A few days ago, report emerged that the presidential candidates of the leading opposition parties in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Labour Party, LP, and the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP, are tinkering with forming a political alliance and possibly a merger to wrest power from the All Progressives Congress, APC.
According to the said report, the trio of Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso were meeting to discuss the possibility of a coalition to dislodge the APC in the 2027 election if, eventually, judgement on their petitions in court is given in favour of the ruling party.
The report claimed that the three leaders have chosen to wait and watch the outcome of the election petitions in court, which would determine their next move.
The report is coming less than six months after the February 25 presidential election in which President Bola Tinubu of the APC emerged as the eventual winner.
Atiku and Obi came second and third, respectively, as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The results of the final declaration by the INEC also put Kwankwaso of the NNPP in fourth place.
DAILY POST recalls that Atiku and Obi are currently in court challenging the results, with judgement already reserved by the tribunal after the parties concluded their arguments and submitted their final written addresses.
DAILY POST also reported that before the 2023 general election, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku, had, in an interview with the BBC, given a hint of a possible alliance with the presidential candidates of the Labour Party, Peter Obi and the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso but it never happened.
This was in addition to a failed talk over an alliance between Peter Obi (LP) and Rabiu Kwankwaso (NNPP), on the other hand.
Reacting to the report that he was in talks with Atiku and Kwankwaso for a possible merger to wrest power from the APC, Obi said his party was committed to building a better and a new Nigeria where they would move Nigeria from consumption to production.
The former Anambra State governor spoke on Monday at LP’s mega rally in Edo State ahead of the State’s local government elections, reassuring supporters of his commitment to the party.
He told hundreds of party supporters that some of the things they heard everywhere were rumours.
“Labour Party will continue to grow. We will continue to get stronger (and) better. Half of the things you are hearing everywhere are rumours, don’t listen to them.
“We are committed to building a better and a new Nigeria where we will move Nigeria from consumption to production,” Obi said to loud cheers from the crowd.
Yunusa Tanko, one of the spokespersons for the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council (LP-PCC), also while featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday, described the rumoured merger between the PDP, NNPP and the LP as unattainable.
Tanko added that discussions with political parties of like minds who believe in the party’s ideology and principles remain open, reiterating that there was no foreclosure on the matter, but that they have had discussions.
“When you talk about merger, it means that political parties from different parts of the country submit their document to INEC, and then they will be pronounced as a new political party, which isn’t obtainable at the moment.
“So, the merger is out of the question technically. But, when you talk about the discussion of the possible working alliance with the political party – very true, that is possible,” Tanko said.
He, however, acknowledged that talks about a possible merger were ongoing even before the election but could not happen.
When DAILY POST reached out to him through a phone call on Tuesday, Yunusa reiterated that an alliance is possible as he had earlier stated on national television.
On his part, a former National Chairman of the PDP, and ex-Governor of old Anambra State, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, told DAILY POST that the three parties (PDP, LP, NNPP) have realised they made a mistake.
Nwodo believes that if the parties had remained together, they would have been able to beat APC hands down in a landslide victory..
He said, “Well, I don’t think there is talk of a merger, but I think the three parties have realised they made a mistake. If they had remained together, they would have been able to beat APC hands down.
“It would have been a landslide victory for them. Therefore, it makes sense, if there is a rerun, for them to begin to think about how to cooperate. That is simple arithmetic.”
The Spokesperson for the Forum of State Chairmen of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, Dada Olayinka Olabode, also reacted to the report, dismissing it as a figment of the imagination of the discussants.
In a statement made available to DAILY POST on Tuesday, Olabode acknowledged that the party had been inundated with reports on merger talks amongst the PDP, LP and NNPP.
He, however, said that it would amount to a sell-out to think of a merger or alliance without proper consultation with the different organs of the party structure.
Olabode noted that NNPP is a growing political party whose prospects have brightened with mass acceptability amongst Nigerians.
The Forum of State Chairmen of the NNPP dissociated itself from what Olabode described as “the self-serving agenda of the arrowheads of such merger talks”.
He insisted that the party has procedures which must be followed in arriving at such decisions and considerations.
He said, “We have been inundated with recent reports in the media on merger talks amongst the PDP, LP and NNPP being orchestrated by former Presidential candidates of the three political parties.
“First, we would like to dispel such rumours as a figment of the imagination of the discussants.
“Our party, the New Nigeria People’s Party, is a national political party that contested elections at all levels in the just concluded 2023 general elections.
“The results, as announced by INEC despite obvious infractions, put our party at number four amongst the eighteen registered political parties that contested elections into the various offices on performance rating.
“Secondly, as a growing political party whose prospects brighten by the day with mass acceptability amongst Nigerians, it would amount to a sell-out to now think of a merger or alliance without proper consultation with the different organs of the party structure.
“Thirdly, only gangsters will collaborate against the wishes of their party members in mooting an idea of a merger even when election petitions at various tribunals are yet to be dispensed with. It is, at best, a gang-up against the ruling government and an attempt to undermine the fragile peace, unity and sovereignty of Nigeria.
“The Forum of State Chairmen of our party wishes to dissociate from the self-serving agenda of the arrowheads of such merger talks.
“For us in NNPP, there are procedures to be followed in arriving at any of such decisions and considerations.
“The involvement of Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso is nothing other than self pursuits laced with vengeful intent. We are not unaware of his desperate plans and will not allow any individual whose stake or claim to the Presidential seat has long been traded for ministerial consideration all for himself.
“As Chairmen in our various states, it is a well-known fact that our disagreement with Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso centred on his avowed pursuit of self-interest against the desire of the party members who are daily consolidating on a membership drive and repositioning the party to democratically form a government through People’s mandate in subsequent elections.
“May it be known to the proponents of the afterthought merger or alliance that nobody in NNPP has the exclusive right to negotiate on behalf of the party without the consent and permission of the founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chief Boniface Okechukwu Aniebonam.
“Any discussion, therefore, suggesting the contrary is an attempt to pull the wool over People’s eyes. This forum will resist such.
“Finally, we wish to remind the self-acclaimed leader of NNPP to tread with caution and warn the general public to be wary of nomadic politicians whose sole interest is to engineer a crisis in the political space of our nation.
“Our focus at the moment as a party is to rebuild and weed out political traders from our great party. This we are committed to doing without any compromise.”
Meanwhile, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has advised Peter Obi to join forces with President Bola Tinubu rather than his counterparts from the Peoples Democratic Party and the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Atiku Abubakar and Rabiu Kwankwaso, respectively.
In a statement issued on Monday, the factional Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said the alleged alliance would die on arrival because Nigerians would reject Kwankwaso or Atiku.
Isiguzoro noted that “Nigerians know that the uncharitable disposition and desperation of Atiku Abubakar of the PDP will never allow him to support Peter Obi to be the leader of the Nigerian opposition.”
He declared that “the ill-fated journey of Atiku, Obi, and Kwankwaso will crumble in the future”.
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