- The chances of an alliance between former Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso seem impossible contrary to what many had expected
- An associate of Obi, Dr. Doyin Okupe said the talks with New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) made no headway since about four weeks ago
- He accused NNPP officials of hammering on the issue even when the Labour Party has since pulled out of the negotiations
FCT, Abuja - Labour Party (LP) chieftain, Dr Doyin Okupe, has said the LP/NNPP alliance talks collapsed about a month ago.
Speaking on Channels Television, Okupe said the merger failed because Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the NNPP insisted on being the presidential flagbearer.
He said the LP couldn't have agreed to it because a northern Muslim of the same northwest geo-political zone, President Muhammadu Buhari, is about to complete eight years in office.
He said during coalition talks he had asked the NNPP leadership if it was fair to field Kwankwaso, a northerner, of which the NNPP leadership said there was nothing wrong with that.
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Okupe revealed that LP is now looking at a young running mate of northern extraction.
“That discussion, or those discussions about a merger, alliance, and all that were led by me from our side; is dead and buried.
“It is not Mr. Peter Obi; the Labour Party and its presidential candidate have long since withdrawn from that conversation and it was NNPP that continued to try to benefit from the traction of the popularity of Obi.
“Out of maturity, I decided that we will not take them on media-wise, so we kept quiet, but they kept going on.
“The talk for an alliance had been dead for over four weeks. I am the leader of the team that went to discuss with Kwankwaso’s team, and it was dead.
“The moment I asked them one single question: would they consider it appropriate and okay for a president of northern extraction and Muslim to finish eight years and another Muslim northerner from the next state to take over?
“And they said there is nothing wrong with that; as far as I’m concerned, the discussion was over and it has remained over since then.”
2023: Peter Obi urged to pick Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed as running mate
Meanwhile, Obi has been advised by several of his supporters to pick Hon. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed as his running mate.
Baba-Ahmed served as the House of Representatives member for Zaria Federal Constituency from 2003 to 2007.
He also served as the senator representing Kaduna North senatorial district from 2011 to 2012.
Peter Obi not a hater of northerners, says Aide
In a related development, the media aide to Obi, Valentine Obienyem, has denied reports that his principal is a religious bigot and a hater of people of northern Nigerian extraction.
Obienyem, in a statement on Thursday, June 30, said some faceless groups, sponsored by political opponents, are responsible for spreading falsehood about Obi due to his growing popularity.
The statement comes in reaction to earlier reports which claimed Obi didn’t respond appropriately to the killing of some northerners in Anambra back in March 2006.