Immediate-past National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has said that no group, including churches, could determine the voting behaviour of their entire membership.
He made this known in an interview published by Sunday Sun while reacting to the endorsement of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar by South East and South West elders ahead of the 2019 polls.
Oyegun said politics of endorsement by groups will have little impact on the outcome of the polls as it has little bearing on the voting public.
Speaking on endorsement of Atiku, the ex-APC boss said:
I don’t think it will affect the outcome of the election. There is one mistake many of our leaders continue to make and that is underestimating the voting public. They underestimate the farmers, market women, labourers, yet they know what is happening in the society and do not need to depend on anybody in particular except the died-in-the-wood party people like us. I can tell you that if any church today says that the entire congregation should vote for party X, they will accept and go home, but will still vote for whomsoever they have decided to vote for. That is the situation we are in in this country. That was why I emphasised issue-based politics. The average Nigerian is eking, he is not a fool not to know that no one person can solve all his problems. But he wants to be sure that you are going to make a good trial. He wants to have hope critical that whoever he wants to vote for is likely to start the process of improvement to his personal circumstances so that he will have hope for the future, if not for himself then for his children. That is the motivation of some people. We are going to see more adoptions and I expect to see some presidential candidates withdrawing and supporting one candidate or the other. The trading will soon start and we have more of such declarations. It is part of our politics and some of our leaders do it for their own personal reasons, but at great cost to themselves because they are underestimating the voting public.
Meanwhile, Oyegun has denied leaving the APC as is being rumoured.
I am APC and I don’t see myself somewhere else. I cannot just quite envisage it.