Presidency: Kwankwaso, Obi In Talk

Presidency: Kwankwaso, Obi In Talk

Muyiwa Oyinlola 

Indications emerged over the weekend of a possible alignment between the New Nigerian People’s Party, NNPP, and the Labour Party, LP, ahead of the 2023 General Elections.

This is coming on the heels of a revelation made at the weekend by the Vice-Presidential candidate of the LP and former Presidential spokesperson, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who on last Friday disclosed the party was working towards forming alliance with some political parties in a bid to come out victorious at the poll.

The politician, while speaking on a TV programme shortly after he was picked to stand in as running mate to Peter Obi, the party’s presidential flag bearer, stated that such coalition was necessary if his party was to defeat the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at the poll.

“Our idea and reasoning is to bring together in this country, for the first time, the largest political coalition possible because we are facing two political giants; the APC and the PDP. We are serious about upstaging them and we will, by God’s grace”, he said.

“But to do that, we cannot do it alone. We need to be able to put together this coalition, and this so-called third force is now alive and it is important for us to ensure that all the stakeholders are carried along from the beginning to the end.

“We do not want a situation where an action is taken and then people feel that ‘you have cooked this food and finished it, so what is the need for us’. Because of this, I, Dr. Doyin Okupe, am standing in as the vice-presidential candidate for the Labour Party”

“There is no secret here. We are talking to so many groups, youth groups, and political formations. We are talking to the People’s Redemption Party, PRP, New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, and the Social Democratic Party, SDP. We are talking to every possible major political outfit outside the APC and the PDP. We are not hiding anything.

“The choosing of the vice-presidential candidate is an electoral process. And it does not stop until the process and the schedule ends. INEC allows you to present a candidate and if you want to substitute, you may substitute if necessary, and if it’s not necessary, you may as well continue.

“So, the present situation is that we believe that this Labour Party government that is coming is essentially going to be about young Nigerians. Those of us who have been part of the sordid past, we must be prepared to pay the sacrifice, even personal sacrifice, of allowing a situation where you can lift up our youths to positions of power and authority.

“I am willing to put down my back so that young people can stand on my back and come to the top. No sacrifice is too big to achieve this. We will continue to work and pursue this project until we are able to hand over Nigeria to the rightful owners of the country – the workers and youths of this country”.

Consequently, the NNPP confirmed on last Saturday that it was in talks with the LP and its presidential candidate, Obi, of a possible coalition ahead of the election.

The party in a tweet stated that a committee has been set up to lead the discussion.

“We wish to inform Nigerians that our discussions with Peter Obi and the Labour Party are still ongoing. Special committee was set to discuss arrangements. We hope for good results that will give Nigeria a chance to be alive, once again”, it stated.

Confirming the development, former governor of Kano State and the NNPP presidential candidate, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, during a BBC Hausa service interview disclosed that: “We are really talking to Peter Obi, or at least saying that the committee is working to look into the matter, and cooperate with him, and friends and family are coming to talk to us about it”, he said.

Kwankwaso further noted that such collaboration would placate the agitation of the people of the South East who could not get either presidential or vice-president ticket in any of the two leading political parties, the APC and the PDP.

Meanwhile a cross section of Nigerians who are not elated with the situation of things in the country have praised the coming together of the NNPP , LP , PRP and others to give the two parties that had ruled this country a red card for a perceived abysmal governance for over 22 years. AljazirahNigeria monitor on social media, show that the Labour Party presidential candidate has endeared himself to Nigerians especially the youths which have more voting powers but if there support would translate to voting during the presidential election is another thing. However, Obi’s support has spurred youths across Southern Nigeria especially Lagos and the five South-east States to get their Permanent Voter Card, PVC.

Also, Sen. Kwankwaso a two term governor of Kano State is another man like General Mohammadu Buhari, retd, who is  the serving President of Nigeria, that has cult following in the North. Kwankwaso’s Kwankwasiyya group is all over the North West especially in Kano and Jigawa States.

In the same vein, news coming from Awka the Anambra State capital the home state of Obi indicates that there are hopes in the merger talk. In a statement he issued from Awka, the Anambra State capital, on Saturday, the Chairman of the Peter Obi Support Network, Marcel Ngogbehei, announced gleefully that the discussion between the two candidates was yielding fruitful results.

“We are delighted with the success so far recorded in the ongoing talks between our principal, Mr Peter Obi and Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso on one hand and the Labour Party and the New Nigeria Peoples Party on the other hand.

“The reports we are getting from the committee charged with the responsibility to carry out this discussion are encouraging, and we want to assure Nigerians that the long-awaited rebirth of our great nation is almost here with us.

“Let’s hold our breaths, before the window for substitution of candidates is closed, we are certain that the remaining grey areas would have been sorted out and Nigerians will be greeted with the best political news since independence”, Mr Ngogbehei stated.