Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo
There is reportedly a move by some major opposition parties to forge an alliance with a common goal – to oust President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
The parties are said to be planning to hold joint and separate talks in the coming days.
According to a report by Punch, the parties include the Peoples Democratic Party, the Olusegun Obasanjo-backed African Democratic Congress, and the Chief Olu Falae-led Social Democratic Party.
The report said there is already an ongoing alliance talks between the Nigerian Intervention Movement (NIM), co-chaired by Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) and Dr. Abdujalil Tafawa-Balewa, with the Coalition for New Nigeria, a coalition of 35 political parties.
NIM confirmed in a statement that it holding separate and joint meetings with the Labour Party, United Progressive Party, Action Democratic Party, Action Alliance and several others.
“The NIM Coalition team has just ended a marathon coalition talks separately and jointly in Abuja at various locations with the Labour Party, United Progressive Party, Alliance for New Nigeria, Action Democratic Party, and Action Alliance in a process of setting up a national grand electoral alliance for 2019”, the statement said.
“All the parties have, by and large, agreed to the NIM’s terms and therefore asked to go and reaffirm the endorsement of their leadership organs and structures to avoid future problems.
“The MOU with the prospective coalition party and other parties in the electoral alliance will be signed next week after due consultations with their various leadership organs and the steering committee meeting of NIM must have given its nod and endorsement.”
The report said the SDP is also expected to meet with the NIM leadership next week as well.
On May 10, 2018, the Obasanjo-led Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) fused into ADC.
Announcing the move last Thursday, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, co-convener of the movement and a former governor of Osun state, said there is still chance for the ADC to forge an alliance with other interested parties to wrestle power from the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
Punch quoted a source in Obasanjo’s camp to have said that CNM and ADC alliance triggered the ongoing alliance talks by other groups.
The source said, “We have just nine months to the elections and the other groups, especially the NIM, were being slow about it. So, Obasanjo felt time was running out. With what he has done, others have woken up and the alliance talks are beginning to move quicker.
“In the coming days, you will see defections and re-alignments as the main opposition begins to take shape.”
On why the parties are not merging like the APC did in 2013, the source said with the little time left to the 2019 elections, only alliances are feasible if they would succeed in outing Buhari.
The source added, “The Electoral Act states that no new political party will be registered six months to the general elections. That means August is the deadline. With the way politics is today, coupled with the fact that INEC serves an APC-led government, we may not be able to meet up.
“Also, the time is too short for all the political parties to agree. Who will step down for who? How will we conduct congresses in time? So, the alliance is the best bet.”
The source also said that the PDP is considering to change its name as talks are ongoing.
PDP confirms alliance talks
The PDP was said to have confirmed that it is holding meetings with other political parties as the primary objective is to get Buhari, who many believe is incompetent, out office.
“The committee, which is headed by Senator Imoke, is already discussing with all opposition political parties”, the PDP National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, was quoted as saying.
“The task of removing the incompetent Buhari Presidency is not our plan aloe; it is that of the entire oppressed Nigerians, even within the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress.
“We will meet with all the political parties that are genuinely committed to true change in the country.
“We expect our committee to brief us soon on its findings and discussions with both the opposition parties and individuals.”
The APC is yet to comment on the various alliance talks going on as the party itself is battling internal crisis that is capable of costing Buhari his re-election bid.