Former presidential spokesperson, Dr. Doyin Okupe, has urged both political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to pick their 2023 presidential candidates from the Southern and not from the Northern region.
According to him, if the PDP zones the presidency to the North in 2023, then we are toying with the country’s unity and stability, also for both party to zone their candidates to the Southern region, then that is the only way we can guarantee the stability of the country, the safety of our people and sound economic growth for Nigeria.
Dr. Okupe, made this disclosure during an interview with Sunday PUNCH, during which he added that, only a southern presidency in 2023 can stop the impending break-up, from the South-East and South-West geopolitical zones.
When asked whether the defection taking place from the PDP is a result of major crisis, the former spokesperson said that it is a normal occurrence especially when a major election is approaching, so the other party will be involved in cases to woo politicians in the opposition.
“The defection in the PDP is not a measure of crisis. It is a normal occurrence when a major election is approaching and a party in power is experiencing a strong political pull. Of course, there are cases of blackmail to woo politicians in the opposition. By 2023, the All Progressives Congress would have been in power for eight years. Only a few politicians like the idea of being out of power for long and not having a piece of the action.
“There is also the issue of some party faithful feeling dissatisfied with what is happening within the party leadership in their local communities. There could be irreconcilable differences that could come up between strong stakeholders in the state and at the local level such that an individual would feel that there was no way he or she could continue to operate on the same platform with the people they have issues with.
They will now forget about the principles of commitment and shift to another party”.
On whether, he forseee a major crack in the polity with some northern governors disagreeing with their southern colleagues who are saying power must shift to the South in 2023?
The former PDP leader said, “The Southern governors are the political leaders in the South-East, South-West and the South-South. It will be foolhardy, reckless and insensitive for any political party to totally ignore the position of the Southern governors who are leading more than half of the population of the country. The people of Lagos for instance have openly supported their Governor on the issues of Value Added Tax and Open-grazing. That means the people that the governors are leading actually believe and support their position in their demand for zoning. It doesn’t then make sense for any party to zone presidency to the North”.
On the thought if an Igbo presidency would end the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) separatist agitation in the region?
Dr. Okupe said, “The agitation, no doubt, is real and that is why the governors are looking at the political solution to it by demanding that presidency should come to the South in 2023.
Don’t let us think that the South-East politicians are on their own. They know the feelings of their people. There are governors and ministers from the South-East, yet a non-state actor like the IPOB is declaring a sit-at-home and the people are complying willingly without intimidation. No governor in the South-East could declare otherwise. No governor has the capacity to convince the people to the contrary. The people’s will has taken official authorities in the South-East. So, we ignore it at our own peril. Politics is about dialogue”.
Also, the former spokesperson made it known that it is same thing with the agitation for Yoruba Nation in the South-West, when he declared that, “An average Yoruba man or woman is tired of being in Nigeria. They desire their own nation. Nigerians are running away to other countries as if they are in a boat that had sunk already. We should find a way to halt this unwarranted dissent”.