Inspired By Senegalese Election, Atiku Rallies Opposition to Form Coalition

Inspired By Senegalese Election, Atiku Rallies Opposition to Form Coalition

·      Says outcome gives hope to future of constitutional democracy

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Motivated by the outcome of the recent presidential election in Senegal, which produced 44-year-old Bassirou Diomaye Faye as president of that country, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has called on opposition political parties in Nigeria to learn from the exercise and form a coalition ahead of the 2027 general election.

Congratulating the Senegalese president-elect, Atiku said one of the ways to remove APC from office was for opposition political parties to unite into a strong coalition, as was the case in 2015, when the opposition rallied together to remove the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from power.

In 2014, the now defunct parties: Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), and other smaller political parties formed a coalition that removed the PDP government under President Goodluck Jonathan from office.

Already, Atiku, who was the presidential candidate of PDP in last year’s general election; the Labour Party (LP) presidential election, Peter Obi; and their counterpart from New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, had been contemplating a coalition to oust APC in 2027.

In a statement highlighting lessons from the Senegalese presidential election, Atiku said, “Against the backdrop of recent military interventions in the West African sub-region, the election of Bassirou Diomaye Faye as Senegal’s President-elect in the election of March 24, 2024 gives hope to the future of constitutional democracy in the region.

“For us in Nigeria and elsewhere, there’s a huge lesson to be learnt from the Senegal experience. It is an affirmation that democracy, which is anchored on the supremacy of the ballot, represents the best form of government.

“It is also possible for the electoral umpire to run an election on the basis of the law and its own guidelines that give confidence to all parties and the voters.

“Our experiences in both 2019 and 2023 show clearly that INEC performed below this expectation.

“Whereas in Senegal, the responses of the major actors and the citizens are a validation of the process of the election that voted for President-elect Bassirou Diomaye.”

Atiku added, “It is important to note that last Sunday’s election in Senegal follows the trend of that in Nigeria in 2015, that the opposition can, indeed, be victorious in an election conducted by the ruling party.

“And, for the opposition parties, the lessons are in agreement with my persistent call for our opposition parties to forge a coalition that is formidable enough to oust the ruling party if the salvaging of Nigeria is to stand any chance.”

The PDP 2023 presidential candidate congratulated the Senegalese president-elect, saying, “President-elect Faye, it is my hope and prayer that your election will not only be hugely beneficial to the people of Senegal but also an inspiration to the rest of us in the West African sub-region.”

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