The Labour Party has described the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar’s merger proposal as a good proposal that should be considered.
But the New Nigeria People’s Party said it could only accept the proposal if Atiku would support a former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress in 2027.
The major opposition parties were reacting to the call by Atiku, on Tuesday, that opposition parties should enter a merger to dislodge the APC from power.
The PUNCH reports that Atiku made the merger proposition while hosting the National Executive Committee of the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria.
The former Vice President warned against the likelihood of Nigeria slipping into a one-party state.
He said, “We have all seen how the APC is increasingly turning Nigeria into a dictatorship of one party. If we don’t come together to challenge what the ruling party is trying to create, our democracy will suffer for it, and the consequences of it will affect the generations yet unborn.”
In an exclusive interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday, the acting National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Obiora Ifoh, described Atiku’s call as a good preposition that should be considered by every Nigerian.
Ifoh said, “Atiku’s call is a proposition, and every Nigeria will consider a good proposition that is meant to remove the Octopus in power because they are not democrats.
“Every Nigerian is interested in having a true democracy. What we have now is far away from democracy. So, if there is a preposition by opposition elements to ensure that democracy is installed, why not? That preposition must be given a good thought. Anything that will make Nigerians witness democracy is accepted.”
But the NNPP described Atiku’s call as emotional and medicine after death.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Yakubu Shendam, said any merger being considered must be to support Kwankwaso to become President, otherwise, the NNPP was not interested.
Shendam said, “This is like medicine after death. If there is any future collaboration, it should not be as a result of emotions. We are going all along because we have a gladiator who has the capacity to take over Nigeria.
“We believe that there is a need to canvass for support from people to win the election, from all sides. However, we believe that single-handedly Kwankwaso can deliver Nigeria in 2027.
“But that doesn’t mean that we are not looking for players like Atiku to join our party. If there is going to be a merger, it should be with the NNPP, because Atiku is now retiring, so, he should support Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
“We don’t want to join forces with people who are under emotions but we are comfortable as a party having a person like Rabiu Kwankwaso, as our national leader. We are calling on Atiku as an elder brother to close ranks with Kwankwaso if he wants to be relevant in 2027.”
Meanwhile, the ruling APC said it was not moved or threatened by Atiku’s call for opposition parties to close ranks against the ruling party.
The APC Publicity Director, Bala Ibrahim, said, “How and why should we (be threatened)? Atiku has been trashed in the court and trashed in the public opinion. In what way does Atiku and his party have the wherewithal to instill threat in the mind of the party in power?
“The PDP, as far as Nigeria is concerned, is inconsequential. Atiku and the PDP do not have the power to instill fear in the ruling party, especially a party that is progressive.” (Punch)