The Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, Tuesday described the merger of opposition political parties on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a weak association that would crumble and disappear by 2014, a year to the general election.
Okupe, who paid a courtesy visit to THISDAY corporate office in Apapa, Lagos, dismissed the view that the merger would rout the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the next election, noting that the forces behind the merger are not serious-minded people capable of causing a major upset in national politics.
While hinging his prediction on the projection that the president's joker, which is stable electricity, would have been attained by 2014, Okupe noted that if stable power which is critical to the opposition would be punctured and rendered ineffective.
“Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Maj-Gen. Mohammadu Buhari are not serious-minded people; they are going round like people dancing in a market place. I expect that when you post an aggregate of people of that calibre, who want to run government, by now they must have a policy statement on power, agriculture and employment and not just talking about PDP leaving.
"Is it by mouth that they will run the nation? These are not serious-minded people. Can someone get your vote by using word of mouth that PDP should leave without a policy?
“Tinubu has ridden roughshod over the South-west. But Nigeria is bigger than that. This is their first time out in national politics; alright, and let me give you some bad news: the relevance that ACN has in Nigerian politics is that they are a Yoruba party. That is what makes them relevant in politics and by dropping that toga, the party is dead.
"They have just formed an abyss; a formless abyss that the Yoruba cannot key-into. The Yoruba have always been members of a regional organisation – Action Group (AG) , Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), etc. And in any case, what are the electoral credentials of ACN? How many states have they won that they are boasting?
“They won Lagos; they won Oyo and they are boasting. The others, they got through the courts, and the masquerade is now out. In terms of electoral victory, these people have nothing to show.
"We gave them Ogun State. It was a donation! Out of six states that they have, they got three through judicial judgments. They have not really tested their electoral prowess and they now want to jump to the national platform.
“This is a party that is consistently unable to produce a presidential candidate from within its rank and file, consistently. And even this forthcoming 2015 election, they are planning to recruit Tambuwal; they never have people in their party that can run for the presidency.
“What kind of political party is that and you are taking them seriously. It is a politically defective and weak organisation, and by coming to the national stage, the wind is going to blow them open. If they don’t crumble and disappear by 2014, don’t call me Okupe,” he said.
The presidential spokesman, who dissected the power reform programme, explained that the problem with the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) was the amount of money that was designated for the investment, adding that the money was not the type entrepreneurs in the country could aggregate.
“But when Jonathan came, five major problems bedevilled the power sector. One, there was low generation capacity. Two, was that the NIPPs, which required so much money, were abandoned. Three, even if they were working, they were located in places that were impossible for gas availability. Four, there was very poor transmission capacity and five, the indecisiveness involved in the privatisation exercise.
“In two years, Jonathan’s administration has solved four out of the five problems facing the power sector. Yes, we are not there yet but I can tell you the truth, because it will be difficult for ordinary people to know what is going on.
"The truth of the matter is that four of the challenges have been taken care of. The NIPPs – all of them are about 95 per cent complete and there is enough monitoring to ensure that this is done,” he said.
He pointed out the outstanding challenge was transmission capacity which is currently being addressed by the federal government.
Okupe, who also sought partnership with the media, admitted that the Jonathan administration needed help to survive.
“That is the truth. I am not hiding it. There is no government that has been more assaulted in this country. I have come to see if we can build a platform to help the country and this government.
"I am not saying that you should compromise your positions; I am just saying that you should give us the chance to clarify anything that you need to clarify.
“One of the reasons I am making this move is also to be able to go back to my principal and say these are the commitments that I have made and if we are going to succeed in this thing, I have to be allowed to fulfil these commitments,” he explained.