UDENTA BETRAYED SARAKI, SAYS HIS AIDE, AFOKE OKPORUA
The Personal Assistant to the Director-General of the Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki Campaign Organisation, Afoke Okporua says his boss, Udenta Udenta betrayed the Governor of Kwara State, one of those screened for the consensus ticket of the North. 'Immediately Ciroma started presenting himself as a desperate and selfish politician, masquerading as a democrat, I expected my boss, Dr. Udenta Udenta to critically appraise this determined, preposterous and odd decision to advise Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki appropriately and not to run after Atiku.
'That is why I told you earlier that there is this suppressed feeling in the camp and I expected my boss to state that and not to run after Atiku. The only man who has spoken the mind of all the other camps is Senator Kanti Bello. That is why in his response he said what he said,' he stated in an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun.
Afoke believes that the exercise was a sham and that it was deliberately meant to favour Atiku.
Ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar has finally emerged as the PDP consensus aspirant for the North. What is your reaction as a Saraki-for-president campaigner?
I state that I am totally disappointed and embarrassed because the parameters used in arriving at their conclusion are irrational, illogical and totally out of place. This is because what Ciroma and his group are after is their selfish interest and not the need for a holistic approach to produce the candidate who is passionate about turning Nigeria around for good as they earlier claimed.
Ciroma and his co-travellers have no justification to create track records that are by- products of selfish and self-aggrandizement to be the parameters to arrive at a consensus candidate. They have portrayed themselves as persons who are threat to democracy, enemies of good governance, myopic, and grossly irresponsible in their act in this mission. Saraki is the representative of Nigerians yearning for good governance even for generational shift. He also has track records with economic impact and viable mental capacity.
But then against all odds, we thought he was going to be the one, bearing in mind his track records in Kwara State. Immediately, Ciroma's group started presenting itself as a body desperately bent on imposing Atiku on the North while pretending to be democrats, I expected my boss, Dr. Udenta Udenta to critically appraise this determined, preposterous and odd decision to advise Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki appropriately and not to run after Atiku. The northerners voted Saraki. I thought Ciroma and his group would pick between Saraki and Gusau, people with little or no political stains. But they picked Atiku, thus fuelling the earlier fear that Atiku had bought over everything before the announcement. Above all odds, I still believe that the need to keep Nigeria moving is still on and that democracy will thrive.
Would that be the feeling of all members of the Saraki organisation?
That is my own feeling. That is why I told you earlier that there is this suppressed feeling in the camp and I expected my boss to state that and not to run after Atiku. The only man who has spoken the mind of all the other camps is Senator Kanti Bello. That is why in his response he said what he said.
Before now, was there any hope that Saraki would emerge the consensus aspirant?
Yes. I was very optimistic that he would emerge the consensus aspirant based on those three points I enumerated earlier.
There is jubilation in the President Goodluck Jonathan's camp that they will have a smooth ride to victory at the primary. Would they be right in their assessment?
Yes. That is what they mean by that jubilation because they were expecting a candidate that is sellable. They were expecting the candidate with the capacity and capability to rival the president because of so many fundamental variables. But maybe for their good and positive expectations, Atiku emerged. Perhaps they had information about him that would enable them to overrun him. So, to them, it simply means that at the end of the day, the Ciroma committee produced nothing but failure. To them again, the outcome is dead on arrival.
In the final race between the two aspirants; one with support from the North and the other, an incumbent president with support from the South, can the party survive this?
Well, I am not a PDP member. I am not a political activist and a consultant. But I happen to know that every Nigerian wants PDP out of power. So, if this is going to destroy the PDP, to God be the glory.
We now have a Christian and a Muslim contesting the primary in the PDP. What does this portend for Nigeria, the PDP and our democracy?
What it portends is that at the end of the day, the grace and mercy of God will prevail. I am not a religious bigot. I believe that today, whether we like it or not, I believe that Nigeria is the most religious society and was meant to live with that fundamental fact into our political life so that we will be able to have a peaceful nation.
There seems to be this suppressed anger, like you said in the camps of those defeated by Atiku in the race for a northern consensus aspirant. From your reading of the situation, can Atiku make it at the primary level?
At the end of the day, the possibility of Atiku making it is very slim. With that suppressed anger, I also know that there might be protest vote against Atiku to the benefit of President Goodluck Jonathan. That is how I see it. Atiku's victory at the end of the day is very slim, as I said earlier. But then you might have so many other issues that would be against him.