Chief Tony Momoh, former minister of Information, has said he is confident that President Muhammadu Buhari would win the 2019 presidential election and defeat Atiku, simply because the latter is only popular among the Elites and not the masses.
Momoh told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone that the president had done his best as a leader to deserve re-election.
He said the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, could not stop Buhari as he (Abubakar) was only popular with the elite and not the masses.
Momoh, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said the Buhari administration has impacted on many ordinary Nigerians, and they would vote for him in 2019.
He, however, admitted that Buhari would lose some votes in the North because Atiku is from the region, but that the APC candidate would make up in other regions to be able to win.
“I don’t think Atiku can defeat Buhari. No, he can’t, Buhari has done well in the delivery of his electoral promises and he will get the support of the people.
“Look at the war against insurgency for instance, has he not done well? Is the situation in the North East as it used to be? Of course there is relative security in the region and the people will want to vote for an administration that made that possible.
“Again, the school feeding programme, the conditional cash transfers and the other social programmes of the government, tens of thousands of Nigerians have benefitted. You don’t expect them not to vote Buhari.
“These are the real people that will vote, not the people on Facebook or Twitter. The people who are moving against the president now are the elite, not the people, and the reasons are obvious.
“Yes, Atiku is popular with the elite, but how many are they? So I don’t see him winning, though, he will get votes in the North as he is from that region and he is a Fulani and a Muslim like Buhari.
“However, the president will make up for lost votes in other regions like South East and South-South where he has delivered many projects to win,’’ he said.
The former minister said the achievements of the president’s fight against corruption and the power of incumbency would work in Buhari’s favour in 2019.
Momoh said it was an illusion for the PDP to believe the selection of former governor, Peter Obi of Anambra State as Atiku’s running mate would deliver the region to the party.
He said the Igbo are politically sophisticated and it had never been easy predicting their direction in any election.
Momoh argued that Buhari picked running mates, late Chuba Okadigbo and late Ume Ezeoke on two occasions for elections, but still lost in the South East.
The former minister said the region was open to both candidates in 2019, based on large number of both the APC and PDP members in the area.
He urged Nigerians to participate in the electoral process and obtain their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, to vote leaders of their choice.
“The power to choose in 2019 belongs to the people. For that reason, I urge Nigerians to obtain their PVCs to participate in the process.
“It is only when we participate that we can vote people of our choice to help realise the development objectives of our nation,’’ Momoh said.