CHRIS OKOTIE

No small party can win presidential election – Okotie

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Restructuring advocate, Reverend Chris Okotie, has given reasons why smaller parties cannot win the presidential election in Nigeria.

In an interview with the BBC Pidgin, monitored in Lagos last weekend, the Reverend told the BBC anchor, Helen Oyibo, that unless Nigeria was restructured to make its political participation all-inclusive, fringe parties would not be able to win the all-important Presidential election, even if they had the best candidate.

He was reacting to a question on the chances of the Labour Party’s Peter Obi, who is viewed as the third force behind the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party.

Okotie said the fact that only the bigger parties had ruled the country since the return to democracy in 1999 showed clearly how powerful they were.

“Only the PDP and the APC have the national spread and network required to win the Presidency. No small party has such capacity.

“Until the political system is restructured to shift the emphasis away from parties to the people, the dominant parties would continue to hold sway,” Okotie said.

On why he set up FRESH after running for president on the Justice Party, and the NDP, Okotie said it was a deliberate effort to promote his agenda for a paradigm shift.

He said he knew he would never be able to defeat the two dominant parties in a presidential election.

He explained why he did not join either the APC or the PDP: “If I join any of these parties, I would become part of the problem. Most of the big men go to these parties because all they want is power for personal aggrandizement.”

Asked if he ever considered the option of relocating abroad because of the complex problems facing the nation, Okotie said he would not leave Nigeria.

“I don’t want anyone to take from me the land that God gave to me,” he said.

He said he would continue to promote restructuring and its interim government component, ruling out the option of giving up.

“I am already successful in my area of calling. I don’t need to run away. A time will come when people will depend on what I have said in this restructuring campaign,” Okotie explained.

He also expressed grief on the death of Queen Elizabeth II, saying his prayers were with the British people and others around the world at this moment.

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