By Ikeugonna Eleke
The immediate past national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Ifeatu Obi-Okoye, has said the killings in the middle belt will be an election issue in the 2019 presidential poll.
Obi-Okoye who spoke with Fides in Awka, said the current happenings in the zone were critical and too serious to be ignored by any political party in the race.
He said that was why APGA decided to pick its presidential candidate, retired Major General John Gbor from the area.
He said, ‘We chose our presidential candidate from the Middle Belt for very strategic reasons.
‘There is something going on in the Middle Belt states today, namely Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba. In those states, we have very strong governorship candidates who are all Christians.
‘Today in the Middle Belt, it is no longer about party politics; it is about survival of the Middle Belt people who are threatened by the Fulani herdsmen.
‘The ordinary Middle Belt man believes that if they do not fight back, they will be wiped out.
‘So we have fielded our presidential candidate from there, believing that we will be able to gather strong support in the Middle Belt because that geopolitical zone will determine the next president of Nigeria.’
The ex-APGA publicist predicted that the 2019 presidential election would not be won on the first ballot, adding that in the circumstance, his party would be the determining force.
He posited, ‘In the event that we (APGA) cannot win the presidential election, I can tell you that when we win the Middle Belt, none of the two major parties for the election will win in the first ballot.
‘I make this permutation, not out of euphoria. The defunct NPP played same role when it controlled the area of the old Plateau and Gongola areas and NPN could not win the presidential election in the first ballot; neither could UPN, so it required the alliance of the NPN and NPP to form a federal government at the centre
‘What it means is that APGA will be the party to determine who wins the presidential election between APC and PDP in 2019,’ Obi-Okoye insisted.