PRESIDENTIAL candidate of Fresh Democratic Party, Rev. Chris Okotie, has said that he is still in the race to Aso Rock. The flamboyant man of God, who spoke in an exclusive phone chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly, reassured us that he would officially kick off his campaign in the second week of February.
“Anybody that thinks I have withdrawn from the April 2011 election is a joker. I am surprised you are asking me this question, because I keep talking about my presidential ambition. And from Monday, February 7, you would hear our campaign jingles. So, I am very much in the race. I really thank you for your support and concern,” Okotie said on the night of Saturday, February 5, 2011.
On why he is yet to pick a running mate, the one-time pop music star said he is still negotiating and would make public his choice very soon.
“How can he abandon his presidential aspiration after his party had nominated him to fly its flag in the April 2011 polls? As I speak with you, Okotie is still canvassing for votes and he will certainly run in the April 2011 general election. So, anybody who is spreading the rumour that he has dumped his presidential dream is spreading false information,” a source close to the Fresh Democratic Party presidential candidate told ENCOMIUM Weekly.
Other authoritative sources also informed us that Okotie is indeed ready to vie for the highest office in the land irrespective of what anybody thinks about his chances at the polls.
“Rev. Chris Okotie is the man to beat in 2011. He is campaigning round the federation as you read this. Later this month, he will step up his campaign with volunteers as usual,” a Fresh Democratic Party supporter claimed.
Before now, not a few had said that Okotie may have withdrawn from the 2011 presidential race. Not even his meeting up with INEC January 31, 2011 deadline for the submission of candidates’ names would convince the world that he is still running for the presidency. To reinforce their doubts, Okotie was even said to have submitted only his name, without a running mate for the polls. And still creating room for suspicion, FDP may not even field candidates other than Okotie in the polls.
In the last democratic dispensation, FDP’s Lagos guber candidate made an impressive impact in the polity. Parading a cerebral female guber candidate, Mrs. Uche Ohimai, now in the US, Okotie’s party won a lot of followers on this side of the world. Okotie also mobilised support across the country, particularly in the South-South, to sell himself to Nigerians. But his third presidential ambition appears uninspiring and bereft of all the trappings associated with the flamboyant and articulate preacher of the gospel. Political observers even say he has not been talking much about his plans and strategies like the other frontline presidential candidates.
All of which fuelled speculations that he had bowed out of the April 2011 elections. But amazed by these insinuations, the shepherd of Household of God Church, ex-pop star and lawyer made it clear to us that he is still going to challenge President Goodluck Jonathan and the other leading presidential hopefuls.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, February 8, 2011