National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has declared that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has no presidential candidate to match President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general elections. He described the leadership of the PDP as a bunch of dreamers, insisting that the opposition party poses no threat to his party in the 2019 presidential election. Oyegun, who made the declaration in an exclusive interview with New Telegraph yesterday, declared that Buhari and the ruling APC are not losing any sleep over PDP ahead of the 2019 polls.
The APC national chairman maintained that Buhari remains the most credible uniting force in Nigeria at the moment, as well as the best choice, not only for the APC in 2019, but the nation in general. He said PDP presidential aspirants like former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; former Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido; ex-governor of Kaduna State and immediate past national caretaker chairman of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, pose no threats to Buhari in 2019. Oyegun said the PDP presidential aspirants are just struggling for relevance within the PDP.
His words: “As at today, Buhari remains the most credible uniting force in the Nigerian nation. We are not saying that there are no difficulties, there are, but tell me somebody else who has the kind of status, the kind of presence and the kind of symbolism that Buhari has? If you tell me, maybe, we can start comparing them.
“I am not talking about the party alone, but the entire nation. Tell me, who you can compare electorally and in terms of what he reflects and represents for the nation? Go to my village and mention Dankwambo; they will ask you from which planet is he from. Let me not treat him special from any of the above you mentioned. Atiku has been with us, he is a significant political force in this nation, no question about that.
Let me not say anything more than that because he is somebody I like as a person, but we are talking about uniting the country So, we need somebody who stands for what the people want to see the nation become. That is the beauty of President Buhari. “Everybody is saying that they have the capacity to defeat President Buhari, when it is clear that they are enjoying their dreams.
What else do you expect people, who are hopeful to say? They shouldn’t bother to compare themselves to President Buhari. They should just say that they command the loyalty of the vast majority of Nigerian people. These are people who are not known, probably outside their local governments or their states. They are just struggling for relevance within the PDP.”
He, therefore, dismissed the boast by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, that his party will sack the President in the next elections.
His words: “They are entitled to live in fool’s paradise; they are entitled to be dreaming dreams, but they are still far from being a serious contender in 2019. They are not together yet; they don’t have a product to sell yet; their past is still much recent.
“So, talking about even being a force and a really credible contender is out of the question, not to talk of displacing the APC. We have the product and we have rebuilt and solidified the base of the Nigerian economy.
“The country is picking up both politically and economically and results, of course, are gradually manifesting and finally, we trust the people of this country, we trust their memory and we believe that they are much wiser than the PDP elite seems to think.
“Yes, we have not provided everything they want, but they still know and appreciate the tremendous job the President has done in rebuilding the base of the Nigerian economy and in fact, basically salvaging the polity.”
When reminded of the PDP’s claim that Buhari has failed Nigerians, Oyegun told New Telegraph that: “What do you expect them to say? You see, they are underestimating the Nigerian voters, very badly underestimating the Nigerian voters. Yes, there is dif-ficulty in the land, but the Nigerian voters know that the President has applied himself to rebuilding a totally fractured polity – economically and politically.
“In the process, there is a bit of anguish, there is no question about that, but repairing a badly damaged house involves a lot of painful process and that is what we have gone through, but we are coming out of it.
“Agriculture is now the backbone of the Nigerian economy, infrastructure is coming to a situation where it can carry development, both power and rail transportation and whatever it is. The path to greatness for this greatness of this country is already in place and the results are going to be unfolding in the subsequent months.”
Further insisting that the PDP will not be a contender in 2019, the APC national chairman said while the main opposition party is still battling to come out of crisis, the ruling party is building a base for a new Nigeria.
He said: “They are not a factor yet, there are still factions in the party and they are still busy putting themselves together. Meanwhile, we are busy working for the people; we are busy putting the economy back together; we are busy consolidating agriculture; we are busy stabilizing electricity generation and distribution; we are busy creating a totally new developmental oriented infrastructure, both rail and roads. We are at work; President Buhari is at work, building the base for a new Nigeria.
“Even the PDP is already split into two. So, which PDP are you talking about; the PDP/SDP (Social Democratic Party) or the ancient and crumbling PDP?” Oyegun added that there is no way his party will lose sleep over the boast by Secondus that PDP will unseat President Buhari in 2019. According to him, the name of the opposition party’s national chairman shows that his party (PDP) will continue to play second fiddle to the APC.
“Look at his name; they chose a man, who as admitted that he is second to us. Secondus means ‘second to us.’ So, they are permanently second to APC. His name admits to that, so leave him (Secondus) because his confidence is like the joy of a dreamer,” he said.