The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN, Oby Ezekwesili, on Monday declared that the political influence of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu was being “overestimated.”
Mrs Ezekwesili, a former minister of Education, said Mr Tinubu’s political power was over hyped since he could not control Alimosho, the biggest Local Government Area in Lagos State, in the 2015 elections.
A statement Mrs Ezekwesili signed and made available to newsmen read: “The most recurring question that have come up since I decided to contest the position of the president of Nigeria has been the issue of structure.
“I hear it all the time everywhere I go, from family, from friends, on the Internet and offline, in hushed whispers and in the worried voices of people who express their fears to me personally.
“How is she going to win? Does her party have the reach or the structure to go all the way and carry the day eventually?
“But you see, these questions, while valid, all come from a place of trepidation. Trepidation at how truly powerful the office of a citizen is and the possibilities that can happen when this power is unleashed.
“The truth is that you, my fellow citizens, are all the structure that we need to make this happen and this isn’t some lofty ideal. It is very possible through difficult but practical steps.
“Let us look at the data. Data is something these old order politicians who want to rule forever haven’t bothered to engage with. Alimosho for example, is the largest local government in Lagos state with over 1.2million persons resident according to official census figures.
“In 2015, only about 650,000 of these people registered and obtained their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs). Faced with the rather unattractive choice of voting for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Goodluck Jonathan, or the anyone-but-Jonathan candidacy represented by Muhammadu Buhari, a great many voters chose to abstain.
“At the end of the day, the #APCPDP, the twin terrors of Nigeria, only managed to conjure up 140,000 votes between them in Almighty Alimosho. This says something loud and clear, that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu with all of his ‘might’ and experience in so-called grassroots politics could, at the end of the day, deliver only 86,897 votes for his candidate Buhari and their party.
“Where then does the source of this his widely reported power come from? Isn’t he grossly overestimated? Asiwaju Tinubu and his like in #APCPDP control only as much as we let them. And the situation is the same in every other part of the country- from Kano to Ilorin- where any godfather claims to hold sway.
“These men are only as powerful as we, the citizens let them be. They have been getting away with this for so long because we outsourced our responsibility as voters to people who do not necessarily represent our best interests.
“The biggest trick that these entrenched politicians have played on us is to convince us of their invincibility, and we permitted them. This stops NOW!
“The data shows otherwise. The 500,000 persons in Alimosho who were so unimpressed by the #APCPDP that they refused to come out to vote are the numbers who will probably decide the 2019 elections. They are the numbers my campaign is seeking to activate.
“Everyone has one vote only and we would work hard to earn the votes of these Nigerians who care enough about their country to be wary of giving their votes to a bunch of self-preserving and recycled polo-trickians who have had several years to deliver dividends to the people but failed woefully.
“The #APCPDP and the revolving door of politicians that they represent sell us lies of invincibility to convince us to remain bystanders in our most important civic duty. They want us to remain at home, disinterested and disillusioned while they pillage the country and loot our resources. No more.”