PCP's Nicolas Felix, who finished 3rd in presidential election, says God has chosen him

Dr Nicolas Felix of the Peoples Coalition Party (PCP) surprisingly finished third in the 2019 presidential election

In an election contested by 73 candidates, many of the candidates that didn't belong to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) or main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had campaigned majorly as alternative candidates popularly called the Third Force.

Even though he finished a distant third behind APC's President Muhammadu Buhari and PDP's Atiku Abubakar, many were still shocked by the huge amount of votes polled by Dr Felix especially since his name didn't regularly come up in Third Force conversations before the election.

His total of 110,196 votes is more than the combined 72,618 votes polled by more well-known Third Force candidates - Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (33,953), Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (21,886) and Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (16,779).

Dr Felix's shocking vote tally has been theorised in some quarters to have been accidental votes cast by voters who couldn't tell the difference between his Peoples Coalition Party (PCP) and the main opposition party, PDP, with both parties placed next to each other on the ballot with very similar colours.

In this interview conducted on Saturday, March 2, 2019, Dr Felix, the founding Pastor of Miracle Centre International, in the United States, told Pulse Nigeria that his 'victory' was as a result of hard work put into his campaign.

The 37-year-old New York-based businessman also revealed that his encouraging performance has proven that he's the true leader of the Third Force, and will be back to run again in 2023 because he's been chosen by God to lead the country.

Pulse Nigeria: How does it feel to finish in third position in the recently-concluded presidential election, especially since you already dropped out of the race?

Dr Nicolas Felix: It feels great to be the third place winner and I'm very grateful to Nigerians for voting for me.

I didn't drop out of the race. Few days before the election, we decided to endorse Atiku because we saw we may not be able to win the election and decided to endorse someone who gave us ear to hear what we have to offer and was willing to do some of the things we asked for, especially getting the youths to work.

Pulse: Many would say that you were relatively unknown until after the collation of results. What would you say contributed to getting that unexpected number of votes?

Dr Felix: That's not true to say I was unknown. I held town hall meetings in several states. I held campaign rallies in few states; gave out free kerosene in two states; and I was on AIT, ITV and TVC several times.

For one year, I visited towns, market places, churches, schools and much more. Basically we did the grassroots work and not only on TV and social media.

Pulse: You were first running for the presidency on the platform of the All Blending Party (ABP) before jumping to the Peoples Coalition Party (PCP); what influenced that choice?

Dr Felix: I didn't jump to PCP, I was scammed by ABP. Two days to the primaries, they changed the venue and never notified us and immediately the chairman of the party, Moses Shipi, decided he wants to run for president and he was given the ticket. We had no choice than to look for another party in less than 24 hours before October 7th which was the deadline.

Pulse: At 37, you were one of the young aspirants who participated in the Presidential Aspirants Coming Together (PACT) coalition before you pulled out at the last minute. What happened there?

Dr Felix: I never fully participated in PACT. I only attended the last meeting and I felt I wasn't really involved in the process. As a result, I decided to pull out.

Pulse: Despite running with a promise to create a new direction for Nigeria, you dropped out of the race just days to the initially scheduled date of February 16 to endorse Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a 72-year-old member of Nigeria's old political class. What led you to that decision? Was it really your decision? Especially since your party signed up with the PDP-led Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) just weeks before you bowed out.

Dr Felix: My party signed up with CUPP, that was the beginning. Even though I was against it, I released a press statement when it happened.

After meeting with Atiku and we spoke for close to an hour, I decided to endorse him because I saw in him the ability to create jobs as a businessman to get Nigerians working again.

Please note I was never paid, I didn't collect any money from Atiku or PDP. Contrary to what people think, I am saying it categorically without mincing words, I wasn't paid to endorse him. I did what I thought was right.

Pulse: Many people have claimed that your impressive vote tally is accidental because your party's acronym, PCP, and its colours are very identical to that of the PDP, and this resulted in a lot of voters mistaking you for the main opposition party. Do you believe this to be true?

Dr Felix: That's not true. My supporters voted for me. We have very active state coordinators in the entire 36 states including FCT. PDP logo and PCP logo are not identical. You can google the logo of PCP and see for yourself.

Some young presidential candidate who can't handle the fact that we came third has decided to create another party logo to discredit our victory. Please note INEC will never allow two political parties to have identical logos, so that is false.

This is not just my victory, this is the victory of Nigerians and it will be a bigger victory in 2023 when I will be elected Nigeria's youngest democratic president.

Pulse: Despite your insistence about the party colours, there are pictures of the ballot paper which clearly shows that the colours of the PDP and yours were identical even though yours were supposed to be different. Do you think maybe you did get accidental votes due to it, no matter how little?

Dr Felix: I repeat we didn't get any accidental votes. Someone must be first. Someone must be second. Someone must be third and we happen to be the one. If you weren't expecting us to be the one, well that's the way life is. Millions of Nigerians were also not expecting Buhari to be re-elected. The shape of the logos are not the same. Everyone knows PDP is umbrella.

Pulse: So, what do you think made you stand out to voters from the rest of the Third Force, especially over more well-known candidates like Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC), Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) and Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN)?

Dr Felix: I did grassroots campaign. I went to meet the people who truly vote. I sold our vision to our state coordinators who ran with the vision and together we produced results.

Pulse: Would you consider a partnership with these other well-known candidates going into the 2023 campaign?

Dr Felix: It's obvious I'm the Third Force and I will be president come 2023; and yes, of course, I will love to have them on board so we can all do this together.

I will love to have them in my cabinet when I become President because I believe each of them have great ideas.

Pulse: What do you think about the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections?

Dr Felix: Absolutely not free and fair. There are so many irregularities. INEC needs to be more independent.

Pulse: Do you think Atiku Abubakar should pursue his decision to contest the result of the election in court?

Dr Felix: I think that's his call to make. That's the beauty of democracy.

Pulse: With the unexpected boost in your profile, will you be back to contest again in 2023?

Dr Felix: Oh yes! I am surely coming to run for the office of the President in 2023 and we have kick-started plans already and few days from now I will officially make my declaration. Without any doubt, we are going to win the election.

Pulse: Will you be staying with the PCP for your 2023 campaign or will you be seeking a bigger, more established platform?

Dr Felix: I will be staying with them, unless PDP wants to welcome young candidates and if we stand a chance, we can consider it.

Pulse: What are your plans for Nigerians?

Dr Felix: To improve security in Nigeria. The primary responsibility of any government is to protect the lives and property of her citizens and our government has failed on that.

I also plan to improve power generation from alternative sources, provide access to good healthcare, improve quality education, develop and invest in infrastructure, improve socio-economic problems, and eradicate corrupt practices.

Pulse: Do you have any final words for Nigerians?

Dr Felix: People are forgetting that Nigeria is God's own country and he will choose who he wants to lead the country, and it's obvious he has chosen me.

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