PDP Counters Atiku, Obi Alliance Discussions, Denies Merger Talks with Any Political Party

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The National Working Committee (NWC) of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday stated that it was not in any alliance talks with any political party, in a categorical rebuff of widely speculated alliance talks between its presidential candidate in the 2023 general election, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Peter Obi.

In a statement by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, after its 587th meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the party said it was not engaged in any merger, fusion or amalgamation talks with any political party or interest.

According to Ologunagba, “While the PDP, as a truly people’s party, is open and welcoming to all Nigerians, including our former members who left for other parties, we state that our party remains strong and formidable, capable of winning elections in a free, fair and transparent electoral process in our country.”

He added, “The NWC acknowledges the influx of millions of Nigerians into our party in the on-going party membership drive in all the electoral wards across the country; which further confirms that the PDP remains the party of choice for majority of Nigerians.

“The public, teeming members of our great party, democracy institutions and, of course, the international community should, therefore, disregard any report suggesting any form of merger between the PDP and any other political party, as such is not in the contemplation of our great party.”

Obi had last month held a closed-door meeting in Abuja with Atiku and a number of PDP stalwarts.

The LP presidential candidate also met separately with a former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, a development that sparked speculation about a potential coalition ahead of the 2027 general election.

Obi was a member of PDP until 2022, when he defected to LP to pursue his presidential ambition.

He came third, behind Atiku in the February 23 presidential election, which was won by Bola Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC).

Pundits argued that Atiku’s 6,984,520 votes and Obi’s 6,101,533 votes would have secured victory against Tinubu, who garnered 8,794,726 votes.

The meeting was the first time since after the election that Obi and Atiku would be meeting to public knowledge.

In 2019, both Atiku and Obi ran on the PDP joint ticket but were defeated by former President Muhammadu Buhari of APC.

But due to internal conflicts, Obi, who served as Atiku’s running mate in 2019, left PDP and contested the 2023 presidential election as the candidate of LP.

Speaking with news men after the meeting, Atiku’s media adviser, Paul Ibe, suggested the potential for a coalition ahead of the 2027 presidential election.

The aide also confirmed that Obi’s meeting with Atiku lasted approximately 20 minutes.

Ibe stated, “Yes, Peter Obi visited Atiku Abubakar. They met for about 20 minutes behind closed-doors; so, we wouldn’t know what was said, and they didn’t disclose anything to us.

“Since Atiku Abubakar mentioned coalition discussions and such, I believe that both of them must have been engaged in dialogue. And I did mention that they wouldn’t be discussing it in the media. So, they have, indeed, been in discussions and it is just a matter of those discussions bearing fruit.”

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