CUPP to Unveil Atiku as Coalition Candidate This Week

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• Condemns police involvement in A’Ibom’ crisis

Gboyega Akinsanmi

A coalition of 39 political parties under the aegis of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) will this week adopt former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the coalition candidate for the presidential election scheduled to hold February 16, 2019, THISDAY can report.

A CUPP source anonymously disclosed the plans to THISDAY yesterday because he was not authorised to speak formally on the decision of the coalition set up to foil the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The CUPP is an alliance of 39 political parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Labour Party (LP), among others.

Established with the aim of wrestling power from the ruling All Progressives Congress in 2019, members of the CUPP had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to field and support a joint presidential candidate to confront the ruling party in the 2019 presidential election.

To actualise its core objective, the CUPP chieftain confided in THISDAY that the coalition “is going to adopt Atiku as its presidential candidate next week,” saying it was the way to go considering the dictatorial posture of the ruling party and the spate of killing across the federation.

According to the source, it will enhance Atiku’s candidacy. When adopted, Atiku will no longer be the PDP candidate. We will come out clear next week with Atiku as our coalition candidate for the presidential election.

He disclosed that members of the coalition “held a meeting on Wednesday on the adoption of the coalition presidential candidate. There will be another meeting on Friday. Next week, we should come up with a common presidential candidate to wrestle power from the APC.”

Another CUPP scribe, Chief Olasupo Shonibare noted that the coalition in strong terms condemned the alleged police involvement in the crisis rocking the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

He explained that the opposition parties would resist any attempt to unconstitutionally remove Governor Udom Emmanuel, saying the CUPP had at its recent meetings looked at the role of the Nigeria Police in the political crisis rocking the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly with grave concern and apprehension.

He observed that the CUPP perceived the case of Akwa Ibom as a demonstration of the imperative for devolution of power and the need to unbundle the Police from political, executive and central control for operational matters.

He explained that the Awka Ibom State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Musa Kimo “is taking instructions from the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Ibrahim Idris. The IGP is unashamedly an APC enforcer. They conspired to attempt to use minority votes of five to unseat a serving governor just because he belongs to an opposition party.”

Shonibare noted that the ruling APC had used the Police in recent governorship elections in Ekiti State and more recently in Osun State. He also stated that international observers made the observation that the elections were compromised.

He noted that the opposition groups “will resist any attempt to unconstitutionally remove the Akwa Ibom Governor as this is a prelude to dictatorship which although we are not resident in Akwa Ibom, we can anticipate that if this is not resisted now, it will be our turn next time.”

“It is not the sitting governor who is using his influence in Akwa Ibom. It is the federal government targeting Akwa Ibom as a soft South-south state that they can impose a minority rule after it failed to convince Governor Udom Emmanuel to decamp from PDP to APC.

“Senator Godswill Akpabio who is now in their APC is being used against the Governor to destabilise the state and entrench the APC rule. Having failed to buy over the Akwa Ibom State Assembly, they then embarked upon a fallback of using only five legislators to impeach the governor. The Police were willing tools.”