• Sign MoU to field single presidential candidate
• Galadima: Buhari should not attempt to contest
Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Reformed All Progressives Congress (rAPC) and 37 other political parties, agreeing to work out an arrangement by which they would produce a common presidential candidate to oust the ruling All Progressives Congress’ (APC) presumptive candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, in the impending 2019 general election.
The MoU produced the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), which would be the special purpose vehicle for the achievement of their sole aim of picking a consensus presidential standard-bearer.
THISDAY had reported Monday that the main opposition party, the PDP, was arranging a coalition of 45 political parties to stand up to the APC in the 2019 general election.
The coalition also resolved to seek and promote acceptable core values for the restructuring of the federation, secure lives and property and redirect the nation’s economy.
The 39 parties which signed the MoU at a crowded ceremony in Abuja Monday, include, PDP, rAPC, Social Democratic Party (SDP), African Democratic Party (ADC), Action Alliance (AA), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Action Democratic Party (ADP), Action Peoples Party (APP), Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP), Democratic Alternative (DA) and Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC).
Others are National Conscience Party (NCP), New Generation Party (NGP), National Unity Party (NUP), Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Providence Peoples Congress (PPC), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Restoration Party of Nigeria (RPN), Young Democratic Party (YDP), KOWA Party, Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), C4C and others.
Kicking off the event, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, said signing of the alliance by the parties marked the commencement of the determined efforts to rescue the country from sufferings and bad governance, saying: “We are ready to go to detention until our freedom and good governance is restored.”
He said PDP was committed to fighting corruption in a most civilised manner and not the crude method of framing people by the APC.
Using the opportunity to comment on Ekiti State governorship election slated for Saturday, he asked President Buhari to prevail on his party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the election was free and fair.
He added that PDP would resist any move to rig the Ekiti State governorship election, threatening that there would be no election in 2019 if the Ekiti election was rigged.
Reminding the security agents that their responsibility is not to do the bidding of one man but Nigerians, he lamented the wanton killings of innocent Nigerians.
The National Chairman of the rAPC, the break-away faction of APC, Alhaji Buba Galadima, said he was highly delighted and elated by the presence of the cream de la cream of the Nigerian society seated for the MoU.
According to him, “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.’’
Galadima cautioned that the MoU is not going to be a tea party, saying: ‘’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.’’
He added: “From the day we announced the formation of the rAPC, 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.’’
Speaking more on the reason for the gathering, the former National Secretary, PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ben Obi, said the parties had come to sign an MoU, explaining that the political parties in alliance had resolved to reverse all the anomalies in governance brought about by the inept Buhari-led administration.
While reading the terms of the new alliance, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi, described the ‘’APC change’’ as a negative change, which Nigerians had come to reject.
In the terms of the MoU, the parties said: “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.”
Apart from the MoU signed Monday, the CUPP said that it would in due course present to Nigerians “a people-oriented manifesto’’ that is meant to ensure that Nigerians feel the immediate impact of good governance as soon as the parties form a national unity government in 2019.
On his part, the SDP National Chairman, Chief Olu Falae, cautioned stakeholders in the new political alliance to ensure that they do not allow individual ambition to cripple the alliance.
Also speaking on behalf of other governors, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Emmanuel Udom, advised members of the coalition to ensure that they do not lose sight of the direction of the initiators, adding that the coalition is for a new Nigeria.
He used the opportunity to solicit the support of political parties in the alliance for the candidate of the PDP in the Ekiti State governorship election as a mark of the new spirit to win Nigeria back from the APC.
The Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu, said the signing of MoU marks the dawn of a new Nigeria, advising leaders of the coalition never to disappoint Nigerians.
He added that many Nigerians who watched Monday’s event were smiling because they believed that Nigeria was coming back to life.
Senator Dino Melaye said: “The task to bring back Nigeria is one of no retreat, no surrender,” advising those who are still contemplating joining the PDP to make haste before it is too late.
He added that APC would lose power in 2019, adding that Buhari was entitled to failure and that he was going to fail in 2019.
An rAPC chieftain, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, in his remark, said it took him almost one and a half hours to access the venue of the meeting because of the crowd, describing the defection, which saw some of them defecting to APC along with some governors as “going astray”.
He thanked the PDP for accepting and absorbing them back into its fold despite what they did.
Former PDP National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, said these were not the best of times for our country, adding that the past three years had seen the people impoverished to the extent that the Brooklyn Institute 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,’’ he stated.
Oyinlola added: “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.’’