Sunday, 6 May 2018

2019: Obasanjo To Announce New Party As Talks With SDP Fails

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo is expected to hold a press conference in a few days to announce the party his coalition will adopt ahead of the 2019 general elections. The decision, it was learnt, was taken after a highly guarded meeting with members of the Nigerian Intervention Movement, the Coalition for Nigeria Movement and other concerned groups in Abeokuta on Friday.

Some persons at the meeting included the former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola who is the Chairman of the CNM; as well as the two Co- chairmen of the NIM, Dr . Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) and Dr. Abdujalil Tafawa Balewa; and a former Director General of the National Orientation Agency, Idi Faruk.

A very reliable source close to Obasanjo said that talks between Obasanjo and the Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Chief Olu Falae, last week, failed as both parties could not agree on the modalities and strategies for the 2019 polls. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, further said that a suggestion, on Friday, for the groups to employ the platform of the Accord Party for the next general elections also failed to sail through.

It was learnt that Obasanjo, NIM and CNM therefore reached an agreement that they would adopt a new party and rebrand it ahead of 2019. Another source, who also wished not to be named because of the sensitive nature of the meeting, said, “We are adopting an existing party which we will rebrand. Other parties would be allowed to form an alliance with us.

"Initially, we presented the idea of adopting the Peoples Democratic Party but Baba (Obasanjo) blatantly refused, insisting that the PDP is a dead party. "So, we decided to adopt a fresh political party. It will be a new party that we can build. We are looking at a merger with six other political parties which will be a grand alliance of sorts. "We were thinking of adopting Accord Party but we found out that the party is loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari. You will recall that it was Accord Party that took the Senate to court when the National Assembly wanted to change the sequence of elections.”

Meanwhile, it was learnt that Obasanjo is expected to meet with four northern governors and over 15 senators who are interested in joining the coalition. The source explained that the National Assembly, especially those loyal to Senate President Bukola Saraki, felt insulted by the Buhari administration and were waiting for Obasanjo to chart a direction. He added, "Senator Dino Melaye's ordeal has put fear in the minds of many lawmakers including those in the All Progressives Congress. They feel if a President, who is seeking a second term, can behave this way, then, he may become a tyrant in his second term.

"The lawmakers feel Buhari has encouraged his appointees to be disrespectful to the National Assembly. This disenchantment will be good for our cause.”The source added that the congresses the APC was holding would further expose the friction within the party which would make the centre almost impossible to hold. He noted that in more than half of the states being controlled by the APC, the senators and the governors were at loggerheads. "This month of May will be the turning point. Just watch as things will unfold. There will be mass defections very soon,” the source stated.

Source: Punch

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