By Friday Olokor and Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis
The new Director General of Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Akin Osuntokun, has dismissed speculations that he may have influenced his new appointment.
The former aide to President Olusegun Obasanjo was unveiled as the new helmsman of Obi’s campaign in Abuja on Tuesday.
He replaced the former DG, Doyin Okupe, who announced his resignation in a letter last Tuesday following a Federal High Court judgment in Abuja that convicted him of violating the Money Laundering Act.
In an exclusive interview with The PUNCH, Osuntokun admitted that though his new role may come with additional pressure, he is equal to the task.
He said, “Naturally, I feel good about it. I look forward to the new role. It didn’t come to me as a shock. I didn’t lobby for it.
“As the zonal coordinator of the South West and in the hierarchy of the campaign organisation, I am next to the DG of the South West. If we look at it from that perspective, it didn’t come to me as a surprise. That is the simple explanation for that.”
On how he intends to hit the ground running, the former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria disclosed that he has a considerable wealth of experience in terms of participating in the presidential election in Nigeria.
“It is not a new terrain. I led the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections as a political adviser,” he said.
Asked if he would be under any form of pressure after his appointment following the exit of Okupe, Osuntokun said, “Of course, so will be the other DGs of other campaigns. Anybody in the campaign hierarchy will necessarily be under pressure until after the election. It is not an armchair position.
“We are taking Nigeria away from the culture of sentiments. We are not going to help in perpetuating those primordial sentiments. Being a Yoruba man, Igbo or Fulani should not be a determinant to winning the election this time.
“Otherwise we will be holding ourselves responsible for all things that have gone wrong in this country. The question should be about competence and antecedents.”
Rising from a strategic meeting of the party which has Obi, members of the National Working Committee and other candidates of the party in attendance, on Tuesday, LP’s National Chairman, Julius Abure, announced Osuntokun’s appointment.
Abure described him as a “worthy and trustworthy” replacement for Okupe.
Osuntokun became the South West leader of the party after he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the LP in August 2022.
Source: The Punch