A former presidential candidate and publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu, has revealed how the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, plans to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 general election.
Last week, Mr. Saraki declared his intention to run for president of the country on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Months before his formal announcement, however, Mr Momodu had revealed that Mr Saraki told him he would run for president. Although Mr Saraki’s aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, denied it then, Mr Momodu insisted the senate president said so at a private meeting with him.
In his latest weekly column, Mr. Momodu said he again spoke with Mr. Saraki during the last Eld-el-Kabir Islamic festival in Ilorin, Kwara State.
He said: “Saraki’s roadmap to victory is simple. Buhari is going to play the usual ethnic card that only a candidate from North-west can win a presidential election in Nigeria”
“He concedes that it may be difficult for any candidate from North-west and North-east to compete or beat Buhari hands down, despite the fact that PDP parades more experienced politicians and competent aspirants. What is then needed is to keep North Central on lockdown with a popular candidate from that zone.
“He believes that it may be a waste of time and resources trying to compete in the president’s traditional enclave other than to strive to get up to 25 per cent. PDP should instead focus on mobilising the forces from the opposite direction and lockdown four out of the six geo-political zones.
“Saraki says if the PDP presents just anyone, there may be voter apathy and Buhari would coast home to victory. As to where his deputy will come from, it would have to be from the South-east/South-south axis, since he has already covered the South-west, technically.”
Mr. Momodu also wrote that: “Saraki says he is well-positioned to make this happen. With one leg in the North and another in the South, especially the South-west, the people would have a higher stake in the presidency and this will galvanise more passionate voters.”
According to the article, Mr. Saraki is looking forward to a serious debate between him, Mr Buhari and other candidates on every aspect of daily life in Nigeria.
“If Buhari likes, he can stay at home and do the debate by Skype or whatever, but moving forward, we must discuss Nigeria publicly…Anyone wanting to lead a country as important as Nigeria in this century must be someone who can ably represent us in the comity of nations and has a grasp of modern ways of life,” he quoted the senate president as saying.
Speaking of the corruption allegations against him and the reactions of young people to his person, Mr Saraki was quoted as saying: “That is my biggest task because they are my catchment group. I know many have been brainwashed and I don’t blame them.
“You know when you tell some lies repeatedly, it becomes the truth to some people. For example, they say I’m the most corrupt man on earth. I have looted Kwara State dry. All cheap but dangerous lies. What’s the worth of Kwara State that anyone would have billions to steal? I was born into business.”
Mr Saraki is one of the 14 PDP presidential aspirants. Others include former vice president Atiku Abubakar, Governors Aminu Tambuwal and Ibrahim Dankwambo, and ex-governors Rabiu Kwankwaso, Ahmed Makarfi and Jonah Jang.