By Dirisu Yakubu and Chris Ochayi
ABUJA – The Coalition of United Political parties, CUPP, the umbrella body of about 45 major opposition parties , few hours after a closed door deliberation at the Yar’ Adua Centre Abuja today announced former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential candidate of PDP as the consensus candidate of the opposition in the 2019 election.
Over 41 political parties in attendance, endorsed the decision which enjoyed majority support.
The Convener of CUPP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who made the disclosure while addressing a world press conference held at Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, said the former Vice President met the criteria used in the choice of a presidential candidate for the coalition.
Oyinlola said the CUPP; an umbrella body of 45 registered political parties in the alliance arrived at the decision based on the candidate’s (Atiku) experience in administration, management of economy and politics.
He declared, “After a painstaking assessment of what we have across the coalition parties and after processing the candidates’ suitability using these criteria, the steering committee hereby submits that a former Vice President and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is the best and his party the most virile of all the options before us.
Oyinola, who was assisted by National of Progressives Peoples Alliance, PPA, Chief Peter Ojonugwa Ameh during the briefing said, “We therefore chose ‘him as the CUPP candidate for the 2019 Presidential election.”
The former Governor of Osun state, who charged members of the coalition to hit the ground running, reminded them that their main challengers are already in war mood, they have launched what they called THE NEXT LEVEL.
“We must prove to them that we are the masters in this enterprise and tell them that the Nigerian people would not follow them (the APC) to THE NEXT EVIL scheme they have designed for our country.”
According to him, “I welcome all of you. to this very important General meeting of the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP. You will recall that at the inauguration of the steering committee of the CUPP, we were saddled with the responsibility to midwife and supervise the selection of a joint presidential candidate for the coalition.
“In furtherance of this objective, therefore, the steering committee invited all political parties in
the coalition to forward to us memoranda detailing their suggested ideas on how the
candidate of the coalition should emerge and the
criteria to use.
“The response was very impressive and rich. The steering committee, which as you all know has every coalition party represented in it, distilled the suggestions., the aggregate of which was used to arrive at the result we are about to submit today.
“However, before we go into the results, ladies and gentlemen, it is necessary to first enumerate the identified criteria we used in arriving at the choice of presidential candidate for this coalition. In other words, we graded the candidates of all the parties using these criteria;
“The national acceptability of candidate and party, strength of the structure of candidate and party across the country, competitiveness of the candidate’s party vis a vis our major challenger – the APC.
, “Financial strength of candidate and party, access to financial resources, capacity and readiness to prosecute the election across the about 120,000 polling units in the country.
“Competence, capability, and credibility of the candidate, acceptability of candidate locally and
internationally, candidate’s experience in administration, management of economy and politics.
“Ladies and gentlemen, after a painstaking assessment of what we have across the coalition parties and after processing the candidates’ suitability using these criteria, the steering committee hereby submits that a former Vice President and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), 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.
“There is, however, the imperative of taking the letter and spirit of our MOD down to the state level. A deep appraisal of the recent governorship election in Osun State will tell any discerning. mind that it would have been very difficult for the APC to do what it did if the opposition had presented a common front.
“Indeed, opposition votes combined in the Osun state election, where 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 realize the fact that it is better and wiser to win together than to lose together.
“We have come a long way in this journey. The campaigns have started. The gloves are off and we must hit the ground running. Our main challengers are already in war mood, they have launched what they called THE NEXT LEVEL.
“We must prove to them that we are the masters in this enterprise and tell them that the Nigerian people would not follow them (the APC) to THE NEXT EVIL scheme they have designed for our country. Millions of our suffering compatriots are looking up to us for deliverance and we must. not disappoint them.
“I thank you all for the confidence reposed in us. I thank the steering committee members for the great sacrifice they made in meeting every Wednesday since the inauguration weeks ago. It is all in the service of our country. My prayer is that Almighty God will crown our efforts with success. We shall be victorious; we shall not be put to shame. “