By Omeiza Ajayi
Earlier in the week, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP went into a coalition with the Reformed All Progressives Congress R-APC, a splinter group within the ruling APC, along with 38 other political parties, a development that has seen few other parties led by the Peoples Democratic Movement PDM forming themselves into a Coalition for Progressives Political Parties CPPP and consequently aligning with the ruling party.
At a news conference Tuesday in Abuja, national chairman of the PDM, Alhaji Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim, said the CPPP was formed in the lead up to the 2015 general elections to support Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, but has now been resurrected to counter what he described as the “orchestrated PDP coalition” against the APC administration.
But the APC said it is unruffled by recent developments in the polity and that it has not gone into a coalition with any political party.
On the issue of coalition, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi told Saturday Vanguard that the ruling party has not entered into talks with any political party with regards to 2019.
“No, we have not had any such conversation (about forming a coalition). There is no such thing on the table. To the best of my knowledge, no such thing on the table”, he said.
Asked whether the APC would accept any such proposal from parties outside the CUPP, Abdullahi declined comments, saying it would be speculative for him to do otherwise.
CUPP, Dead on Arrival
In a related development, national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole said CUPP was dead on arrival and will never be a threat to to his party.
Describing members of the R-APC as mercenaries who mistakenly joined the ruling party, Oshiomhole said the group was free to find its nest elsewhere.
“However, for the mercenaries, who mistakenly joined the party because of what they could gain personally, not for the good of the country, not for the good of the party; they came in purely for greener pastures and they have found that they have had to work hard to plant the grass, to wet it, nourish it for it to become green and they cannot wait, they want to run, not because we have wronged them but because we just cannot satisfy a mercenary, for those ones, we will not only open the door, we are not ready to open even the windows. But I am ready to go to any length to persuade and appeal to genuine people who are aggrieved. However, I am not intimidated; I am not frightened, I am not impaired and I want to urge everyone of you individually and collectively that we cannot be intimidated. And if any of us had doubts, from what we saw the other day, a collection of old coaches searching frantically for new ideas. The more they search, the more they get old players, not even the best of them, but the worst of old players and I do not think Nigerians can be fooled by a coalition of that. If you harness the energy of one million snails and transform it into one snail to run, it cannot catch up with an Antelope. So, when we were told 50 political parties had merged to confront us towards 2019, I was excited because first, that is a clear admission that as things stand today, neither the one we defeated before, the PDP, nor the new one that claim they have formed a new party but populated by the same old tired legs, or the mushroom parties that were formed for the purpose of getting handouts from INEC but that they agreed that none of them has what it takes and they are now saying to Nigerians that ‘we want to capture power even though we are different, but for the purpose of capturing power, we will unite’, and I do not think Nigerians need any further explanation that enough of this opportunistic politicking”, he said.
CUPP, half-empty or half-full?
In forming the CUPP, its members said President Buhari has had his cup full with his lacklustre performances in several sectors, but while some pro-establishment sympathizers derisively refer to the coalition as a cup that is half-empty, others see it as half-full.
But is the cup really half-empty or half-full? It is still several months to the general elections and a lot of mileage can still be covered by the proponents of CUPP. However while the PDP continues to grapple with its damaged brand, the alleged main backers of the R-APC have not really come out to show support to the new coalition.
But the main issue however is the high level of non-literate voters in the country. With about 68 political parties, and more to be registered, and in a country where there are no distinguishing features among the parties, it could be pretty difficult for many voters to make informed choices.
The ballot paper would still have a list of all the registered political parties, in spite of CUPP. What this means is that a lot of people would still go ahead to vote for the individual parties that make up the coalition, but if the group decides to merge into a single fighting force, their chances of making a great impact in the general elections could be brightened.
How we will defeat CUPP in 2019
In spite of all these, the APC says it is easier to defeat the coalition because instead of fighting a multiplicity of forces, the concentration would now be on one group.
According to Oshiomhole, the APC will engage in persuading Nigerians to reflect President Muhammadu Buhari. One way he said the APC would defeat CUPP is in the area of nomination of candidates. For the ruling party, only popular candidates would be allowed to fly the party flags at all levels. “It is not going to be about who controls the ‘structure’. No”, he said. Consequently, where a moneybag is involved in its primary election, Oshiomhole said only the most popular aspirant would become its candidate irrespective of whether he has money or not. To this end, rather than allow only delegates to vote, he said the party has the option of throwing the primary election open to all its members to vote in the aspirant that they know can win in the actual election.
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