Festus Keyamo, spokesman of the campaign organization for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, has said that two more Governors under the All Progressive Congress (APC), might leave the party in the coming days. In a statement on Sunday, Keyamo, however, insisted that the defections from the ruling party at the National assembly and Benue state, will not affect the chances of Buhari in next year’s general election.
Last week, 52 APC federal legislators moved to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the African Democratic Congress (ADC). Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue, also resigned his membership of the APC. Keyamo is confident this posed no threat to Buhari, even if Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto, and Abdulfatah Ahmed, Governor of Kwara pull out of the APC.
“The latest defections by some national assembly members and the governor of Benue state WILL NOT harm the re-election of President Buhari in 2019. This would even be so if the much-rumoured two more governors also defect from the APC,” he said. “The president won with large margins in the past in some states without the support of majority of the politicians from those states who moved recently to join the opposition party. Also, we are all witnessing the significant gains Mr President is making in several places where he lost in the past, notably in the south-south and south-east.
“From the demographics we have now, the historic figures and the present realities that we know, these defections will have little or no impact on the chances of Mr. President’s re-election. “The following 12 States, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe and Niger, with over 30 million registered voters, are States the President had consistently won with considerable large margins in past elections, especially in 2011 and 2015. This was achieved despite the fact that most of those States were being controlled by political parties other than his own.
“As we can see, any defection within these States would have little or no consequence on President Muhammadu Buhari’s chances as he had always won those States, irrespective of the Party in power in those States. For example in the much-touted Kano, in the 2011 Presidential election, President Buhari scored One Million, Six Hundred and Twenty Four Thousand, Five Hundred and Forty Three (1,624,543) votes as CPC candidate, while in 2015, he had 1,903,999 One Million, Nine Hundred and Three Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine (1,903,999) votes as APC candidate. The vote difference of about Two Hundred and Eighty Thousand (280,000) votes may be attributed to elements of ANPP, negligible ACN and Senator Kwakwanso, then Governor of the State that came into APC.”
Keyamo also analysed Buhari’s chances in the south-west, saying“The following nine States, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Kwara, Kogi, Adamawa and Benue, are states the president lost in 2011 but won in 2015.
“The five south-western states have registered voters strength of more than 14 million out of the about 20 million voters in these nine States. Today, those five states are being controlled by the APC. Ekiti will join before the 2019 election after Governor Kayode Fayemi is sworn in for a second term in office. All the political gladiators in those south-western states that helped to tilt the election in favour of the President in 2015 are still solidly with him and more have joined.
“The entire defunct ACN structures that moved into APC are solidly behind the President. In terms of defections in the western states, the Party has gained more than it has lost as the likes of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Senator (Mrs) Fatima Raji-Rasaki, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Senator Gbenga Kaka, former Governor Adebayo Akala, to mention a few, are now with APC. To underscore the rising profile of the Party in these States, the people of Ondo State and Ekiti State decided to entrust their States in the hands of the APC by voting out the previous PDP governments. Furthermore, these States are well represented in government with a sitting Vice President, important ministerial portfolios and prominent membership of the economic team. So, we can only expect MORE votes, not less, from the west.
“In the remaining four States of Ekiti, Plateau, Taraba and Nassarawa, where the President lost in the 2015 election with a margin of 260,000, all the States had sitting opposition Governors except Nassarawa. Ekiti and Plateau States will have sitting APC Governors in February 2019 to help sell his candidacy and we have also seen defection of some serving and past Senators from Ekiti State to the APC. With this we expect a reduction in the margin or an outright victory.
“Even if there are going to be defections from APC in these four States, we don’t see the margin of loss expanding beyond the 260,000 given that the States had majority opposition Governors at the point the President suffered these loses.”