2023: Obi, the paradigm we need to deal with in APC – Etta


Mr. Hillard Ntufam Etta, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and former National Vice Chairman (South/ South) of the party in a media chat in Abuja talks about recent happenings in his party and previews the chances of leading candidates in the 2023 election. He concludes that the APC should not take a political phenomenon, Mr. Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party for granted. TUNDE JOSHUA brings excerpts.

With the composition of a national campaign council, the APC no doubt is readily in high mood to traverse the length and breadth of the country to canvass for vote for your candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. What are the chances of APC winning the presidential election in 2023?.

It will be a disaster of monumental proportion if Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not be the next President. We don’t have any apprehension that we will not win. We are waiting for campaign to start in September and election in February and by the grace of God, we shall be witnesses to the swearing on of Asiwaju Bola Ahemd Tinubu as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

We know our work is cut out for us. We know it is not going to be a walk into the park. We know we gave new paradigm that we must deal with. We have new issues in Nigeria that we must deal with in order to see the emerging Nigeria, where citizens will have opportunities to call out leaders and question them and make them accountable.

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This is the Nigeria we have dreamt of and that Nigeria is berthing and we will all make sure the berthing of the new Nigeria becomes a reality. You are so convincingly of victory for your candidate, do you not see other candidates, Atiku Abubakar of PDP and Peter Obi of Labour Party as threat? Atiku is an old customer. We have dealt with him before and we are going to deal with him again. We know his tricks, he cannot come with new tricks. We are going to deal with him politically.

Obi on the other hand is the paradigm we need to deal with. APC as a party is happy to have Obi as a candidate. Obi is going to eat up the PDP votes in South South and South East, leaving APC and Labour Party to contend for votes in South South and South East.

Obi is popular in the metropolitan Abuja, metropolitan Lagos, but in the rural areas of Nigeria, people in Zungeru or in Zanko Kataf, ask them about Obi, most of them will mistaken him for a spare parts trader. The truth is Obi is a phenomenon in the South South, South East, metropolitan Abuja, Lagos on Facebook, Instagram and U-tube.

Your party has been receiving backlash on the choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as vice presidential candidate. What do you have to say on the Muslim – Muslim ticket?. I am a Pastor’s son. I had known that religion has no place in politics. Christians have superintendent over the country more than Muslims. From 1999 till date.

Presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan had 16 years and by the expiration of President Buharj, Muslims would have done 10 years. We have a problem of under-development, we have a problem of accessibility to opportunities that people take for granted in other climes. All these have nothing to do with the pulpit or the mosque. We need to find Nigerians who can do the job for us and we better concentrate on them (leaders) to provide those variables that will catapult Nigeria to greater heights. This must be the concern of every progressive.

If in 1993, Nigerians come together and voted for MuslimMuslim, 30 years after, some people are quarrelling with the same scenario. Are we progressing as a nation? What we are now celebrating is progressive. What we celebrated 30 years ago is what some people are fighting against now. I watched the television interview of Atiku Abubakar and I share the pains of the youths.

When I watched a leader speak to issue that are very important in such a carvalier manner, a manner that you question in his leadership qualities. The youths are angry and they have the right to be so. Unfortunately they have been looking for a hero and they have found that in Peter Obi. It is sad that Peter Obi is the antithesis of what the youth are looking for.

But the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) has drawn a sort of battle line with APC asking it’s members to reject same faith ticket. Are you not worried?. CAN is the religious wing of the PDP it has been so established. We have reason to say so, because the sitting Vice President, a Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and CAN did not support him in 2019, even when he was on the ballot in 2015, they did not support him.

Before the Muslim Muslim ticket issue, leaders in the Southern part agreed that the presidency should come to the region, whether APC or PDP. The PDP had their primary first and a Fulani Muslim became their candidate, why did CAN not speak against the ticket, but it has now found it’s voice the moment APC selected Senator Kashim Shetimma as the party’s Vice Presidential candidate.

Before Shettima, we had one Alhaji Masari on the ticket, CAN did not bother but now why the noise of Shettima? With Shetimma we have locked North East. We want to win the election and with Shettima we are winning.

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