Olusola Fabiyi and Adelani Adepegba
The Coalition of United Political Parties has said it had selected the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as its candidate in the 2019 presidential election.
By this decision, the CUPP which consists of over 46 parties, said the other presidential candidates of the member parties had ceased to be the standard bearers of their parties.
Chairman of the CUPP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
Justifying the selection of former vice-president Atiku by the coalition, the ex-Osun State Governor argued that the PDP presidential candidate had met the criteria laid down by the CUPP.
These, he said included national acceptability of a candidate and his party, the strength of the structure of candidate and party in the country and competitiveness of the candidate’s party against the All Progressives Congress candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, other criteria include the financial strength of candidate and party, access to financial resources, capacity and readiness for the election in the about 120,000 polling units in the country, the capability and credibility of the candidate, as well as his acceptability locally and internationally.
Oyinlola, who was flanked by other members of the coalition during the conference said, “After a painstaking assessment of what we have in the coalition parties and after processing the candidates’ suitability using these criteria, the steering committee hereby submits that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is the best and his party the most virile of all the options before us.
“We therefore chose him as the CUPP candidate for the 2019 presidential election.”
He said the APC would not have won the Osun State governorship election in September if the opposition parties had presented a common front.
Oyinlola said, “Indeed, opposition votes combined in the election were about 500,000, almost doubling those of the ruling APC, which scored 255,505 votes.
“So, our suggestion is that whatever we are doing with the presidential ticket should be done in all states for all positions for the good of our people.
“The modalities can be worked out based on the peculiarities and political realities of each state. We must all realise the fact that it is better and wiser to win together than to lose together.”
Asked if the adoption of Atiku was informed by his alleged funding of the coalition, the retired military officer stated that he would only answer the question if given proof that the PDP candidate was funding the coalition.
On the projection by The Economist that the coalition against Buhari would collapse before 2019, Oyinlola said, “Did you see any sign of collapse in the coalition? The Economist will be surprised.”
The National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that “we are happy that the committee picked our candidate for the race.”
He added, “We will rally round him and work together with the sole aim of rescuing the country from the hands of the hawks masquerading as democrats. I wish to also appeal to the other candidates that they should come together with us in order to move as a team for the interest of all.”