The Convener of YesWeFit Revolutionary Movement and erstwhile Presidential Aspirant of the Alliance for New Nigeria, Dr Thomas-Wilson Ikubese has formerly presented his manifesto to Mr Fela Durotoye in a meeting of the Presidential Aspirants Coming Together (PACT), held in Lagos over the weekend.
Mr Fela Durotoye emerged as the Consensus Presidential Candidate of PACT on 30th August 2018 , following a free and fair in-house election supervised by the former Minister of Education and Convener of Red Card Movement, Dr Mrs Oby Ezekwesili.
According to Ikubese, the election was in two stages. The first stage required that each presidential aspirant votes for any other Presidential aspirant who he/she believes has what it takes to bring about a New Nigeria. At the end of that stage, Fela Durotoye, Kingsley Moghalu and Mathias Baba Tsado scored 2 votes, while some scored one vote and others scored no vote.
The trio with two votes then proceeded to the next stage at the end of which Fela Durotoye scored 4 votes, Kingsley Moghalu, 3 votes and Mathias Baba Tsado, no vote. Durotoye therefore emerged as the Consensus Candidate of PACT.
Following the emergence of Mr Durotoye, some Presidential Aspirants in PACT who had consented to the process by duly appending their signatures to the memorandum of understanding which prescribes that they shall all terminate their presidential aspirations and support the emergent Consensus Candidate, went back on their words and continued to pursue their presidential aspirations.
Dr Ikubese however is one of the few remaining members of PACT who respected the terms of the MOU, by dropping his presidential aspiration and supporting the emergent Consensus Candidate, Fela Durotoye for the 2019 Presidential election.
According to Ikubese, “I have only one ambition, that is to see Nigeria work”. He said he’s not desperate to occupy office, but to contribute his quota to making Nigeria functional, collaborating with like minds where necessary.
“When on 24th July 2017 I declared to run for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it was because the incumbent administration and their predecessor failed to implement the content of the book I sent to them, tittled MY PRESCRIPTION FOR NIGERIA, which contains about 25 recommendations of the things we must do to make Nigeria work. If the government had implemented the recommendations in that book, I have no business running for office. My greatest fulfilment comes from attending to my patients in the hospital.
“I decided to run for the office of the President so that I could implement those recommendations myself. The content of that book was latter developed into my political manifesto upon my declaration to run”
Ikubese who was the first young Nigerian to declare to run for the office of the President said, “it is that same book/manifesto that I’ve handed over to Mr Fela Durotoye so that he can implement the recommendations therein when he becomes President in 2019, for the good of our nation”
When asked why PACT decided to elect its Consensus Presidential Candidate ahead of party primaries, Ikubese stated that the matter was elaborately debated amongst PACT members and the majority agreed that the Consensus Presidential Candidate should emerge ahead of party primaries, following a majority vote.
According to Ikubese, “part of our consideration for agreeing to elect the Consensus Candidate before party primaries is to reduce the bottlenecks that will surface if the Consensus Candidate is to emerge after party primaries”.
He said, “once a candidate emerges from the primaries of his political party, he is no longer at liberty to take such a crucial decision of stepping down for the candidate of another political party without the involvement of his political party, which will require that the Party convenes National Executive Council meetings, National Working Committee meetings or even Board Of Trustees meetings, all of which could be quite cumbersome”.
He then asked what will happen if the party places unrealistic demands on PACT or decides against consensus and opts to be on the ballot at all cost, since the hierarchy of the Party are not statutory members of PACT.
On the allegation from certain quarters that members of PACT who voted for Consensus before Party primaries are those who are not sure of winning the primaries of their party tickets, Ikubese describes such an allegation as mischievous.
According to him, “the cheapest commodity that anybody can pick on the streets right now is the Presidential ticket of a political party”. He explained that there are 91 political parties in Nigeria and the entire membership of PACT is less than 20.
Ikubese explained that many of these political parties have approached members of PACT individually at different times, offering to give them automatic tickets, just so that their names can feature in the 2019 Presidential election as having presented presidential candidates for the general election.
“So if it is about picking up presidential tickets, every member of PACT can go pick up one with ease and return to the table for further negotiations”!
On the allegation that PACT picked its Consensus Candidate too early, he said “since we have decided that we shall present our Consensus Candidate ahead of party primaries, 30th August which we chose was an ideal date, since some parties which our members belong to were conducting their primaries the following week”.
Ikubese lamented that some members of PACT reneged on clause 10 of the memorandum of understanding that they jointly signed, which states that the Presidential Aspirants shall not further contest against the Consensus Candidate.
When asked about clause 13 which one of the members of PACT, Prof Kingsley Moghalu, said allows aspirants to continue to pursue their presidential aspirations in spite of the emergence of the Consensus Candidate, Ikubese explained that clause 13 only states that nothing in the MOU shall infringe on the constitutional rights of members.
“It didn’t say that members can continue to pursue their presidential aspirations if they did not emerge as the Consensus Candidate”, he said.
According to Ikubese, if every member of PACT pursues his presidential aspiration in spite of the emergence of the Consensus Candidate, what then is the essence of PACT in the first place?
He however expressed optimism that the new breed presidential aspirants shall yet come together before the 2019 Presidential election to synergise their positions and work together to wrestle power from the Old Brigades.
Ikubese appealed to youths who are fighting each other over their preferred new breed presidential aspirants to desist and reserve those energy for fighting the recycled politicians whom he described as “our common enemies”.