- There may be an alliance between the presidential candidates of the NNPC and LP, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Peter Obi
- If comes true, the union would put the rising political base of the candidate of APC, Asiwaju Tinubu, in danger in the southwest
- Kwankwaso, the leader of Kwankwasiyya movement, is very popular in the north, especially among the downtrodden who form the large chunks of the electorate
Findings by Punch indicate that the joint panel set up by the Labour Party (LP) and the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) to work out an alliance between Rabiu Kwankwaso and Peter Obi has submitted its report for consideration.
Legit.ng gathered that Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the NNPP, is said to have a strong followership in the north with his Kwankwasiyya movement, while Obi, a former Anambra state governor and LP presidential candidate, is having an increasing support base among youths in the southern part of the country and the social media.
According to the report, while it is no longer possible for political parties to merge, in line with Section 81 (2) of the Electoral Act, both presidential candidates are working on a joint ticket with the hope of defeating the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and others in the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
The Section 81 (2) said that political parties intending to merge shall each give to the commission nine months’ notice of their intention to do so before a general election.”
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However, the 2023 general elections will commence on February 25, which is less than nine months away.
Kwankwaso had, in an interview about a week ago, confirmed that a committee was set up to work on the alliance and that conversation was ongoing.
“We are in talks with Peter Obi and a committee is working to look into how to form a merger between us. The merger is important because as you can see, both the ruling All Progressives Congress and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party did not pick their running mates from the southeast.”
There is a mounting anxiety among the supporters of the two candidates over the progress made in the alliance talks as the deadline for the substitution of candidates and running mates for the presidential and National Assembly candidates draws near.
The panel concludes its meeting on the possible alliance
The running mate to Obi and director-general of his campaign organisation, Doyin Okupe, confirmed to newspaper that the panel had concluded its sitting and talks were ongoing on the way forward.
“A committee was set up before now and the committee has completed its work. There have been informal meetings and third party stakeholders interventions and we have had structured official meetings too.
“In all, we came to two agreements; one is that we are going to work together as political parties in order to achieve this change that we all desire. What we did not agree upon is who would be the president and who would be the vice-president. We didn’t agree on that. But we left it open.”
Asked if the parties would agree on the issue before the deadline for political parties to submit the names of their final running mates, Okupe added:
“We are aware of the deadline, and we are working on it. When we adjourned our last meeting, we adjourned sine die. So, if there is a change, we will reconvene. But we are moving on. There is no problem. We have agreed to work together to create a platform for a national coalition, so that objective is still in place.”
The national chairman, NNPP, Prof Rufai Alkali, also told the newspaper that the party was engaging with the people and getting support and solidarity from many places.
When asked who would become the candidate and running mate between Kwankwaso and Obi, Alkali said:
“Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso is a seasoned politician and he knows the country very well. Certain decisions have to be taken at the appropriate time in a way and manner that would bring more strength and credibility to this journey.”
Atiku gets tough demand from southwest PDP leaders ahead of presidential poll
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), intensified his efforts to win votes from the southwest geo-political zone in the forthcoming presidential election.
It was reported that this followed the emergence of a former governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Some party chieftains in the southwest were said to be demanding fair consideration from the party and Atiku as an incentive for the region.