Monday, July 2, 2018

2019: Coalition against Buhari reaches agreement

THE plan by the opposition parties to form a grand alliance to challenge the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which is certain to present President Muhammadu Buhari as its standard-bearer in the 2019 election, is finally taking shape as the parties have almost concluded the terms of the alliance.

Sunday Tribune learnt at the weekend that the leading opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Labour Party, African Democratic Congress (ADC), New PDP (nPDP) and about 34 other parties and groups are close to signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the alliance.

The four-member committee working on the MoU, it was gathered, was expected to perfect the document earlier in the week but could not finish it. This, it was said, was to give the legacy aligning parties enough room to digest the contents of the MoU and come up with suggestions before a final draft is produced and signed.

It was learnt that the opposition leaders are mindful of time and are determined to conclude work on the document and sign it within weeks.

According to a source within the coalition, Nigerians would begin to witness serious activities in the coalition.

“We are hoping to conclude all plans in the next three weeks. I can assure you that Nigerians would begin to see serious activities in the next few days,” he stated.

Talks were said to have reached a critical stage among the leaders of the opposition parties, who were said had agreed on how best to go about the alliance in a way that will make the 2019 presidential election a walkover for the opposition.

Sources told Sunday Tribune that the PDP, nPDP group and other aggrieved groups within the APC had shown strong commitment towards the alliance which they said was necessary in the interest of the country, which they said is drifting towards disintegration.

A significant number of serving governors and a majority of the National Assembly members across party lines, it was revealed, had bought into the alliance, as well as former presidents who are worried that the country is tottering on the precipice with a troubled economy, escalating killings, vices and growing corruption in the country, without decisive action from the sitting government.

Sunday Tribune gathered that the one of the pending issues among the groups is the platform to adopt, particularly on whether to use ADC, PDP, SDP or any other acceptable party as the platform to drive the alliance.

Sunday Tribune, however, gathered that the issue of platform would not be a sore point, as the overriding consideration for the stakeholders is the need to save the country from total collapse under the Buhari government.

The stakeholders expressed worry that the Buhari-led government is not ready to arrest the sliding economy or protect the citizenry against armed invaders, especially in view of the ceaseless killings across the country as a result of the unchecked activities of herdsmen and other unscrupulous elements.

Meanwhile, a crucial meeting has been scheduled for Makurdi, the Benue State capital, on Tuesday, by Southern and North-Central leaders of the country on the possibility of a candidate of that zone extraction squaring up with incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s elections.

Sources hinted that the option is among current permutations in the major groups of political parties and mass-based organisations trying to forge an alliance before the polls.

Some Northern leaders privy to the planned meeting in Makurdi, told Sunday Tribune that a couple of politicians from the North-Central nursing presidential ambition had indeed reached out to influential groups and individuals from the South for possible endorsement.

Checks indicated that the leaders will hold a zonal rally, similar to the ones organised in the three zones in the South in the last few months to test the strength of the movement that will coalesce in the grand alliance.

The leaders, it was also gathered, would use the opportunity of the meeting to extract commitments of the various interest groups to the current renaissance, especially on the overall agenda of the movement.

Part of the demands of the leaders include restructuring of the country, implementation of the 2014 National Conference report; shakeup in the nation’s security architecture, as well as in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to guarantee free, fair and credible elections next year.

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