The new Director General of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Akin Osuntokun, said he accepted the appointment without religious or ethnic sentiments.

He also dismissed speculation that he may have influenced or lobbied for his new job.

Osuntokun was answering questions from the punch on how he would face criticism from the South West, dominated by the All Progressives Congress and supporters of his presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, for choosing to work with Labor Party presidential candidate Peter Obi.

He said: “We are moving Nigeria away from the culture of feelings. We are not going to help perpetuate those primal feelings. Being a Yoruba, Igbo or Fulani man should not be a determining factor in winning the election this time.

“Otherwise, we will take responsibility for all the things that have gone wrong in this country. The question should be about competence and background.”

Asked if he would be under any kind of pressure after his appointment following Okupe’s departure, Osuntokun admitted that he would not be the only person to experience such pressure.

Osuntokun said that while his new role may have added responsibilities, he was up to the task of taking the pressure.

“Of course, so will the other DGs from other campaigns. Anyone 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 as a shock to me. I didn’t push for it.

“As the zonal coordinator of the Southwest and in the hierarchy of the campaign organization, I am next to the DG of the Southwest. If we look at it from that perspective, I was not surprised. That is the simple explanation for it,” he said.

Speaking about how he intended to start working, the former managing director of the Nigerian News Agency said that he had considerable experience in terms of participating in the presidential election in Nigeria.

“It is not new terrain. I ran the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections as a political adviser,” he said.

Former aide to the president Olusegun Obasanjo was unveiled as Obi’s new campaign helmsman in Abuja on Tuesday.

He replaced the former CEO, Doyin Okupe, who announced his resignation in a letter last Tuesday following a ruling by the Federal High Court in Abuja that convicted him of violating the Money Laundering Act.

Two days ago, Obi’s media assistant, Emeka Obasi, told our correspondent that the new CEO to head the campaign council would be announced within 48 hours.

But after a party strategy meeting attended by Obi, members of the National Labor Committee and several Labor Party political candidates, LP national chairman Julius Abure told reporters that Osuntokun was the anointed one.

He described the former NAN managing director as a “dignified and trustworthy” replacement for Okupe.

Osuntokun became the party’s southwestern leader after defecting from the Peoples’ Democratic Party to the LP in August 2022.