In the wake of the crises rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the National Consultative Front (NCFront) has scheduled a meeting for next Tuesday in Abuja. New National Star learnt that the meeting would receive a report of the 22-man Merger and Alliance Committee chaired by Chief Ralph Okey-Nwosu for ratification. The meeting would be chaired by a foremost political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, who is the co-convener of the group.
The political merger committee includes 12 national chairpersons of national political parties and nine major political movements and interest groups. It 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 people by the ruling political parties in Nigeria.”
Headed by former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Umar Ghali Na’ Abba, the committee is mandated to negotiate and facilitate an inclusive Mega Party Movement for Nigerians. While inaugurating the merger committee, Utomi had listed other members of the committee as Chief Raph Okey Nwosu (ADC, National Chairman) as Vice Chair and Dr Olu Agunloye (SDP National Chairman) as secretary. Others are Dr Osagie Obayuwana (former national chairman, NCP), Ezekiel Nya Etok(former chairman, YDP), Peter Ameh (former chairman of IPAC and PPA); Dr Tanko Yunusa ((National Chairman, NCP); and Senator Zainab A. Kure. Members also include Jumoke Akindele (former Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly), Chief Precious Elekima (national chairman, PLIF); Senator Folashade Grace Bent; Dr Aisha Lemu, Alhaji Hamisu Santuraki (National Chairman, MPN) and Mark Adebayo (National Chairman, KOWA Party). Others are former NLC Vice President, Issa Aremu, representing labour, Seni Ajayi (Socialist Bloc); Mrs Georgina Dakpokpo (National Chairperson, Young Democratic Party, YDP); and Kassim Balarabe Musa, (Socialist Movement of Nigeria). Although the agenda of the meeting is being kept under wraps, our correspondent gathered that the meeting would, upon receipt of the report of the committee, agree on a suitable name and acronym for the new mega party. This is, however, subject to the ratification by the “top stakeholders” invited to the meeting. The National Secretary, Olawale Okunniyi, and the Spokesman for NCFront, Dr. Tanko Yinusa, confirmed the meeting to New National Star in a telephone conversation on Sunday. Okunniyi said the proposed meeting would also discuss issues around electronic voting, electronic transmission of results and diaspora voting. Recall that the National Assembly recently passed the Electoral Amendment Bill with a caveat that voting results could only be transmitted electronically in areas certified by the National Communication Commission (NCC) to have internet signals. This has, however, generated a hot debate in the public with civil society organisations accusing the assembly of frustrating efforts to sanitise the electoral system.
Okuniyi said, “We are consulting top stakeholders to build a political alliance and coalition for electoral reforms, particularly electronic transmission of results and electronic voting as well as diaspora voting.” The national scribe said the NCFront was not unmindful of the crisis rocking the two major political parties in the country, saying the time had come for Nigerians to be offered a credible alternative. “I don’t think the two parties can survive the crises. Before the end of the year, there will be a great division. I’m sure there will be a realignment of forces. The merger committee has the mandate to reach out to people of like mind,” Okunniyi added. Also speaking to our correspondent, the spokesman for the group and the National Chairman of National Conscience Party (NCP), Tanko Yinusa, said the NCFront was hoping to cash in on the crises in the PDP and APC.
He said, “The agenda is to come up with a new political party that will be acceptable to Nigerians. We are hoping that by the end of the meeting the name and the acronym of the party would have emerged so that Nigerians should start gravitating towards it. It is our hope the resolutions will end up in that regard. “The target is not about the APC or the PDP. Our target is to bring on board Nigerians that are willing to rescue the country from poverty and economic downfall. We are looking forward to building a political party that will be acceptable to Nigerians towards 2023. So, everybody that has best interests of Nigeria at heart is welcome. “We are looking for credible people who have proved themselves over time and are willing to work within the programmes that will be set up for Nigerians. “The merger is not all about forming a new political party; it is also about collaboration with other political parties. We are of different political parties; we are coming together to form a common front. It is to form a single block of those who have proven themselves over the years. We are expecting alignment and realignment ahead of 2023.” Yinusa said the leadership crises rocking the APC and the PDP were results of the hardship they had imposed on Nigerians, adding that the NCFront would not welcome politicians of shady character into its shade.
“Crisis happens in a political party that is not built on sound footing. It happens in a political party that has not been able to deliver on the promises made to the people. It happens in a political party that accommodates all kinds of people that have no business in governance. “It happens in a party where communication gap becomes a big problem among members and with the electorate. It happens in a political party that has not shown any kind of love to the people and people become aggrieved over time,” he added.