Opposition Leaders Intensify Merger Bid for 2027, Remain Silent on Coalition’s Presidential Candidate

Opposition political heavyweights, including political economist Prof Pat Utomi, 2023 PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party’s Peter Obi, and NNPP’s Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso are engaging in talks with stakeholders for a potential merger, Politics Nigeria has learnt.

The merger is aimed at clinching power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2027 elections.

The Coalition of United Political Parties’ National Secretary, Peter Ameh, along with Utomi and Atiku’s media aide Paul Ibe, made the latest revelation.

Recall that Atiku, after the Supreme Court upheld President Bola Tinubu’s win in the 2023 election, proposed the merger to challenge APC’s reign. The former VP said he is committed to remaining active in politics and called for a united front against the ruling party.

Former governors Kwankwaso and Obi, both eyeing the 2027 presidency under NNPP and LP, respectively, have signalled their intent.

LP’s Presidential Campaign Council spokesperson, Yunusa Tanko, recently said the public is weary of “old stock” politicians like Atiku.

When asked whether Obi would contest the 2027 election, he said, “That one is sure. There is no ambiguity on that.”

Prof Pat Utomi, leader of the National Consultative Front, disclosed plans to establish a new political party, which will be a departure from the current trend of hastily formed parties. Utomi proposed to build a coalition with clear ideologies and values and intends to invite those who align with these principles.

Utomi engaged with opposition figures, including Atiku, Obi, and Kwankwaso. He revealed plans for an all-inclusive stakeholders’ meeting at the end of January and the recruitment of 10,000 volunteers per state to build a community-based political movement.

Atiku’s media aide, Paul Ibe, confirmed the ongoing merger talks.

Ibe said, “The major bulk of the coalition of the opposition political parties will be done behind closed doors; it will not be done in the open. I can assure you that they have started the process. The principal partners and stakeholders in this coalition are already talking among themselves. So, it is ongoing.”

He said Atiku’s analysis was that the disunity of the opposition parties gave the APC victory in the last presidential poll.

“If they (opposition parties) harmonised their strength, they would be very formidable. This is important because Nigeria is at a crossroads. From one rumbling APC administration to another, nothing has changed. People are suffering, the economy is in shambles, and insecurity is at its peak.

“So, Atiku recognises how important it is for the opposition to come together and form a formidable front against the APC.”

CUPP, a coalition of seven political parties, revealed its participation in the discussions. However, the coalition refrained from disclosing the 2027 presidential candidate to uphold a sense of collectivism within the opposition.

The National Secretary of CUPP said they would not reveal their 2027 presidential candidate so as not to discourage parties involved in the merger conversation.

On who the candidate would be, he said, “In our last meeting, we agreed that it is important not to name somebody at the moment, because when we name a person, it will discourage others. So, we will not name anybody so that everybody will have that sense of collectivism.

Ameh continued, “At the right time, we will now sit down and analyse popularity, public acceptance, ability to proffer solutions to our problems, and the competence and merits that will determine the selection process before we take that decision. But who will need is somebody that must be accepted by all coalition partners.”

“Pat Utomi has contacted most 2023 opposition presidential candidates; they have been briefed and discussion is ongoing. I assure you a meeting is coming up very soon. We will meet with Professor Pat Utomi this week, then at a very short possible time, stakeholders will meet.”

Meanwhile, opposition political parties have denied any merger plans.

PDP National Publicity Secretary Debo Ologunagba, when contacted, said, “We are not involved in any merger, we have not been contacted. When we are contacted and if there will be, we will let the public know”.

Also, NNPP National Secretary Oladipupo Olayokun said, “Our party is not aware and not part of any merger discussion”.

Additionally, the Labour Party had recently refuted plans of any coalition.

While some political parties denied awareness or participation in the merger discussions, APC’s Director of Publicity welcomed any coalition that contributes to democratic growth but remained confident in APC’s resilience for the 2027 elections.

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button