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How APC will survive 2023 — Ojo

Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a security expert, public affairs analyst and Coordinator of Yoruba Youth Alliance…

Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a security expert, public affairs analyst and Coordinator of Yoruba Youth Alliance (YYA). In this interview, he speaks on the current tussle for the 9th Assembly leadership and its implications for 2023 general elections.

What is the position of the APC on power shift in 2023?

I want to speak as a political prophet; that power cannot come from the South in 2023. If the APC zones to the South East, South South or South West in 2023, that will be the end of the APC. Where is the unity in the South? But there is unity in the North. The North controls 19 states, including the FCT. Nigeria is not for APC alone, so the APC must be careful. If you look at the situation meticulously, the PDP has improved seriously. How many governors do they have now? Today, they have 14 governors standing. And let me tell you, the North voted for Mr. President, they didn’t vote for our party, the APC. And the margin between President Buhari and Atiku was not much because they are both northerners. If it were Buhari and Ojo or Buhari and Chukwudi, the margin would have been around 10 or 20 million.

Don’t you think the Yoruba and Igbo will feel betrayed or cheated if the presidential ticket of the party still goes to the North in 2023? 

Is there any constitutional provision for the zoning? No. It is just an informal calculation of some persons. But on the other hand, even now, the APC is split. However, there is a rubber band that joins them together, and that is President Buhari. There is no peace within the rank and file of the APC.  We lost Imo because of the internal crisis. If not for the popularity of Yemi Osinbajo and Osoba in Ogun, we would have lost Ogun State. We lost the presidential election in Ondo State. The margin in Osun State is nothing to write home about. We lost the presidential election in Edo State. What are we talking about? Those are the areas we beat these people before. What we need now is not treatment, we need serious healing. If we have this kind of attitude, PDP will make waves; they are very calculative. Today, clinically, I am telling you, the APC is healthy in only two states in the South West. We are healthy in only Lagos and Ekiti. So, if they zone it (ticket) to the South and technically micro zone it to the South West, we will lose. Don’t forget, majority of states in the South are under the control of the PDP.  The PDP in 2023 can go and sleep because they already have 11 states in the South. And their projection is to bring somebody from the North, and Buhari is no longer there. Tell me an APC man from the South that will challenge the North. The North will come together for the PDP candidate and whatever the PDP has from the South East and South South, as well as Oyo State, will spur victory.

So, PDP’s northern presidential candidate and a southern vice-presidential candidate in 2023 will make a very powerful victory that cannot be challenged in court. If the APC fields a southern presidential candidate, the person will be wasting his time because he will lose at home.

The presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, is challenging the outcome of the poll in court. What do you make of this?  

I don’t think we can have someone like former President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigerian politics for a very long time. Atiku, I think is wise. He is a politician, a businessman; he is rich. He has spent a lot of money on politicians and media. He has not spent money on the lawyers. So, it is the turn of the lawyers to get their own dollars. If I were in a position to advise him, I would have just told him to wait till 2023, because he won’t be too old to contest again. But this time, the lawyers are happy with him. Most of the lawyers will change their cars and build good houses in Asokoro and Victoria Island; I see this effort as a fruitless one. I think it is a waste of time, energy and finances.

What is your impression about APC anointing Sen. Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila for the leadership of the 9th Assembly?

I think the APC has learnt a very bitter lesson. And I want to appreciate Mr. President that this time around, he is more serious. Mr. President took things for granted before the emergence of the 8th Assembly. From inception, the PDP found its way into the 8th Assembly by forcefully planting Senator Saraki and Dogara as senate president and speaker to pave way for a PDP bigwig to win presidential election in 2019. They believed they must have rubbished the government and that has brought us to where we are now. And what is that? Suffering. That is why I said they have learnt a bitter lesson.

Do you see any correlation between the APC’s decision on the 9th Assembly leadership and the 2023 general elections? 

It is a calculation ahead of 2023, because if we are not in charge of the 9th National Assembly as the ruling party, definitely, it will affect our chances of retaining power in 2023. A lot of calculations are going on already. The 2019 election has come and gone. The next election is in 2023, and when the foundation is wobbling, definitely it will scatter and they will not be able to build on it. So, I think the APC has done very well.

Don’t you think the endorsements would spark serious crisis in the APC?

There is already a division, but this would be treated accordingly before the inauguration of the 9th Assembly. The major division we have now is because of a few persons who want to remain relevant in the 9th Assembly; they are making noise so that at the end of the day, they will be settled with what we call juicy appointments.

Some APC stalwarts are agitating that the North Central should be allowed to produce the speaker on the ground that the region had never tasted the seat. What is your view?  

The North Central shouldn’t be making noise about the 9th Assembly leadership. The North Central occupied the seat of the senate president for how many years? Ebute was there, David Mark was there for eight years and now Saraki is there. They should go and relax now when it comes to politics of the National Assembly. I think the North Central should be thinking of having the SGF this time.

 The security situation in the country is getting worse. As a security expert, what do you think should be done to salvage the situation?

The situation is worrisome. I want to suggest that the service chiefs have done their best and should be relieved of their jobs so that fresh brains would be saddled with security responsibilities. They should sack all of them. We need other military tacticians and strategists.

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