Battle for 2019 set as PDP merges with 39 parties
It appears the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) the erstwhile ruling party, and other opposition parties have finally come to the realisation that only a broad-based coalition can dislodge a ruling party in Nigeria. What had permeated the political landscape as rumours finally materialised on Monday as the PDP, in following the example of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, entered into a grand alliance with over 39 political parties, including the new splinter group from the APC, the Reformed-APC to confront the All Progressives Congress in the 2019 general elections.
At the signing ceremony at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, the over 39 political parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to defeat the APC administration and announced a new name – Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) – as the vehicle to achieve that aim and agreed to present just one presidential candidate.
Parties represented at the event include the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), the newly formed Refored All Progressive Congress (r-APC), former president Obasanjo’s African Democratic Congress (ADC), the Social Democratic Party of Nigeria (SDP), National Conscience Party (NCP), Labour Party (LP) and a host of other registered but obscure political parties.
They also promised to present an executive bill on Restructuring and Devolution of powers to the National Assembly.
The event also marked the return of the Chairman Senate Committee on FCT, Dino Melaye and Kawu Baraje – a strong ally of Senate President Bukola Saraki – to the party.
The MoU reads in part: “That the Parties shall work together to ensure the emergence of a joint presidential candidate of which modalities for this collegiate process shall be under a separate Agreement by the Parties.
“That the Parties shall promote a positive reaction to the above listed failures of the present regime and to give hope to all our people, the Parties shall ensure that the coalition is committed to working together in support of the single Presidential Candidate to contest the 2019 Presidential election in order to successfully enthrone a true democrat who will salvage the nation from the misrule of the APC Government.
“That the Parties shall promote acceptable core values for the restructuring of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, secure lives and property, rebuild and redirect our nation’s economy back onto the path of growth, respect human rights and freedoms, protect and uphold the cherished values of democracy and the democratic institutions and generally put right the country which unfortunately has now been dangerously divided along ethnic, religious and tribal lines.
“That the Parties shall encourage State alliances between themselves to ensure that the cooperating parties under the grand alliance emerge victorious at State Governorship, State Legislature and National Assembly elections.
“That the Parties accept the policy of zoning political and elective offices between the six geopolitical zones of the Federations.
“That the Parties shall ensure that the emergent President under the grand alliance shall treat the presentation of an Executive Bill on Restructuring and Devolution of powers to the National Assembly a major priority”.
In his goodwill message, the R-APC National Chairman, Buba Galadima, said he is certain that President Buhari would lose his deposit in the 2019 poll, even as he advised him not to recontest.
Galadima, a former ally of Buhari, said they are ready to lay down their lives for the sake of the country.
He, however, reminded those present at the event to brace up for the challenges ahead, saying as a retired military general, Buhari would not go down without a fight.
It would be recalled that R-APC had last week announced a pull out from the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).
Goodwill messages were also presented by Olagunsoye Oyinlola of ADC, former Finance Minister and current National Chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP) Olu Falae among others.
Falae urged members to be ready to sacrifice their personal ambitions for the good of the coalition.
In his speech, PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, said Nigerians are waiting for the coalition to salvage the country from the present APC misrule.
“By what we are doing today, fear has taken flight and spirit of God has taken over, we must stand up to defend our people.
“I therefore call on all of us to be strong, steadfast and courageous, lets chase out APC in our lives and form a National Government that will bring succor to our people.
“Let us be firm in our decisions anticipating that our enemies will come up with all form of intrigues and strategies to rig election but we call on the international community to watch happenings in our polity with an eagle eye to save democracy in our country,” he said.
On his part, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, assured that the coming together of various opposition political parties to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) would rescue Nigeria in 2019 and restore her on the path of democratic freedoms, joy, security, and development.
He said that the mammoth crowd outside the venue which had gathered to witness the birth of a new Nigeria, showed that Nigerians now saw hope again and urged the grand alliance not be disappoint the people.
Other political parties that signed the MoU include the Social Democratic Party (SDP), KOWA Party, Labour Party, Young Democratic Party, Peoples Progressives Alliance (PPA), African Democratic Party (ADP), Peoples Democratic Congress (PDC), National Conscience Party (NCP), Democratic Alliance (DA), Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC) among others.
Dignitaries at the event include PDP Presidential aspirants namely: Atiku Abubakar, Ahmed Makarfi, Datti Baba-Ahmed, Attahiru Bafarawa, Sule Lamido, Tanimu Turaki, Ibrahim Shekarau as well as governors of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Gombe among others.