• Utomi: Atiku, Obi, Kwankwaso have agreed to work in alliance
• Don’t contest 2027 presidential poll – PDP group advises Atiku
• Your planned coalition dead on arrival, APC group tells Atiku
• Akande: Returning PDP to power will cause more suffering
With post-election issues being addressed at the Supreme Court and politicians accepting their fate, calculations are already ongoing ahead of the 2027 general elections three years away.
The Guardian gathered at the weekend that gladiators, most especially the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) are planning to form a formidable party that will sack the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Indeed, the moves echo the popular James Freeman Clarke’s quote, that a politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation.
In an interview aired on Channels Television yesterday, a political economist, convener of the National Consultative Front (NCFront) and an ally of LP’s Peter Obi, Prof. Pat Utomi, confirmed that the parties’ candidates in the 2023 presidential poll have agreed to form a mega party.
According to him, the proposed new political party is not conceived to actualise the presidential ambition of any of the candidates, but “it is about Nigeria and the ordinary people on the street.
“It’s a really clean start. You have to start from the premise that Nigeria has not had a political party since 1999. What we have managed is to create platforms that enable machine politics to grab power, usually for the purpose of state capture.”
When asked if Obi, for example, will be the presidential candidate of the new coalition, Utomi said: “No, we’re not talking about candidates now. We’re talking about what the party will look like, the values that the party will stand for, the policies that the party will stand for, and a national strategy.
“I give a small example. In South Africa, up to one level of the African National Congress (ANC), they had conversations about public policy, and all these flows back to pre and post-apartheid era. Who in the APC has an idea what APC is doing, even as one of those who founded it, one of those who wrote the roadmap? I wrote more than 10 letters to the National Chairmen of APC, I never got one single reply, not one.
“And so, the APC was just a concoction, a private enterprise of a few people that was justified with the people who they got to run around, and the object was simple – state capture. So, Nigeria needs a political party, not all of these things.”
Continuing, he said: “I’m not even thinking of 2027. Nigeria has become a circus of elections. Let’s leave elections for now. Let’s look at how our country can be made to work for everybody. And let’s create a political party that can bring the issues to the fore for all the Nigerian people to have the kind of consensus on how to solve problems. If we have that consensus, we will find Nigerians who can provide leadership positions and the provision of those positions will not be about what they get for themselves because this narcissism is a cancer that is tearing Nigerian politics down.
“What we need are people who sacrificially give up themselves to build a great country with their possible reward being immortality. I’ve had conversations with Atiku Abubakar, I’ve had conversations with Rabiu Kwankwaso, I have had conversations with Peter Obi and the people like Ralph Okey Nwosu of ADC are some of those that would probably constitute some of the base. And I’ve said to them, it’s not about you. It’s about Nigeria, it’s about the ordinary person in this state. It’s about really truly moving from this business of sharing trickles from oil sales to how we can become one of the most productive economies because our (natural) endowments allow that but our politics has not allowed Nigerian people to produce.”
Despite the optimism expressed by Utomi, Atiku of the PDP has expressed willingness to lead a coalition of opposition parties to oust APC come 2027. This came to the fore in a veiled reference from his congratulatory message to governors of the PDP whose elections were upheld by the Supreme Court on Friday.
In a statement, he described the decision of the court as good news for the people of Bauchi, Plateau, Cross River and Zamfara states, and indeed, a win for constitutional democracy.
Atiku was quoted as saying: “I am prepared as ever, to lead the charge, alongside all our leaders and governors, for the good of our country.”
Atiku-Abubakar. Photo: Channels
Atiku noted that with the electioneering phase now concluded, he is certain that the PDP will now be able to focus on its role as the major opposition party in the country, with the party’s able governors at the helm along with his humble self.
However, the APC Professionals Council has knocked the opposition parties in the country over its planned coalition ahead of 2027 general elections, declaring the move as dead on arrival. National Director-General of APC Professionals Council, Seyi Bamigbade, said this in Lagos State at the weekend.
Bamigbade, in his reaction, said the former vice president who had been routinely rejected by Nigerian voters severally, does not have the magic wand that would make him a sellable product before the masses. The APC chieftain counseled Atiku to instead focus on having a happy retirement from the stage, as he would be over 80 years before the next election.
He expressed the confidence that no amount of coalition would upstage the Bola Tinubu-led administration in the next election, saying Nigerians freely gave him their mandate to lead, which he said the president was carrying out with commitment and focus.
“By now, we believe the former vice president should be taking a deserving rest, having tried his best on the stage. He is not destined to lead the country and Nigerians have affirmed that when they rejected him in 2007, 2011, 2019 and 2023. His planned coalition will wield no magic wand. In fact, it is dead on arrival as the Nigerian people will still reject him again and again.”
Also, the pioneer Interim Chairman of APC, Bisi Akande, has warned against returning PDP to power in 2027. He noted that returning PDP to power would cause more suffering for Nigerians.
Akande said the proposal by the opposition parties to form a coalition and dislodge the ruling party at the federal level would not offer Nigerians respite from the current hardship.
Speaking to newsmen at the weekend as part of activities marking his 85th birthday, Akande, who led a coalition of the opposition parties, as the Interim National Chairman of the APC which defeated incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general elections, believed returning PDP to power would mean a continuation of suffering for Nigerians.
He said: “If PDP was rejected and the same PDP coalesced again and people say, okay we will go back to it, the people will go back to their suffering. PDP was defeated because it had no clue.
“APC came, it inherited a very difficult, weak, and dilapidated political and economic foundation called Nigeria. In driving, you are driving and suddenly, maybe something happens in front, and you have to turn. Whether you do it by U-turn or you do it another way, there will be screeches.
“Those are the screeches you are seeing now in repairing damages that have been done over the years. We are talking of damages done from 1960 to 2015 and no matter what, former President Muhammadu Buhari too was not perfect.
“The way he managed the dilapidated arrangement would not be the same way Bola Tinubu will manage it because they don’t come from the same background even if they are twins. Even their advisers will not be the same. So the effects won’t be the same on the society itself because society itself is weak already.”
Commenting further on the way out of the current economic hardship in the country, Akande said the desired change in fortune would depend on Nigerians and not the leadership in charge of the affairs of the nation.
Meanwhile, the Concerned PDP League (CPDPL), a pressure group within the PDP, has called on Atiku not to contest again in 2027. The group’s advice was contained in a communiqué signed on Sunday and released in Abuja by its National Secretary, Tasiu Muhammed, and acting National Director of Publicity and Strategic Communication, Gbenga Adedamola.
CPDPL also asked the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, not to nurse any ambition for the presidential office until 2031, to avoid a repeat of what happened to the party in 2015 and 2023.
According to the group, its advice was for interested aspirants from the North to understand that the South has eight years to do before power returns to the North in 2031. “Our advice is also to ensure stability in the political system of the country,” the group said.
“As we all know, 2023 was a very challenging year for our great party, with us losing the presidential election due to failure to abide by our party’s constitution of 2017, as amended, and failure of leadership,” CPDPL stated.