The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), yesterday, threw its weight behind the candidature of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as its 2019 presidential candidate.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the CUPP and former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, said various factors ranging from local and international, including administrative experience, were considered before adopting Atiku as its candidate.
Oyinlola further said the CUPP is currently made up of 46 political parties, with other applications being considered.
He dismissed the recent report by The Economist which touted President Muhammadu Buhari as the likely winner of the February, 2019, presidential election.
Oyinlola said the prediction by The Economist that the coalition will collapse, had no basis.
Recall that The Economist, in its latest edition, reportedly said opposition coalition in the country may collapse before the 2019 general election and give way for the re-emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari.
But Oyinlola however asked: “What is happening today, do you see any sign of collapsing? Tell me. Is there any sign of collapsing on the part of the coalition? Economist will be surprised.”
In his earlier remarks, Oyinlola said at the inauguration of the steering committee, it was saddled with the responsibility to midwife and supervise the selection of a joint presidential candidate for the coalition.
He added that in furtherance to the objective, the steering committee invited all political parties in the coalition to forward to the committee, memoranda detailing their suggested ideas on how the candidate of the coalition should emerge and the criteria to use.
Oyinlola also said the response was very impressive and rich, adding that the coalition distilled the suggestions, the aggregate of which was used to arrive at the choice of Atiku Abubakar.
Oyinlola said: “After a painstaking assessment of what we have across the coalition parties and after processing the candidates’ suitability using these criteria, the steering committee hereby submits that a former Vice President and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is the best and his party, the most virile of all the options before us.
“We therefore chose him as the CUPP candidate for the 2019 presidential election.”
Oyinlola further said a deep appraisal of the recent Osun state governorship election, would tell discerning mind that it would have been very difficult for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to do what it did if the opposition had presented a common front.
He said it was imperative for members of the CUPP to take the letter and spirit of its memorandum of understanding down to the state level.
The criteria employed by the CUPP in arriving at the choice of Atiku Abubakar inlude: national acceptability of candidate and party, strength of the structure of candidate and party across the country, competitiveness of the candidate’s party, vis a vis its major challenge, the APC.
Other criteria were the financial strength of candidate and party, access to financial resources, capacity and readiness to prosecute the election across the about 120,000 polling units in the country.
The CUPP also put into consideration, the competence, capability and credibility of Abubakar, his acceptability locally and internationally, including Abubakar’s experience in administration, management of economics and politics.