Dr Vincent Anyigor is the National Coordinator, Unit2Unit Initiative, a grassroots-oriented support group for Atiku Abubakar, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate in the 2019 Election. He spoke to CYRIACUS NNAJI on the vision of the organisation and why it is rooting for Atiku, among other issues. Excerpt:
What informed the formation of the Unit2Unit Initiative?
What informed our decision to form the platform was that 2015 elections were held in 119,972 poling units and out of those number, we discovered that in thousands of polling units, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) scored zero votes. Probing into that, we now discovered that it happened essentially because we did not have enough foot soldiers to protect our votes. So, what we decided was that we are going to come up with something that enables us not just to vote, but to also protect our votes. That was how Unit2Unit Initiative was formed.
Now, as I speak with you, in all the polling units across Nigeria, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, has said that there is another plan to increase the number of polling units from 119,972 to 180,000. But, the truth is that even if it is 180,000, we will have representatives in all the polling units.
Before now, we had a total of 4.3 million members, and what we encourage our people to do is when you want to nominate a representative at the poling unit level, you nominate a married person. That does not mean we are segregating against the singles. But, the essence is that chances are that 99.9% of them would be able to convince their spouses to vote where they vote.
So we are not looking at that 4.3 million votes multiply by two; that is about 8.6 million. And that is about 63% of the votes PDP scored in the last election.
So, Unit2Unit Initiative, before the recent partnership with former Lagos Atikulated Agenda, and that was also before the partnership with Market Traders Associations in Lagos, has the capacity to produce a minimum of 10 million votes for Atiku. Unit2Unit is not just the most robust group, but the most grassroots-oriented support group backing Atiku.
Would you say that Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice President, has the capacity to govern this country?
Atiku Abubakar has the capacity to govern this country, because over time he has proven himself. He is a businessman per excellence. He is a politician of repute. He has integrity, not the type of integrity we are seeing today. Moreover, he is a Nigerian and Nigerians need a Nigerian president. That is why we are supporting Atiku. Atiku has the capacity because he has shown capacity in his business community. And coming on board now, just like the last time we were inaugurating Unit2Unit Lagos chapter, somebody said, that the only reason he is supporting Atiku is because Atiku is a trader. I told him that Atiku has never been a trader. He said, ‘a Customs officer is a trader. And now, Peter Obi still has shops in some of the markets in Lagos, which means two traders are coming to rule Nigeria. Now, when they come, they will understand what it takes to clear containers at the ports.’ That was a personal experience. So, Atiku has the capacity because he has been tested and proven. Atiku is most qualified among the presidential candidates to rule Nigeria now.
Would you say Nigerians are willing to support Atiku Abubakar to victory come the 2019 presidential election?
Nigerians are willing to support Atiku Abubakar. Are you also aware that three weeks ago we launched what is called ‘5million people by N200 for Atiku’? Nigerians are saying, ‘We don’t want to be another praise singers. We want to be part of what is happening. We want to commit our resources.’ People are ready to contribute as much as N1,000 and N3,000. And we said no, it is not about money. It is also about the support base. That is why we brought it down to N200 x 5 million people.
How do you see the arrest of some politicians by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)?
The only strategy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is rigging. It will not work this time around. Nigerian people have rejected the current government. They have rejected President Muhammadu Buhari. The only thing they think they can do to whittle the power of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is to begin to go after their big shots. This is not going to work. Every single thing they have done, since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lifted the ban on campaigns has been in favour of PDP. If you arrest somebody, you are campaigning for PDP.
Talking about going after the PDP’s big shots, what is your take on the reported freezing of Peter Obi’s account by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)?
Now why would they wait until now before freezing the account of Peter Obi? What happened to Godswill Akpabio? Godswill Akpabio was one of the most sought after by the EFCC. But, the moment he crossed over to APC, he became a saint. What happened to Oshiomhole? Have they accounted for how their state treasuries were emptied? In one of my interviews, I told the world that Buhari cannot effectively fight corruption because he is the highest beneficiary of corruption as far as Nigeria is concerned.
I said before the last election, Buhari knew that he had 300 cows. How much is 300 cows? The people who funded his election, where did they get the money from? Of course, they stole it from their various state treasuries.
Do you think that the PDP can defeat APC in Lagos?
PDP is taking Lagos. Forget the APC propaganda. PDP narrowly missed Lagos in 2015. Let me tell you something. I have said it before that Lagos State has fallen. PDP is taking it this time, no matter how you look at it. When the chips are down, you will see that nobody from Epe division will vote for APC, because their son was badly humiliated. And the difference, the margin of defeat in the last election is so small that if Epe division decides to turn their back on APC, PDP will carry the day. Don’t also forget that in the last election, they promised the traders a lot of things, and they never kept any of them. It has proven that Tinubu does not like the Igbos in Lagos State and to that extent, the Igbos are coming together for the very first time to speak in one voice.
How do you see the claim by the APC that PDP has been experiencing paucity of funds to prosecute the 2019 elections?
Do you mean 14 state governors cannot fund their elections? And if they are funding their elections, are they not funding Atiku’s election? People say all manner of things. When they went to search Atiku’s plane, what were they looking for? They were looking for funds. And why were they looking for funds? Because, they think it is possible the man has money somewhere. But, the man has money somewhere because the man is rich, just like Peter Obi. When information came that EFCC froze Peter Obi’s account and they said they found N400 million, Peter Obi said it is not true. He said, ‘I doubt that information, because, if they actually went through my account and found anything less than one billion naira, that means someone stole from me’.