- Festus Keyamo, spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari 2019 presidential campaign, says defection of lawmakers won't affect the president's second term bid
- He says instead of the defection to affect the president's re-election bid, he will coast home to victory in 2019
- He says President Buhari is going into this election as an incumbent enjoying the support of a lot more politicians than he ever did
The spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari 2019 presidential campaign, Festus Keyamo (SAN), has said the defection by All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will not affect the president's re-election bid.
Keyamo said this in a statement he sent to NAIJ.com on Sunday, July 29, in which 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 are now members of the opposition party.
The spokesman said: "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 southeast.
"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."
Keyamo said that Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe and Niger, with over 30 million registered voters, are states that Buhari had consistently won with considerable large margins in past elections, especially in 2011 and 2015.
He said: "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."
Speaking on the the effect of defections on the five southwestern states the president lost in 2011 but won in 2015, Keyamo said: "The five southwestern states have registered voters strength of more than 14 million. 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."
According to Keyamo, the president lost 15 states (comprising 11 states of the southeast and south-south and Plateau, Taraba, Nassarawa and Ekiti states) in the 2015 elections, despite his overall victory.
He said: "Apart from having governors in Edo and Imo states, the exemplary work of the president in the southeast and south-south, especially in terms of infrastructural developments, like the Second Niger bridge and a whole lot of road constructions, APC is on the rise in these states and this momentum will surely rub off on the electoral fortunes of the president.
"This can be seen in the high level defections to the APC in the last three years in these states and more are coming. The recent election in Anambra is also a testimony to the rising profile of the party in the east. In 2015 the president scored 17,926 votes in Anambra.
"The most recent governorship election saw APC come second with over 98,000 votes, defeating PDP in the process. This is a pattern we expect in the 2019 elections throughout the southeast and south-south as, compared to the last elections. The President can only amass more votes from these regions and not less than 2015.
According to the spokesman, while the PDP harvest of defections is gradually winding down, the harvest of the APC is about to begin in respect of the following: "(a) Disgruntled members from the opposition whose structures are bound to be marginalised as a fall out of the absorption and recognition of the structures of the incoming defectors by the national bodies of the various parties.
"(b) Dissatisfied members whose aspirations are thwarted because of automatic tickets given to the defectors. They are talking to us already. (c) Disgruntled elements from the fallout of the primaries of the parties, especially the main opposition party.
He added: "It is noteworthy that President Muhammadu Buhari is going into this election as an incumbent enjoying the support of a lot more governors, senators, House of Representatives members, House of Assembly members and local government chairmen than he ever had.
"Equally the odds are no more stacked up against the President as he will see to a truly free and fair election as witnessed in elections conducted in the last three years. We expect the soaring popularity of the president to be reflected in the 2019 elections."
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that the spokesman for President Buhari 2019 presidential campaign, Festus Keyamo, expressed dismay that instead of sticking to their original role of bridge-builders in society, some leaders of religious and tribal groups had strayed far into politics.
Keyamo was speaking against the backdrop of some inflammatory statements being made across the country by some ethnic leaders who claim to be speaking on behalf of Nigerians.
President Buhari on 2019 Presidential Election: Will You Vote For Him? | on NAIJ.com TV