Abuja – As the nation awaits the next moves by the breakaway faction of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Reformed APC, indications emerged at the weekend that clandestine moves have begun for a common candidate to square up with the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
Consequently, barely nine months to 2019 general elections, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some other political parties, it was gathered are putting modalities in place to produce one candidate to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari in the next presidential election.
But, it was gathered at the weekend that PDP is insisting on producing the presidential candidate, banking on its structures, network and experience of its members as major considerations to its advantage.
The party is said to be banking on members of the rAPC as well as other experienced politicians, particularly, the parliamentarians and governors, who would be baited with the promise of automatic tickets for next year elections.
Also, it was further gathered that the alliance has become imperative because of the growing discontent in the polity occasioned by poverty, insecurity, unemployment, backwardness, polarisation of the country along religious and ethnic divide and the lackadaisical attitude of the Federal government towards the whole gamut of problems facing the country.
The alleged harsh stance and comments of some leaders of APC on some members of the rAPC, in one breadth and the favourable disposition of the chairman, Adams Oshiomhole to peaceful resolution with genuine aggrieved members in another breadth, are to some political watchers, contradictory and may be the greatest undoing of the party in 2019.
This is even as Prof. Itse Sagay, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) last week described the breakaway faction as itinerant politicians who decided to leave the party because they couldn’t get what they want.
Sagay said the rAPC members are not different from herdsmen, moving from one political party to another looking for what to ‘chop’.
But speaking with Sunday INDEPENDENT, a member of the group, who pleaded for anonymity, said “We are committed to the statement of our chairman, Buba Galadima to the effect that R-APC will work with like-minded political parties and groups to offer Nigeria qualitative good governance in 2019. One thing I can tell you is that even before we make our position known to the public, discussions have commenced with other opposition parties.”
However, the question most concerned Nigerians are asking is, who is the best and the most viable and credible person that can defeat Buhari in the next election.
Another area of concern is the party that will produce the candidate as most of the parties are still laying claim to having the most credible candidate for the exalted position.
It was gathered also that most of the politicfians, particularly, the parliamentarians would be baited with the promise of automatic ticket to return to the National Assembly.
According to a source, this is a potent factor the leadership of major parties in the group is considering to cool nerves as it is seen as a win-win approach, so as to give opportunity to those considered as ‘heavyweights’ to slug it out among themselves for the position of president.
For instance, as at last week, about six presidential hopefuls have declared to contest the presidential ticket under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Those, who have declared their interest, are: Atiku Abubakar, Datti Baba Ahmed, Tanimu Turaki, Ahmed Makarfi, Attahiru Bafarawa and Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso. They all boasted of defeat President Buhari if given the opportunity to contest against him.
Out of the six presidential hopefuls, only Kwankwaso is yet to move to PDP, but of late, he had been having a serious romance with the members of PDP. For example, while the All Progressives Congress (APC) was having its convention at the Eagle Square in Abuja, he was seen having a meeting with Atiku in his house. He recently visited the governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose and has said that he can defeat Buhari if given the opportunity.
Speaking with Sunday INDEPENDENT, a stakeholder in the PDP, who said his name should not be mentioned because he’s not a member of the alliance committee, said that PDP and some opposition parties are meeting with the single agenda on how to unseat the President in the next election.
The stakeholder was optimistic that there would not be any hitch in the arrangement, adding that there is no argument that the candidate for the alliance would come from PDP.
He said that the arrangement being put in place would favour all stakeholders and the parties involved in the alliance.
Asked why PDP should produced the candidates, the PDP stakeholder said that there is no party in the country, including the APC that has structure like the PDP, insisting that it is natural for the party to lead in the arrangement. He, however, refused to disclose the arrangement made so far, saying, he’s not a member of the committee.
He said: “We are working together. The arrangement will work. There is no argument where the candidate will come from. It is PDP. I am telling you the truth, don’t doubt the arrangement.
“There is no party in this country today, including the APC that has structures like PDP. None. It is natural for PDP to lead in the arrangement. I don’t envisage any problem.”
Also speaking to our correspondent, a PDP stakeholder, a former governorship aspirant from Adamawa State and the Secretary of Northern Leader and Stakeholder Assembly, Dr. Umar Ado, explained that there will be no loser in the alliance.
While he agreed that there is an alliance, Dr. Ado said that PDP will produce the candidate for the presidential election, adding that other positions will be evenly distributed if the election is eventually won.
The PDP stakeholder, who boasted that the alliance will be 100 percent okay, added that “it is true that there is alliance in place, PDP will bring the candidate. The alliance is such that each of the participating party will have something.
“For example, if ADC agreed to collapse into PDP, they will produce the Secretary to the Government of the Federation or will be given ministerial positions or boards.
“On individual basis, some will go back to their positions if they so desire. For example, a sitting lawmakers or governors would be given a return ticket and a stakeholder, who does not want any political appointment, will be allowed to bring somebody on board to occupy a position among other arrangements. This is how the whole thing will work out. The thing will work out 100 percent.”
But the National Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Shehu Gabam distanced the party from this arrangement, insisting that the party is not involved in such arrangements.
In a text message to our correspondent after repeated calls to his phone, which he didn’t pick, Gabam said that he has no idea of such arrangement, adding, “I have no idea about it. SDP has not committed itself to any arrangements.”
The Africa Democratic Congress (ADC), however, revealed that such arrangement is on board, adding that because of the crisis rocking the nation, some patriots came together to see how a candidate with the backing of other political parties can defeat President Buhari.
Speaking with our correspondent, the National Chairman of ADC, Chief Okey Nwosu, who didn’t disclose the shape and modus operandi of the alliance, said that all the arrangements would be made public soon.
He said that members of the alliance will definitely accept the decisions of eminent statesmen, as the nation is presently overwhelmed with problems.
The National Chairman revealed that they will not spend months strategising when the nation is on fire, adding that the purpose President Buhari came on board is defeated.
He described as unfortunate the position of the security apparatus in the country, adding that the security of a nation has become the security of one person.
The ADC Chairman said: “We are talking with other political parties. The alliance will definitely work. We won’t spend months strategising when the country is on fire. We are serious that the collaboration will work.
“The country is on fire, therefore, every patriot must come together. All the arrangements will be made public soon. People will definitely accept the decision of eminent statesmen. Nigeria is overwhelmed, the country is on fire.”
Asked if the alliance will be able to defeat Buhari and his supporters, Chief Nwosu said, “I don’t know the many people that are supporting Buhari, but I doubt if we have a proper election in Daura today he will win. I doubt because everybody is feeling the pains. The pain is not only in the South East, South West, South South or North East.
“This government came on board promising to deal with security issues, but the people have discovered that he (Buhari) is a complete failure. They don’t have security strategy; they don’t have peace, economy and benefit strategies. The pain is in everywhere. What they are doing is propaganda.”
Asked if the opposition and its alliance can defeat the President and the federal might, ADC Chairman said, “It is unfortunately that the security of a nation has become the security of one man.
“The state is in complete disrepair and in complete ruin. The country is down; it is more or less a failed state. When an individual in government will convert the whole state infrastructure into his personal estate, it is a complete shame. It shows you the level we are.
“That is why a coalition of patriots is coming together to say enough is enough, we have to rescue our country. I pray for him (Buhari) to have good health so that they will see within the next one year after they have handed over to us, the wonderful country we are.”
Action Democratic Party (ADP), however, denied being part of the alliance, but, added that alliance would go a long way to help in defeating President Buhari.
Director of media of the party, Kayode Jacob noted that it will take alliance to defeat the President, but, however cautioned against making the same mistake APC made, where strange bed fellows converged.
Lambasting the government of President Buhari, Jacob said that it is necessary that parties come together to chase out the APC government that is not giving the nation any hope.
He advised against highhandedness and selfishness among political parties, who believe that if the presidential candidate, does not come from “my party it will not work or the person will not be good enough to occupy any position.”
The ADP spokesman cautioned that if the parties are able to remove every known bottleneck and bring up somebody that is good, has age on his side, who is healthy, who has experience, they will go far.
Most of the problems facing the country, according to him, is that, some Nigerians “are not patriotic, they have allegiance to other countries. If we are able to cross these hurdles, it will be better.”
He pointed out that “you don’t form alliance to defeat incumbent, but form it to win for Nigerians. Like the case of APC, when strange bed fellows came together for the purpose of defeating one man, there will be problem.”
Jacob noted that when there is an alliance with good and strong candidate and strong sharing formula, it will be good, adding, “it is necessary that parties come together to ensure that APC government that is not giving the nation any future is removed. It will be difficult for a single political party to make serious impact in this forthcoming election.”
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