The new Director General of Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Akin Osuntokun, said he accepted the appointment without religious or ethnic sentiments.
He also dismissed speculations that he may have influenced or lobbied for his new job.
Osuntokun was responding to questions from The PUNCH on how he would face critics from the South West which is dominated by the All Progressives Congress and supporters of its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, for choosing to work with the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi.
He said, “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.”
Asked if he would be under any form of pressure after his appointment following the exit of Okupe, Osuntokun admitted that he would not be the only person undergoing such pressure.
Osuntokun said though his new role may come with additional responsibilities, he was equal to the task of taking pressure.
“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.
“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”, he said.
Speaking on how he intended to hit the ground running, the former managing director of News Agency of Nigeria said that he had a considerable wealth of experience in terms of participating in the presidential election in Nigeria.
“It is not new terrain. I led the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections as a political adviser,” he said.
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 ruling in Abuja that convicted him of violating the money laundering Act.
Two days ago, Obi’s Media Aide, Emeka Obasi, told our correspondent that the new DG to head the campaign council would be announced in 48 hours.
But rising from a strategic meeting of the party which has Obi, members of the National Working Committee and several political candidates of Labour Party in attendance, LP National Chairman, Julius Abure, told journalists that Osuntokun was the anointed one.
He described the former managing director of NAN 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.