A grand coalition of opposition political parties, including a chunk of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and influential political stakeholders across the country, is being firmed up ahead of the 2019 general election to wrest power from President Muhammadu Buhari’s party.
The new coalition may be unveiled in the next few weeks in a move designed to jolt all political permutations towards the next general election.
In the unfolding coalition are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), certain leaders of the APC, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), about 23 other smaller parties and the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) formed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The coalition is also said to enjoy the backing of other former presidents and retired generals, including General T. Y. Danjuma.
“This is not like the arrangement that produced the APC. We are not considering sending any application for change of name to INEC. There are not less than eight brand new political parties in the pockets of people across the various groups. We are thinking of fusing into one of them as the new platform.
You know, such a new party will give all sides equal opportunity. We will also avoid traps of the APC which is waiting to frustrate any attempt by, especially, the PDP to apply to the INEC for a change of its name,” a key figure in the coalition told Saturday Tribune on Friday.
The coalition is said to enjoy the support of some leaders of the National Assembly, about 19 governors, including some from the APC and about 60 percent of the membership of the legislature across the country.
The last four weeks have seen persons involved in the plan holding strategic meetings at various levels at which, competent sources said, significant concessions were granted by the various groups to accommodate one another and move forward.
“One of such meetings was held in London last month. Two of these governors and some legislators were present,” another source told Saturday Tribune during the week.
National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Uche Secondus, on Thursday, confirmed that his party would soon go into a coalition with other like minds to defeat Buhari’s APC next year.
It was learned that leaders of the PDP moved away from the initial ‘we can do it alone’ posture when they saw the resolve of the APC “to remain in power at all costs” even with the myriad of problems besetting the country.
“The PDP thereafter commenced merger or coalition talks with national political leaders, former officeholders and influential voices across the land. The new rapprochement will soon engineer a broad-based coalition that will give the APC the red card next year,” a PDP source said on Friday.
Members of the National Executive Committee of the PDP were on Thursday briefed on the developments so far by the National Chairman, Secondus, who told the meeting that the party was already working with former presidents, other leaders and like minds to unseat the APC in 2019.
“Consultations with various groups are useful and in coming days, a broader platform will be raised to wrest power from APC. We commend our elder statesmen and other patriotic Nigerians who have spoken up on the urgent need to rid the country of the current APC government and enthrone a government that will serve the people’s needs.
“We, therefore, invite our brothers, sisters, youths and women from other political parties to join us to rescue our country that is in distress socially, politically, economically and security wise.
“Our consultations have taken us to meet with various interest groups who are willing to do business with us and I can report to you that they are very fruitful. We expect, in coming days, to have a broader political family working dedicatedly to rescue this democracy and our beloved country from the hands of APC,” Secondus said.
It, was, however, gathered that some state chairmen of the party objected to the likely name change as a source added that the matter could not be resolved at the NEC meeting.
“The matter is only on the table but we are determined to accommodate all interests willing to work with us. The idea of the name change is tricky. We are discussing the matter further and we will get to the right decision at the end of the day,” a source in the PDP said.
Some sources, however, said that rather than dissipate energy on the name change, the party “should adopt a more positive outlook towards national development and roll out its plans to oust the APC. One thing is sure, we will not allow the name debate to derail the emerging coalition ahead of 2019.”