PDP Rallies 39 Parties on Consensus Candidate

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•Again, Buhari promises free, fair elections in 2019

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday continued its bid to upstage the All Progressives Congress (APC) from power as it rallies its 39 allies in the Coalition of Political Parties (CUPP) to a meeting that would begin the process of selecting a consensus presidential candidate that would challenge President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general elections.

The meeting, which was chaired by the Chairman of the CUPP Steering Committee, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, had in attendance the National Chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae; the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus; Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC) Chairman, Alhaji Buba Galadima; Leadership of National Intervention Movement, Alhaji Tafawa Belewa; former Cross River State governor, Senator Liyel Imoke; and all the chairmen of the coalescing parties.

A statement by the spokesperson of the coalition, Mr. Ikenga Ugochinyere, revealed that the meeting was held at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Center, Abuja where the decision was taken to start the process that would lead to the eventual selection of the consensus candidate for the major opposition parties in Nigeria.
According to him, “The CUPP chieftains pledged their readiness and commitment to forge a common front to chase out the incompetent APC led administration, and rescue the country from the gradual drift to the state of economic hopelessness and reign of impunity.”

Again, Buhari Promises Free, Fair Elections in 2019

Meanwhile Buhari has reassured Nigerians and the international community that the forthcoming general elections in 2019 will be free and fair, saying it would usher the country into another clime of maturity, peace and unity.

He gave the assurance when he received Letters of Credence from four ambassadors at the State House, including the Ambassador of the Peoples’ Republic of Japan, Yutaka Kikuta.
The president noted that the country’s political and electoral institutions had continued to evolve in strength, skill and experience after each election.

He said, “We are currently at the threshold of another general election and after five general elections in the country since 1999, we expect that the 2019 elections will be free and fair.
“The political system is good and if people work hard they will succeed.’’

According to him, the increase in number of political parties that will field candidates in 2019 elections indicates more democratic consciousness among Nigerians and willingness to serve the country.
Receiving Letter of Credence from the Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Alexey Shebarshin, the president noted that discussions on reviving the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, partnerships in agriculture and other bilateral interests in trade and economic development would be sustained.
He commended the country for always standing by Nigeria.

“We have opened discussions on the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, and we will continue,’’ he added.
The president told the Ambassador of Brazil, Richardo Guerra De Araujo, that the historical ties between both countries and the shared potential for growth would be further explored.
He stressed that this would be done with strong emphasis on economic and social development.
He noted that the number of Nigerians in Brazil had already provided a strong reason for deeper and richer discussions for both countries.

Receiving the Letter of Credence of the Ambassador of United Arab Emirates, Fahad Al Taffaq, Buhari assured him that Nigeria remained committed to strengthening the bilateral relationship that has existed between both countries for many years.
The president said the courtesies extended to Nigerians in the United Arab Emirates was commendable, and assured the envoy that his administration would continue to strengthen business and trade relations between both countries.

In his remarks, the Ambassador of Japan said his country remained grateful for Nigeria’s concern and support during the flooding that devastated the country.

He promised to work hard to further enhance relations in technology, agriculture and trade.
The Ambassadors of Russia, Brazil and United Arab Emirates assured the president that they would work hard to ensure improved relations in key sectors of the economy.
They all wished Nigeria the best in the forthcoming elections.