- SDP, PDP In Final Push To Lobby 30 Other Parties
By ‘Dotun Akintomide
Buoyed by the dwindling popularity of President Muhammadu Buhari among Nigerians, talks are already at an advanced stage for dozens of opposition political parties in the country to launch a grand coalition targeted at dislodging the All Progressives Congress ahead 2019 as schemings to seize power at the center continue to gather momentum.
Barring any last minute change of mind, The New Diplomat learnt that plans are underway to officially launch the coalition in the next few weeks, months before the commencement of party primaries in August so as to quickly set out in selling the grand coalition to Nigerians.
According to a source, one of the grey areas which had prevented the launching from coming sooner was certain reservation expressed by some ideological based parties under the aegis of Coalition for a New Nigeria (CNN) in working with People’s Democratic Party; the Social Democratic Party touted by many to be Obasanjo’s third force, as well as some aggrieved members of the APC who are in search of an exit route from the ruling party.
“We’re inching closer towards the grand coalition with talks everyday and some level of progress have been achieved. If there’s one thing that further unites us, it’s the realization of the fact that our individual parties can’t do it alone and we need this strong support base to jolt plans by the Buhari’s APC to re-assert itself on Nigerians one more time being the party in power,” said an SDP Chieftain who was among party leaders that accompanied Chief Olu Falae when he visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta recently.
He further told The New Diplomat in confidence that “the only worry by key actors forming the coalition is the skepticism expressed by parties who are part of the CNN claiming they might have issues conjoining with some members of the PDP and defecting APC members who might be having some political baggages. Also, another fear is the overarching influence of Obasanjo on the entire plan as nobody would want to lose out in the end.”
Findings revealed that the CNN comprises: Labour Party (LP), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC), Action Alliance (AA), Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA), Young Democratic Party (YDP), Democratic Alternative (DA) and National Conscience Party (NCP).
Others are Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP), Better Nigeria Peoples Party (BNPP), African Democratic Congress (ADC), People for Democratic Change (PDC), United Democratic Party (UDP) and National Action Congress (NAC) among others.
“Albeit, we have told them some grundnorms will be promoted to ensure the coalition is based on strong democratic values and principles so as not to end up the way of the APC. Mind you, the coalition might not necessarily be in everybody coalescing into one political party, rather it might just be all the parties queuing behind a single party while they still retain their individual party names. For the now, the details remain a top secret, but it will be communicated in clearer terms in the coming days,” the source disclosed to our correspondent.
Meanwhile, Spokesman of the CNN, Dr. Yinusa Tanko had said the 30 parties that made up the CNN are only interested in progressive minded coalition that will salvage the country from sundry ill-trends which had became evident in critical matters of governance.
Tanko who spoke with The New Diplomat on Monday, in Lagos, shortly after officially declaring his intention to run for 2019 presidency as the torchbearer of National Conscience Party, NCP (formed by late Chief Gani Fawehinmi) said: “I’m the spokesman of the Coalition for a New Nigeria (CNN). I’m also a member of the CNPP and IPAC. I will galvanize the political parties to trend towards our aspiration so we can work together to get this country out of the current doldrums.”
On whether his party is considering joining a third force movement, he said “On our own we’re a force, the political parties’ group is a force. We don’t want to call it a force, but a political movement that will take Nigerians back to the rightful place where they belong.”
Recall last week, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus confirmed that his party would soon go into a coalition with other like minds to defeat Buhari’s APC next year.
“Our consultations have taken us to meet with various interest groups, who are willing to do business with us. I can report to you that it has been very fruitful.
“We expect in the coming days to have a broader political family, working hard to rescue this democracy and our beloved country from the hands of APC.” Secondus stated.