The Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, and Chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, has described the 2023 Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as a selfish person, whose greediness cost his party victory, in the February 25, Presidential election.
Mr Okechukwu who stated this during his chat with newsmen while reacting to the outcome of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, in Abuja on Wednesday, stated that as a Buharist, he had experienced the pain of losing post-election litigations, noting that he fully understands the anguish of the Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party, as well as Allied Peoples Movement’s members, over the outcome of the PEPT.
The APC Chieftain acknowledged that the PDP had bright chances of bouncing back through the 2023 presidential election, and alleged that the political greed of the party’s candidate denied the party victory.
Premium Politics had ruled in favour of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, against the petitions seeking to disqualify his candidacy.
However, the VON boss stated that while he sympathises with PDP, LP and APM, who are the petitioners, particularly supporters of the PDP and LP, he said, “the LP should not blame the PEPT but His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, whose hubris and greed combined to deny them victory.”
According to him, Atiku’s failure to make use of the opportunity presented before him, to play the role of a statesman, by throwing weight behind his former running mate, Peter Obi or any other Southern presidential candidate, divided the opposition party, noting that “Atiku dealt PDP a huge blow from which it might be difficult to recover.”
He, however, disregarded assertions by the petitioners that alleged irregularities in the conduct of the election, Tinubu’s qualification, and the failure to electronically transmit results in real-time were fatal to the respondents’ case.
“Those intricate webs could have been resolved if Atiku had obeyed the zoning convention, and supported Peter Obi or any other Southern presidential candidate it could been simply an all-Southern bout. The Wike masquerade couldn’t have emerged. That would have meant that the bulk of votes he garnered could have been credited to the PDP.
“Atiku divided PDP’s votes irreparably, all the votes Labour Party garnered were from the party’s stronghold, minus voted warehoused by the former Vice President who naively forgot that northern voters are one of the most sophisticated in the country, but believed that northern electorate would behave like children in a dormitory waiting for directives on how to vote,” he declared.
Okechukwu however commended President Tinubu for his action and noted that the president deserves commendations for rescuing the zoning convention which guarantees equity, and natural justice between the North and South.
“First and foremost, let me congratulate President Tinubu, for rescuing the zoning convention, a ligament binding north and south from unprecedented assault.
“To be honest, my take is that the opposition lost the election that day in 2022, when His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar trampled on the presidential zoning convention, which governed the 4th Republic Nigeria and was also embedded in his party’s Constitution.
“Recall that Atiku earned accolades when he stormed out of the PDP Convention in 2014 in protest that President Goodluck Jonathan was breaching the zoning convention. , In 2018, Governor Nyesom Wike hosted the PDP Convention in Port Harcourt and ensured that only northern presidential aspirants contested for the presidential ticket as a way of honouring the zoning convention.
“So, it is obvious that when Atiku sacrificed statesmanship on the altar of narrow political ambition, one concluded that he had wittingly or unwittingly fatally wounded the fabric of PDP. And, going by the time-worn cliché, a divided house cannot stand, Nigerians should recognise that Atiku by his greed denied PDP a possible victory.”
Mr Okechukwu however proposed a modified Electoral Act that will resolve all evident ambiguities, by enthroning mandatorily only electronic accreditation and transmission of results.
“I subscribe to the idea that we should abolish manual collation of results and make electronic transmission of results mandatory.
“We also need to return to the popular Justice Uwais Handbook on Electoral Reform, which among other fine democratic tenets recommended how best to transparently recruit the INEC Chairman, Commissioners and sundry officials.
“With these altercations, Election Petitions will be concluded before the swearing-in of winners.
“Let us not forget that our democracy has witnessed tremendous advancement and keep in mind the fact that democracy is not a revolution, but a work in progress,” he added.