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PDP, APC at loggerheads over 2023 • Coalition gets merger panel against major parties

Posted On Thursday, 11 March 2021 02:18 Written by The Nation
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By Alao Abiodun, Lagos, Jide Orintunsin, Abuja and Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt/ THE NATION

Main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday gave reasons while the power pendulum will swing in their favour in 2023.

While the PDP argued that its reconciliation drive and APC’s inability to tackle the nation’s myriad of problems, including insecurity, would give it a victory, the ruling party stated that the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari and the gale of defections from the opposition pointed to one direction: Continuation of the Next Level.

PDP National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan spoke for his party during an interview on Arise TV’s “The Morning Show” monitored by The Nation.

He said: “In one zone out of six, we are having contestation of power that is leading towards disagreement, which is already being reconciled by the Senator Bukola Saraki-led reconciliation committee.

“Our party is a hope of Nigerians as we speak today. The acts of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping have subsumed our nation …show clearly that Nigerians are thinking of who will rescue our nation.

“Prior to the 2015 elections, insurgency was fought to the fringes.

“The PDP is ready and prepared to take over the mantle of leadership through the ballot box in 2023.”

The PDP spokesman also said the feud between former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, and Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde was being resolved by the Saraki committee.

Earlier yesterday, Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) had said Nigeria’s redemption would depend only on the return of the PDP to power in 2023.

The governors claimed that the main opposition had demonstrated proven ability to improve the living condition of Nigerians, arguing that this had diminished under the APC.

They spoke at the PDP Southsouth zonal congress in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

While Wike told the delegates that Nigerians were yearning to return the opposition party to power in 2023, Okowa said the nation was better under PDP’s administration than the APC.

But Secretary of the Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the APC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe said the PDP and its leaders were deluding themselves of returning to power.

“The PDP is apparently deluding itself that its desperate cravings to return to power at the centre amounts to the wishes of Nigerians.

“This is incredibly delusional. It is important to remind the PDP that in a democracy and progressive politics, power is not ‘taken’ but given through a popular mandate by the people.

“The current state of the PDP does not show the failed opposition party is anywhere close to earning such mandate from the electorate.

“From previously abandoned to new projects, under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration, every state of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has an ongoing and major federal road and other critical infrastructure project. This is a fact and it is verifiable.

“The coming of CECPC has compelled the opposition to go on futile and desperate attempts at begging its members and leaders to remain in the party.

“President Buhari’s administration is implementing one of the world’s largest and wide-ranging social investment programme, which is benefitting the vulnerable and has taken many Nigerians out of poverty. Commendably, we are well on course to delivering other aspects of the Next Level agenda,” Akpanudoedehe said.

Also, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), a group sympathetic to the APC, described PDP’s statement as wishful thinking.

The BMO reminded the main opposition that it takes more than gathering “loud-talking leaders” to sway the electorate.

Also, opposition political groups, under the platform of National Consultative Front (NCFront), have inaugurated a 22-man merger committee to negotiate with existing political parties across the country.

The committee is to work out modalities for unseating the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

It is headed by former House of Representatives Speaker Ghali Umar Na’aba and mandated to negotiate and facilitate an all-inclusive Mega Party Movement for Nigerians.

The coalition also planned to mobilise massive resistance to national elections without a brand new constitution, biometric accreditation, electronic and Diaspora voting, among others.

At a virtual inauguration of the merger committee yesterday, the Chief Convener of the coalition, Prof. Pat Utomi said there was need to reclaim the country from political pillagers and build a Nigeria that “our children will be proud of”.

A communiqué issued after the meeting and signed by NCFront’s head of secretariat, Olawale Okuniyi, announced that “leaders of conscience under the umbrella of the National Consultative Front (NCFront), in a conscious effort to provide a credible ideological mega political alternative to rescue Nigeria from the predatory and disastrous grip of the ruling political leadership of the APC and PDP today inaugurated a 22-member Political Merger Committee, headed by Ghali Umar Na’aba, former Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives”.

It added: “The high-powered political merger committee, which includes 12 national chairpersons of national political parties and nine major political movements and interest groups, was mandated to use its inclusivity to ensure the fusion of various platforms, allies and stakeholders that share NCFront mission to rescue and save Nigeria from the avoidable misery and hopelessness brought upon the Nigerian Peoples by the ruling political parties in Nigeria.”

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