Nigeria’s main opposition parties have agreed to form an alliance to field a joint candidate to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s presidential election, they said in a memorandum on Monday.
Buhari’s ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) split last week when one faction declared it no longer supported his government, threatening the 75-year-old former military ruler’s hopes of securing a second term in the Feb. 2019 elections.
The splinter group, known as the Reformed-All Progressives Congress (R-APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and 37 other political parties are in the new alliance hoping to defeat the APC.
“The parties agreed to ensure the emergence of a joint presidential candidate,” said the memorandum, which was read out by Tom Ikimi of the PDP.
“The leadership of the parties are hereby committed to work together in a Coalition of United Political Party (CUPP),” it said, adding that the modalities of the new alliance still had to be agreed.
But details of the as reported in Vanguard showed that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on Monday with the objective of forming
a government of national unity in 2019.
The sole agenda according to the MOU, is to produce a joint Presidential candidate capable of winning the election and enthrone a new government at the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in 2019.
Former Acting National Secretary of the PDP, Senator Ben Obi in his opening remarks said the various parties chose to come together to salvage the nations and put to end all semblance of nepotism and tribalism. According to him, the President Buhari administration has left Nigerians more divided than they were in 2019. “We are here to begin a process that will lead to the formation of a government of national unity. We are here to put to an end the nepotism and corruption that the APC government has been known for in the past three years.
“They promised to tackle corruption, revamp the economy and address security challenges and restructure the nation but as soon as they were elected, they denied making such promises. ” We are here to put an end to to dictatorial tendencies and this is a war between light and darkness and I can assure you that light would prevail,” said Senator Obi. Also speaking, R-APC national chairman, Buba Galadima noted that the MOU will send shivers down the spine of the ruling party, adding that since he led a splinter group out of the ruling party, the R-APC has been receiving messages of solidarity from across the world.
Buhari will lose 2019 election-Galadima For Galadima, President Buhari is fated to lose the 2019 election, adding that if the President knew what awaited him, it would have been better for him not to go into electoral contest at all. “With what I know, I can tell you that President Buhari will not only this election, he will lose his deposits. Let us not forget that the man we will be facing is a military general. We are ready, prepared to take on this fight despite their intimidations and threats. “I know him but if I was his adviser, I will tell him not to contest,” Galadima said even as he reminded parties to the alliance that the APC has set aside huge sums of money to buy them over in the months leading to the general polls.
Representatives of the ADC and former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola on his part described the coalition as “an assignment from God,” even as he urged the parties to be committed to the letters and spirit of the MOU. He said: “We are committed to restructuring of this nation and we must respect the spirit and letters of this understanding. ” When Nigerians voted in 2015, they thought the APC vehicle will take them to the promised land. But three years after, the APC has failed and failed tragically too.”
Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Minister of Finance, Chief Olu False lamented what he termed the “gross incompetence” of the APC-led government and tasked all parties to the alliance to team up in supporting not only a sole Presidential aspirants but sole governorship candidates, Senatorial candidates as well as House of Representatives candidates across all states of the federation.
“All our votes must go to the Presidential candidate and to the governorship, senatorial and House of Representatives in every state of the federation. “It is not sufficient to produce the President alone because if we have a President who does not have majority of seats in parliament, there will be challenge as to what the President would be able to do,” he noted.
Parties that signed the MOU were the Action Alliance (AA), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Africa Democratic Party (ADC), Action Democratic Party (ADP), All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP), Action Peoples Party (APP), Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Better Nigeria Progressive Party, Democratic Alternative (DA), Democratic Peoples Party (DPC), Grand Democratic Party of Nigeria (GDPN), Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), KOWA Party, Labour Party (LP), Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA), Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN).
Others included the National Conscience Party (NCP), New Generation Party (NGP), National Unity Party (NUP), Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), Peoples Alliance for National Development and Liberty (PANDEL), Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Providence People’s Congress (PPC), Reformed All Progressive Congress (RAPC), Restoration Party of Nigeria (RPN), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), All Grassroots Alliance (AGA), National Interest Party (NIP), Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), and Young Democratic Party (YDP) among others.
One of the highlights of the wells attended event was the formal return to the PDP of its former Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje and the lawmaker representing Kogi East, Senator Dino Melaye. While thanking the PDP for accepting him back in its fold, Baraje said a prodigal son regardless of his sins, would always be received with joy upon repentance from his sins.
“We went astray but we are back now. If a child burns one of his fingers, he quickly retreat the others. I will like to thank you for accepting to take us back,” he said. Like Baraje, Melaye said he had the option to flow with the crowd but chose to return to PDP to remain politically consisted, saying come 2019, “President Buhari will fail because he is entitled to failure.
Dignitaries at the event included former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, ex-Senate President, David Mark, the governors of Gombe and Akwa Ibom States, Ibrahim Dankwambo and Udoh Emmanuel respectively. Others were Senator Liyel Imoke, Gbenga Daniel, Ibrahim Mantu, Tom Ikimi, Zainab Maina, Ike Ekweremadu and Chief Bode George.
The alliance could pose a major threat to Buhari’s re-election bid as the rifts within his APC threaten to split support for the president within Nigeria’s powerful patronage networks and among voters ahead of 2019 election.
Buhari announced in April that he would seek another term. His candidacy depends on party approval, though that is usually seen as a formality for the incumbent.
Political parties in Nigeria must select their candidates for the election between Aug. 18 and Oct. 7.
Nigeria is Africa’s top oil producer and richest economy. It plays a key role in the regional fight against Islamist militants.
Credit: Reuters/ Vanguard