Osita Okechukwu, a founding member of the APC and the Director General of Voice of Nigeria, has said that the refusal of Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to support Peter Obi in the 2023 presidential elections is what caused the party to lose in the election to APC’s Bola Tinubu.
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Friday, Okechukwu said that the moment Atiku declined to support Obi in his quest to run for president, it had split the votes that the PDP would have acquired as Obi defected to the Labour Party.
Okechukwu then said that in respect to the rotation of zoning convention in Nigeria, that Atiku should have supported Obi in his presidential bid while he was in PDP, as it was the turn of the South to run after the Northern region had ruled for 8 years under the Buhari administration.
He then referred to Atiku’s previous efforts in running for the presidency in previous years, but ultimately failing. “That he didn’t win in the 2019 election does not for a statesman mean that he must run when it is the turn of the south,” he said.
Okechukwu then said that while there were faults in the electoral process, the loss of the PDP was basically put in place when their votes were split and sent to the labour party. While driving his point, Okechukwu said, “What I’m saying is that when you hear people shouting about internal democracy on the political parties, it’s part of the process of the election. Just imagine what could have happened. Would anybody start saying that they could not gather enough agents, they could not gather enough papers if Atiku had supported Peter Obi or any southerner for that matter?
“It could have been what we were expecting, because I’m concerned about the growth of democracy in our dear country, and the growth of democracy has shown that in advanced countries democracies of the world, you mature to a multi-party system where there are two dominant political parties. So, the people’s idea will be rotating about the message, the ideologies, the principles of those two major political parties.”
When he was asked about his opinion on his assessment of the recently concluded electoral tribunal and the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) inability to provide electronically transmitted results despite saying that results will be transmitted electronically, he said that although the tribunal had ruled that it was not mandatory for INEC to transmit results via the BVAS, it should be enforced in the elections to come. He said, “I’m saying going forward that President Tinubu and my great party and other political parties, we must come back to look into the tally elements, to make electronic transmission of result mandatory…
“Let’s go electronic all through so that we can conclude cases before swearing in.”
Okechukwu then congratulated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his win, and commended Peter Obi and Atiku for plying the legal and democratic route to make their grievances about the February 25 polls known.