An All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain in Ekiti State and member of the seventh House of Representatives, Hon Bamidele Faparusi, has declared that the exit of former Vice President Abubakar Atiku from the APC though regrettable would have no deleterious impact on the chances of the party in 2019.
Faparusi stated that President Muhammadu Buhari , has mass appeal in the North and a lot of respect and goodwill in the southern parts of the country stressing that “the President will survive without the support of Alhaji Atiku to return to power in 2019.”
On the call by some governors, including Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, who doubles as the Chairman of the APC governors’ forum for right of first refusal for the president ahead of 2019, Faparusi said the proponents are only underestimating President Buhari’s electrifying acceptability across the country.
He insisted that the President enjoys immense popularity within and outside the APC pointing out that this is what he needs to win election, taking cognizance of his prudent lifestyle, anti-corruption posture and masses-oriented policies.
Faparusi said these in Ado Ekiti on Monday while reacting to the resignation of Atiku from APC, where the former number two man cited alleged lopsidedness to justify his action.
Atiku , had last week in a letter to the State Chairman of APC in Adamawa State resigned his membership but didn’t state the next political step he will take in spite of the fact that rumour has it that he was already negotiating with the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) on his presidential ambition .
Faparusi said Buhari and the APC remain solid and acceptable to Nigerians with or without Atiku, describing the noise over his defection as mere fantasy hinged on old glory.
He said: “President Buhari will win free and fair in an APC primary in 2019. That is the principal reason why some over- ambitious APC stalwarts may want to leave the party to pursue their ambitions, any other reason is a fallacy and cheap blackmail .
“Nigeria can’t criminalise defection. It is, however, a right which I believe should be exercised responsibly. We can only have one President at a time and there is no reason aside selfish motive to want to change a focused , sincere and performing President like President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I urge others still nursing the ambition of displacing President Buhari to do that responsibly by facing the President in a free and fair primary come 2019 instead of leaving the party or sowing divisive seeds”.
Faparusi said those calling for automatic ticket for President Buhari are only playing to the gallery.
“People calling for automatic ticket for the president are only playing to the gallery, as such idea will neither serve the overall interest of the party nor that of the president.
“To the best of my knowledge and understanding of politics , asking for automatic ticket for the president is tantamount to playing down his popularity.
“Going by records, President Buhari remains an enigma being the first Nigerian to defeat a powerful sitting president. That is why I support the call for a free, fair and transparent primary in the presidential poll the way I want it in Ekiti governorship”, he stated.
Faparusi added that a fair, free primary remains the only tonic the APC needs to win the 2018 governorship poll in Ekiti, saying imposition will wreck the party and render its candidate useless at the poll.