the rising profile of the party in the east. In 2015 the president scored 17,926 votes in Anambra. The most recent governorship election saw APC come second with over 98,000 votes, defeating PDP in the process.
‘’This is a pattern we expect in the 2019 elections throughout the South East and South South as compared to the last elections. The President can only amass more votes from these regions and not less than 2015.
‘’It is noteworthy that President Muhammadu Buhari is going into this election as an incumbent enjoying the support of a lot more governors, senators, House of Representative members, House of Assembly members and local government chairmen than he ever had. Equally the odds are no more stacked up against the President as he will see to a truly free and fair election as witnessed in elections conducted in the last three years. We expect the soaring popularity of the President to be reflected in the 2019 elections’’, Keyamo concluded.
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