CUPP: Anxiety Over Growing Number Of Presidential Aspirants

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Abuja – Last Monday, over 30 opposition political parties, which came under the aegis of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), with the agreement to field one candidate to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming 2019 election.

CUPP, in their MoU promised restructuring and devolution of powers, uphold virtue of accountability and firm, fair fight against corruption as part of their agenda is less than 10 months to the general elections.

However, even with the agreement to wrestle power from this administration, members of the public as well as coalition have expressed fears and reservations over the success of the politics of alliance based on the chequered historical antecedents. This is because; they allege that alliance politics in the country has been a historical staple.

This is even as anxiety is growing on the swelling number of aspirants, with last week’s declaration by Professor Jerry Gana as presidential aspirant under the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Sunday INDEPENDENT gathered at the weekend that more are to come even as the leading opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) sticks to its determination to produce the candidate.

Specifically, they claim that in the 1960s, the NCNC and NPC forged an alliance to stabilise the newly independent country, but the marriage moved from harmony to divorce, based on skirmishes among NCNC, NPC and AG, leading to the eventual military intervention in 1966.

In the second republic from 1979, NPN (Shehu Shagari’s party) entered into a relationship of “convenient necessity” with NPP (Nnamdi Azikiwe’s party), for easy passage of bills by the National Assembly due to what analysts regarded then as vicious opposition.

But corruption brought an end to the union, as members of both parties, in 1981, went for each other’s throats over access to government’s largesse. The military struck two years later.

In 2013, AD, CPC, ANPP and ‘nPDP’ metamorphosed into APC.  But a few years after, APC is finding it difficult to keep its broomsticks together. The marriage was one of convenience; simply contracted for the sake of taking over power.

Some political analysts believe that we are back to where we were in 2013 with a new union of kindergarten political parties – Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP). Their argument is that although Nigeria, as a patient, needs a doctor, it does not call for a hurried action of going for a ‘Babalawo,’ despite the fact that the country is in an intensive care unit and needs urgent surgery.

“After taking over power what next? In the country to witness another era of excuses and arrogant incompetence. Or justification that we are not performing because APC wasted four years or that we did not get enough cooperation from the National Assembly.

“An erratic response to a pungent malady might not be the much needed solution as taking over power from the APC should include at least an agenda of how to deliver good governance to Nigerians, who are suffering from impoverishment. Agreed, Nigeria needs a doctor, but we should not in a hurry take this patient to a Babalawo,”says Friday Ameh, Lagos based analyst.

However, some of the stakeholders boasted that they were ready to lay down their lives to achieve their aims of defeating the President in the forthcoming presidential election and give Nigerian a new ease of life.

But some political analysts have predicted that the 2013 episode that gave birth to APC, which eventually unseated President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, might likely happen next year.

Recall that in 2013, some governors, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and other stakeholders left PDP to form what was then called the new PDP, which joined force with APC to defeat the Jonathan-led PDP government.

Similar experience two weeks ago hit the APC. Dissatisfied with how they were treated in the APC merger, some of the members, who were led by former acting National Chairman of PDP, Abubakar Baraje and others came out with Reformed-APC (R-APC), which last Monday renounced their allegiance to APC and pulled out of the ruling party.

The breakaway R-APC led by Galadima, before aligning itself with the PDP and its coalition last Monday, had listed the sins of President Buhari and his government to include abuse of power, insecurity, disobedience to rule of law, dictatorship among others and therefore resolved that Buhari must be removed from power.

Galadima had this to say shortly after leading his group out of APC that, “we are sad to report that after more than three years of governance, our hopes have been betrayed, our expectations completely dashed. The APC has run a rudderless, inept and incompetent government that has failed to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people.

“It has rather imposed dictatorship, impunity, abuse of power, complete abdication of constitutional and statutory responsibilities, infidelity to the rule of law and constitutionalism. It has failed to ensure the security and welfare of our people and elevated nepotism to unacceptable height. The APC has failed to deliver on its key promises to the nation. There is no evidence of any political will to reverse the decline of our party, while leaders who have created these circumstances continue to behave as if Nigerians owe our party votes as a matter of right.

Infact, a day after the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), a member of the coalition made demand on the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) to nullify the election of Adams Oshiomhole and others as executive members of the APC, they went further to request a Federal High Court in Abuja to declare the election of APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and the entire national executive committee invalid, null and void.

Part of Galadima’s prayers was for the court to declare him and members of his faction the authentic executives of the party.

However, the question being asked is how feasible is this coalition? Is the coalition only to wrestle power? What is the implication of the coalition on the nation’s democracy? How workable is it, knowing that it will abort the aspiration of so many, who are having or nursing the ambition of presidency and whether if the coalition would be able to unseat an incumbent President, who knows how to use power?

Those, who reacted, were of the opinion that the coalition would not mortgage anybody’s aspiration or ambition and rather, it would give the political parties an opportunity to get the right candidate and also that primary to be conducted would decide who emerges as the presidential flag bearer of the parties.

Speaking with our correspondent, one of the presidential aspirants from PDP, Tanimu Turaki said that the whole arrangements would not have any negative implication on the nation’s democracy.

Turaki, who spoke through his media director, Shola Atere, said that he’s not foreseeing any problem in the whole arrangements.

He added that it is through primary the presidential candidate would emerge, adding that when a candidate eventually emerges, the aspiration of others would be aborted, as all cannot emerge at the same time.

According to him, as good and loyal party men, others would support whoever emerges through democratic means.

Turaki explained that fuller details of the arrangement would be worked out, adding, “Whatever happens, at the primary one person is bound to emerge, as the aspiration of all the rest will be aborted at that point. I want to believe that like good party men, they will support whoever emerges through a democratic process.

“I don’t foresee anything; the truth is that PDP is the main opposition party. The presidential aspirants or candidates of the other parties, you cannot equate them with the aspirants in PDP, let’s face the reality.”

The former Minister of Aviation under PDP, Femi Fani-Kayode explained that the coalition is to get power for the opposition parties, adding that those who participated in the coalition will definitely have a role to play in the government that would be formed by the parties.

He was optimistic that the coalition would work out very well because of what he termed as providing a choice for the Nigeria people, adding that the parties are providing an alternative to the existing President in government.

Fani-Kayode said that other presidential aspirants in the coalition may not have to step down for anyone as the most popular aspirant among the contenders would emerge through primary, insisting that the coalition shows the political maturity of the parties, who are willing to provide alternative platform, alternative presidential candidate that can unseat the incumbent President.

The former Minister and PDP stakeholder said: “The coalition is to get power for us. All those who participated in the coalition will definitely have a role to play in the government. Positions will be shared among all the various political parties that joined forces to form the alliance.

“It is very positive, we are providing a choice for the Nigerian people. It is a very positive development. What it means is that we are providing an alternative to the existing President in government, an alternative platform, an alternative presidential candidate that can unseat the one that is there.

“It also shows that everybody is willing to work together in the coalition and moving in the same direction. This shows political maturity.”

Asked if the arrangement would not limit the choice of candidate, the former Minister said, “everybody will throw his hat into the ring, the most popular will emerge, so long as it is a free and fair primary. As long as it is a free and fair primary, somebody will emerge. Everybody has to line up, it does not really matter the number of people that are in the contest.

“You may not have to step down, you can go to the field, throw your hat into the ring and if you are defeated you accept. Nobody has to step down unless you want to.  It is a democracy, one has to be ready to win and also be ready to lose and that tells you that our system has matured considerably. Definitely we have to go for primary.”

Also speaking with our correspondent, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan explained that the arrangement is far from legal issue as the political parties willingly came together to form alliance.

He said: “The arrangement has no legal implication. The political parties came together to form a coalition for the purpose of deepening democracy.”

The National Chairman of African Democratic Party (ADC), Okey Nwosu, who spoke with our correspondent on this issue, explained that the political parties decided to forget their different ambitions to meet the yearning of Nigerians to change the lackluster leadership of this present government.

He said: “What we did was that a lot of political parties listen to the yearnings of Nigerians that they want to change power democratically because of the lackluster leadership we have in place.

“As political parties, we decided to forget our different ambitions and come together to achieve what the Nigeria people want. That is what we have done in relationship to the presidency and we got this committed to paper. We still have some more work to do.”

The post CUPP: Anxiety Over Growing Number Of Presidential Aspirants appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.

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