A chieftain of the Accord Party and former Presidential Spokesperson, Dr Doyin Okupe, has called on the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, to leverage on his increasing popularity and contest the 2019 presidential election.
Okupe made the call yesterday on Channels television Breakfast show, Sunrise Daily while speaking on the crises rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the recent break away of some members who tagged themselves the Reformed APC. The APC, it would be recalled, had rebutted the claim by the splinter group.
Okupe described the senate president as the next most popular politician in the country after President Muhammadu Buhari, hence calling on him (Saraki) to cash in on the development and run for presidency in the next general election.
He said, “Apart from Buhari, the next most visible and most notable politician in Nigeria today is Bukola Saraki and he would do himself a great favour if he steps into the ring and run for President, he has the pedigree.
“Saraki has had the required exposure and experience from being a Special Assistant to the President, to being a two-term governor, and now Senate President. He has been through different stages of leadership and this makes him stand out among many other aspirants who have indicated interest to become President.”
Okupe, however, said it would not be feasible for Saraki to win the APC’s ticket to contest for the exalted seat. Rather, he said the senate president should consider another political party.
“I don’t see Saraki contesting primaries in the APC. It is impossible. The hostility against him in the APC is too much. That is why he needs to move to another party where he can form alliance with other parties to contest.”
Analysing the chances of President Buhari in winning the 2019 elections with the current situation of the APC, the former presidential spokesperson said “the Buhari’s government and the APC are presently at the lowest ebb of popularity. The saying that Buhari has 12million votes in the north is delusional, the northerners are also affected by the economic problem Nigeria is facing and a larger percentage of the goodwill and popularity Buhari enjoyed before the 2015 elections have diminished because the people are not happy.
“Take for instance, Buhari had about two million votes from the Middle Belt, now 80 per cent of that is gone.”
Talking about his party, the Accord Party, Okupe said, “All parties in Nigeria are forming an alliance to defeat the incumbent government. We are not part of anything and we are docile and mooted. If Nalado and his cohorts are to join the APC they should be bold to say so publicly and those of us who refuse to be appendage or ally of APC can redefine our status as members of Accord.
“Every right thinking and forward looking member of this party must seriously worry now where we are heading. This party has now become a pariah politically among progressive political platforms.”