Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday rallied 38 other political parties round it to oust President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Party (APC).
Operating under the umbrella of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), the parties which signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the end of a meeting in Abuja on Monday, resolved among others, to field a joint presidential candidate against Buhari in 2019.
Apart from the PDP, other members in the coalition include the Action Alliance (AA); Alliance for Democracy (AD); Africa Democratic Party (ADC); Action Democratic Party (ADP); All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP); Action People’s Party (APP); Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD); and Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP).
Others are the Democratic Alternative (DA); Democratic People’s Party (DPC); Grand Democratic Party of Nigeria (GDPN); Green Party of Nigeria (GPN); KOWA Party; Labour Party (LP); Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA) and Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN).
Also in the group are the National Conscience Party (NCP); New Generation Party (NGP); National Unity Party (NUP); Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM); People’s Alliance for National Development and Liberty (PANDEL); Peoples Progressive Party (PPP); People for Democratic Change (PDC); Providence People’s Congress (PPC); and the Reformed All Progressive Congress (RAPC).
Others are the Restoration Party of Nigeria (RPN); Social Democratic Party (SDP); Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN); All Grassroots Alliance (AGA); National Interest Party (NIP); Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP); Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA); and Young Democratic Party (YDP) among others.
Prominent politicians present at the meeting included the national chairman of the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), Mr. Buba Galadima, national chairman of PDP, Mr. Uche Secondus, deputy senate president, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Dino Melaye, former national secretaries of the Senator Ben Obi and Mr. Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, governor of Akawa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, former minister of foreign affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi, national chairman of SDP, Chief Olu Falae, among others.
Addressing the coalition, Secondus, said the alliance by the parties marked the commencement of the determined efforts to rescue the country from suffering and bad governance.
“We are ready to go to detention until our freedom and good governance is restored,” he said.
He said PDP was committed to fighting corruption in a most civilised manner and not the crude method of framing people by the APC.
Also speaking, R.APC leader, Galadima, expressed delight at the presence of the cream de la cream of politicians who had agreed to come together.
“What we are about to do will send shivers not only to those on the other side of the coin but to the entire world; we are witnesses to a significant event. Most diplomats and leaders of other countries of the world keep on wondering whether there are men and women of courage and integrity in this country that can face the monster.
“This significant event that we will be witnessing here very soon is the answer to the outside world and to Nigerians. Let me say since we made a declaration of the formation of the Reformed APC, we have received unprecedented messages of support, solidarity from all over the world and I am confident that should we put our acts together, should we tag together, if we are fair to ourselves, do things transparently and bring up one man or woman, we will save this country, we will provide a future for our children and grandchildren,” he said.
Galadima who said the MoU was not going to be a tea party also stated: “The man we will be facing is a military general; but we know him and you and I know him; if I were him, if I were his adviser, I will advise him (Buhari) not to attempt to contest.
“From the day we announced the formation of the R-APC, a lot of people received threats, a lot of people received gratifications, a lot of people received pressure from unsolicited quarters to persuade them to back out.
“We are ready, prepared to take on this fight despite any deprivation, intimidation, even torture because this country belongs to all of us. We must together fight for this our right.
“They can use the big stick. You do know a desperate person can do anything. He can kill, if he has powers, he can arrest, detain. Whichever one they choose to do, we are prepared to lay down our lives for the sake of our country.’’
Falae who also spoke at the event cautioned stakeholders in the new political alliance to ensure that they do not allow individual ambition to cripple the alliance.
For his part, Ekweremadu said the signing of MoU marked a dawn of a new in Nigeria and advised leaders of the coalition never to disappoint Nigerians.
“For three years, what I see on the faces of Nigerians is frustration and anguish. But for the first time, I tell you that I saw joy. I saw people laughing and smiling for the first time in three years.
“Those our brothers and sisters, and investors, who left Nigeria in the last three years are also rejoicing with you because by this time next year, they will all be back.
“Those factories that were closed are going to come back alive by this time next year and Nigerians will rejoice.
“The people of the South East whom the programmes and practices of this government are forcing them to have a rethink on their membership of this country, today will rejoice and be happy that a new country that will be fair to all is coming; a country that they will be proud to be part of and continue to contribute to her development.
“All our people in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, who have been wondering or believe that they will spend the rest of their lives in the IDP camps are happy today because their stay there is almost over; because next year, we will enthrone a government that will take them to their homes and protect them there.
“The media houses, all the instruments and institutions of democracy that have been trampled and muzzled in this country, they will be free again to do their work without fear of intimidation.
“Those who are being persecuted on account of their political views or insisting that the right thing should be done, are also going to rejoice because a new dawn is here,” he said.
For Melaye, the APC and President Buhari will lose the 2019 election and advised those still contemplating joining the PDP to “make haste before it is too late.”
“The task to bring back Nigeria is one of no retreat, no surrender,” said Melaye adding that added that APC would lose power in 2019.
In his remarks the leader of the new-Peoples Democratic Party (n-PDP), Mr. Abubakar Kawu Baraje thanked the PDP for accepting and absorbing them back into its fold despite what they did.
For the former national secretary of the PDP, Mr. Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Nigerians have been impoverished in the past three years to the extent that the Brookings Institution recently crowned Nigeria as the ‘Poverty Capital’ of the world.
“Insecurity has become the new normal while the government is lost and continues to pass the buck in a most ridiculously unfortunate manner. When things like this happen, those of us who are the elite are hardly affected.
“Those who bear the brunt of misrule and its consequences are the helpless, ordinary people. Ironically, it is we the elite the same people look up to save them. That is why I see this initiative at rescuing our nation as an assignment from God which we must all carry out with all seriousness, honesty of purpose and patriotic commitment.’’
Also Obi, who, briefed journalists after the signing of the MoU described the 2019 election as a battle between light and darkness, saying the coalition is the light that has come to rescue Nigeria.
He said the signing of the memorandum “is a signal to the ruling APC and the international community that they are ready to take over power in 2019.”
Atiku, for his part, told Channels TV that the coalition will bring an end to the negative change in Nigeria.
“I wholeheartedly endorse this exercise and look forward to a spirit of collaboration amongst ourselves as we continue the campaign for the deliverance of Nigeria from the forces of retrogression, recession, division and blame games.
“It might be a cliché, but it still remains true that unity is strength and that only team work can make the dream work. I refer to the dream of our Founding Fathers for an indivisible united country that is progressive and founded on unity and faith.
“Much work needs to be done. Sadly, in the last three years, Nigeria has become the world head quarters of extreme poverty.
“We must thus rub our heads and minds together to ensure that by 2019, extreme poverty is on its way to becoming history even as we usher in extreme peace, progress and prosperity in its place,” he said.
Reading out the terms of the MoU earlier, Ikimi, described the ‘’APC change’’ as a negative change, which Nigerians had come to reject.
“We have resolved to ensure zero tolerance for corruption. We further resolved to ensure competitiveness and economic growth and development.
“In pursuit thereto the parties hereby agree as follows: that the leadership of the parties are hereby committed to work together in a Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) determined to replace the present APC-led government with an acceptable government of national unity in 2019, which will promote cohesion among the coalition parties.
“To give hope to all Nigerians, the parties are committed to presenting a single presidential candidate to contest the 2019 election in order to enthrone a true democrat who will service the nation and heal the wounds caused by the APC government.
“That the parties will seek to promote acceptable core values for the restructuring of the federation, secure lives and properties and redirect the nation’s economy,” he said.
With ThisDay, Channels TV reports