Wednesday, 7 December 2016

New Mega Party Targets 16 Governors Towards 2019 Elections

With an eye firmly fixed on the 2018
governorship polls in Ekiti and Osun States
and 2019 general election, the movers of
the proposed new mega party are already
targeting at least 16 states of the federation
whose governors they are confident will
decamp to the new party, to bolster their
chances of unseating the present
government of President Muhammadu
Buhari.
The new opposition party is believed to
have the tacit support of the Senator
Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP) that currently
controls 11 states in the country, a National
Leader of the ruling All Progressives
Congress (APC), Chief Bola Ahmed
Tinbubu, and former Vice-President Atiku
Abubakar, a major chieftain of the APC.
Both APC leaders have, however, denied
their involvement in the proposed party,
saying they remained committed to the
APC.
Some of the states being considered for the
taking are spread across five crucial geo-
political zones of the country, with the
calculation that once the new party is able
to hold down these states, the others could
be turned into battleground states, where it
would compete for votes with the APC to
shore up its chances in the 2019 elections.
The states already considered to be the
strongholds of the proposed mega party
are Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu in the South-
east; Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Cross River
and Bayelsa in the South-south; Osun, Oyo,
Ekiti and Lagos in the South-west; Gombe,
Taraba, Adamawa in the North East; and
for now Benue State in the North-central
zone.
Since the governors of the 16 states are
seen to be sympathetic to the cause of the
mega party, either directly or indirectly,
their membership would most likely be
taken for granted, while the party is
saddled with the task of concentrating on
areas where it is considered to be relatively
weak.
The movers behind the new party are of
the view that if they must make any
meaningful impact in the elections in 2018
and 2019, respectively, then certain states
are germane to the victory.
However, whilst the backers of the party
are working on a winning strategy, the
Makarfi-led PDP, sources confirmed
yesterday, has expressed disappointment in
the way Atiku and Tinubu denied their
involvement in the formation of the new
party.
The PDP leadership, THISDAY gathered,
while trying to empathise with the
concerns Atiku and Tinubu might have
over the news of their involvement in the
proposed party coming out too early in the
day, however, some members of the PDP
felt that they should have known what they
were up against from the outset.
According to a PDP chieftain, “We would
have expected Atiku and Tinubu to have
been more strategic in their reactions to
the news.
“They just proved that they could develop
cold feet at the slightest whiff and are not
really prepared to take on the challenges
that lie ahead. Their denials could be a
setback for the mega party, as there is no
way the formation can progress with this
kind of attitude.
“We know it is going to be tough, but we
must be ready to live with the
consequences.”
From the perspective of the PDP, the
source said the party was on the verge of
putting its house in order and was
preparing to start a new chapter, adding
that once the challenges related to the
leadership tussle are cleared, it would be
in a better position to fully concentrate on
the talks for a new mega party, which he
described as the only joker for the 2019
elections.
He said the argument by some concerned
observers about the Makarfi-led PDP not
really needing an alliance or merger the
minute it settles its leadership crisis may
be logical, but noted that the battle to
unseat an incumbent president in Nigeria
was not an easy one to be prosecuted by
one party alone however strong, hence the
need for co-operation from people of like-
minds to pool resources.
He noted that with the PDP going into talks
with anyone as a united family, this would
give it better grounds for negotiations and
that the concerns about anyone selling out
or undoing the party would be unfounded
once the other faction has been completely
neutralised.
“At least, we know that the Ali Modu
Sheriff faction is working for and with the
APC. So, the fears about the kind of
damage they could do would have been
adequately checkmated with their exit.
“The collaboration is therefore important
and key to the success of our collective
plan to take over the government and lead
the nation to a better place,” he said.
He described the issue of the presidential
candidacy as too early in the day since the
consolidation of the proposed party was
yet to take place.
“It is true that the APC wing of the
proposed party might have been pondering
their options on the choice of candidate for
the presidency, but the PDP too has its own
take on all of this and there are many
options from which the ideal candidate can
be chosen.
“But first, we need to tidy up the
amalgamation and other things will
follow,” he said.
The source did not however dismiss the
influence of former President Olusegun
Obasanjo on the choice of a presidential
candidate for the mega party, but
expressed concern about Obasanjo’s
opposition to Atiku and former President
Goodluck Jonathan, both of whom he said
the former president had vowed never to
have anything to do with.
“His take on Atiku is particularly
worrisome because he once said even if he
dies today and Atiku was coasting home to
the presidency, he would beg God to let
him come back to life, finish him off and
then return to God.
“You may want to laugh this off, but it is
deep and speaks so much about his disdain
for these two persons, Atiku especially,” he
said.
STATES ON THE RADAR OF NEW MEGA
PARTY:
•Lagos
•Oyo
•Osun
•Ekiti
•Enugu
•Ebonyi
•Abia
•Delta
•Bayelsa
•Rivers
•Akwa Ibom
•Cross River
•Taraba
•Gombe

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