The disclosure by Doyin Okupe, a former aide to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, on Friday, that he has been selected as the running mate to Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) was greeted with mixed feelings by Obi’s supporters across social media.
Okupe, in an interview on Channels Television’s programme “Politics Today” on Friday, initially said he had selected to ‘stand in’ in the role of vice presidential running mate to Peter Obi.
The former presidential aide said his standing in as the vice-presidential candidate was to meet up with the June 17 deadline fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the submission of the candidate’s list.
When prompted to clarify, he said “as of today, I am the vice presidential running mate to Peter Obi.”
Across social media, the narrative that he was only selected in a ‘placeholder’ role to beat the deadline earlier given by INEC for the submission of each party’s vice-presidential candidate for Friday, has taken hold and seemed to provide some consolation to large swaths of Obi’s supporters.
Analysts say the best chance the Labour party has with Obi as its presidential candidate to dislodge the ruling the APC is to have a vice-presidential candidate from the northern part of the country.
Okupe, a medical doctor, hails from Ogun State, South-west Nigeria. He also served as spokesperson for former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
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However, Okupe in the interview said the Labour party was still in consultation with other parties including the PRP and SDP among others to present a formidable challenge against the dominant parties, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In the past, the choice of the Labour Party’s vice-presidential candidate rarely excites the country as attention is usually fixed on what the big parties, APC and PDP will do.
The widespread concern about the Labour party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates speaks to the tectonic shift happening in Nigeria’s political sphere where youth outrage seems to be spurring a massive movement to find alternatives to Nigeria’s current political class.