2019: Obasanjo’s Camp In Dilemma Over Choice Of Party
With 341 days to the commencement of the 2019 general elections, the Obasanjo-inspired Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) remains undecided on which party to pitch its tent with.
While some loyalists of the former President are in favour of working with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), some prefer the Social Democratic Party (SDP), while some are agitating for a party which will be a hybrid of politicians from PDP, SDP, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and others.
The investigation revealed that despite Obasanjo’s personal membership drive for CNM, the group is in a dilemma over the platform to use.
Its planned growth into an “a third force which must put the youth of the country at the forefront in the struggle to rescue the country from the muck it is enmeshed in,” also appears stunted.
Obasanjo, in outlining the vision of the Third Force on January 24 had spoken of “one choice left to take us out of Egypt to the promised land.
And that is the coalition of the concerned and the willing – ready for positive and drastic change, progress and involvement. Change that will give hope and future to all our youths and dignity and full participation to all our women.”
Many Nigerians, especially politicians being recruited into CNM, are now worried that the group is yet to be decisive three months to the governorship poll in Ekiti State and six months to that of Osun State.
Some of those who have opted for CNM are of the view that the group should have “a bearing” by now as was the case with APC which spent two years to plot the ouster of the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and PDP.
A highly placed source who is familiar with development in the CBM said: “Obasanjo and some members of CNM are not interested in collaborating with PDP against APC.
“Having torn his PDP membership card, it would amount to a volte-face for Obasanjo to work with the same structure.
“Some CNM leaders and loyalists of Obasanjo have a strong opinion that PDP is a solid and subsisting opposition structure which could be better for CNM.
The source said some leaders of CNM find it difficult to work with Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Chief Olu Falae, Shehu Gabam and some SDP leaders who they suspect to be loyalists of former Military President Ibrahim Babangida and a former Minister of Defence, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma.
“Since Obasanjo defeated Falae in 1999 presidential election, they have not been sharing any political affinity. Even Falae had to support the candidate of the Labour Party, ex-Governor Olusegun Mimiko against a PDP candidate in Ondo State,” the source said.
“The third alternative is to look for a neutral party which will accommodate elements from APC, PDP SDP and other parties. It is a kind of a hybrid party.
“There is no consensus on where we are headed. Yet, the CNM wants to use the July poll in Ekiti and the September elections in Osun as a litmus test for 2019 general elections.”
But a reliable source in CNM said: “There is a lot more to the coalition. Other than ex-President Obasanjo, no one can say which platform we will use. There is no point rushing to a party or forming one just to fulfil all righteousness.
“The political situation in the country is still very fluid. Look at what is happening to APC
“Forming a party is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end. Our ultimate objective is the Presidential Election, we believe the time is still on our side.
“Those who want to join the CNM are still in APC and PDP. We are waiting for prime movers who are still in APC and PDP.”
In a chat with our correspondent last night, a leader of CNM, Chief Akin Osuntokun (a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria) said the group will collaborate with SDP in Ekiti State during the governorship poll in July.
He said: “We are doing that (collaboration) with SDP because it is an inevitable election is coming and we have to be mindful of the timeline.
“It does not mean we (CNM leaders) have finally resolved to work with SDP. We have only asked our people to contest on SDP platform.”
There have been speculations that the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) may recommend any of the three ex-governors it is wooing as a presidential candidate in 2019.
The ex-governors are Rabiu Kwankwaso, Sule Lamido, and Ibrahim Shekarau who are all from the North-West as Buhari.
The CNM claims to be a movement that “seeks to promote and ensure socio-economic development, improvement, growth, social justice, egalitarianism, cohesion, cooperation, equity, equality of opportunity, transparency, societal order, rule of law, human security and human rights leading to national unity, good governance and general well-being and the welfare of all citizens and inhabitants of Nigeria.”