Thirty-nine political parties have formed an alliance to wrest power from President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general elections.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is acting as the rallying point for the alliance, under the aegis of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP).
But the Buhari Campaign Organisation has dismissed the coalition as a “deceit”, which it believes will only feather the PDP’s nest.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was signed by the parties at the end of an enlarged meeting at the Yar ‘Adua Centre, Abuja yesterday, resolved, among others, to field a joint presidential candidate.
The coalition also resolved to agree on common candidates for governorship, National Assembly and state assembly elections across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The MoU, which was read by Chief Tom Ikimi, also resolved to promote core values for the restructuring of the country and sharing of political offices among persons and groups across the six geopolitical zones.
The coalition also promised a unity government in the event of winning the election with a joint manifesto that will usher in a well structured economic and fiscal federalism.
Besides the PDP, other parties in the coalition include the Action Alliance (AA); Alliance for Democracy (AD); Africa Democratic Party (ADC); Action Democratic Party (ADP); All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP); Action Peoples Party (APP); Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD); and Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP).
Others are: Democratic Alternative (DA); Democratic Peoples Party (DPC); Grand Democratic Party of Nigeria (GDPN); Green Party of Nigeria (GPN); KOWA Party; Labour Party (LP); Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA); and Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN).
Also in the group are: National Conscience Party (NCP); New Generation Party (NGP); National Unity Party (NUP); Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM); Peoples Alliance for National Development and Liberty (PANDEL); Peoples Progressive Party (PPP); People for Democratic Change (PDC); Providence People’s Congress (PPC); and the Reformed All Progressive Congress (RAPC).
Others are the Restoration Party of Nigeria (RPN); Social Democratic Party (SDP); Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN); All Grassroots Alliance (AGA); National Interest Party (NIP); Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP); Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA); and Young Democratic Party (YDP) among others.
Speaking at the event, PDP National Chairman Uche Secondus said the country has witnessed all forms of intimidation aimed at suffocating democracy in the land.
Secondus also cited what he described as frame-ups, arrest and total breakdown of law and order in some states, such as Zamfara, where the governor relinquished his position as the chief security officer.
The PDP chairman said, “Just last week, the APC conquest regime came up with Executive Order which all political watchers, including civil society groups, likened to Decree 2 of the military era.”
Also speaking at the event, PDP National Chairman Chief Olu Falae said there was need for the coalition to produce overwhelming majority in the federal and state legislatures to form the required majority for the restructuring of the country.
Speaking as national chairman of the R-APC, Alhaji Buba Galadima said his presence at the event alone signified a lot.
Said he: “I am highly delighted and elated by the presence of the creme de la creme of the Nigerian society seated here. What we are about to do will send the shivers not only to those on the other side but to the entire world.
“We are witnessing a significant event, most diplomats and leaders of other countries of the world keep wondering whether there are men and women of courage and integrity in this country.
“Let me say that since we made a declaration of the formation of the Reformed All Progressives Congress, R-APC, we have received unprecedented messages of support, solidarity from all over the world.
“I am confident that if we put our acts together, should we talk together, if we are fair to ourselves, do things transparently and bring up one man or woman, we will provide future for our children and grandchildren.
“This is not going to be a tea party, there are demands we will be facing. He (Buhari) is a military General, but we know him and you know that I know him. If I were him and if I were his adviser, I would advise him not to attempt to contest.
“I have my reasons. If what I know, if what I have access to and I know, I assure you that General Buhari will not only lose the election but will lose his deposit.
“I said it is not going to be a tea party because from the day we announced the formation of the Reformed APC, a lot of people received threats, a lot of people received gratification and a lot of people received the pressures from all quarters to persuade them to back out. But one person that most people could not approach I don’t want to mention names.
“Some of us are old soldiers and history said they never die. We are ready, prepared to take on this fight despite any deprivation, intimidation and even torture because this country belongs to all of us.
“They are thinking of setting aside public money, which they accused others of using during elections, for this purpose. They can use the big stick because you know a desperate person can do anything. He can kill, if he has power, he can arrest and detain, but whichever one they choose to do, we are prepared to lay down our lives to save our nation.
“They can say anything, they say we are inconsequential, they said we don’t matter, but when we were forming the party, the APC of which I was one of the nine signatories, those people that are making this noise, we did not see their faces, neither did we see their signatures. So how could they say we are inconsequential?
“And if we are inconsequential, why would they run helter sklter, from pole to pole going to the National Assembly to persuade my people that they should not leave? So this is a challenge to them and I assure you seated here that if we put our acts together, talk together, discuss together, the sky is our limit and success is ours.”
Deputy President of the Senate Ike Ekweremadu said signing the MoU would rescue Nigeria in 2019 and restore her to the path of democratic freedoms, joy, security, and development.
Ekweremadu added that the event was a gathering to witness the birth of a new Nigeria and to show that Nigerians have seen hope again. He urged the coalition not to disappoint the Nigerian people.
Ekweremadu said: “For three years, what I see on the faces of Nigerians is frustration and anguish. But for the first time, I tell you that I saw joy. I saw people laughing and smiling for the first time in three years.
“Those our brothers and sisters, and investors, who left Nigeria in the last three years, are also rejoicing with you because by this time next year, they will all be back.
“Those factories that were closed are going to come back alive by this time next year and Nigerians will rejoice.
“The people of the South East whom the programmes and practices of this government are forcing them to have a rethink on their membership of this country, today will rejoice and be happy that a new country that will be fair to all is coming; a country that they will be proud to be part of and continue to contribute to her development.
“All our people in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, who have been wondering or believe that they will spend the rest of their lives in the IDP camps are happy today because their stay there is almost over; because next year, we will enthrone a government that will take them to their homes and protect them there.
“The media houses, all the instruments and institutions of democracy that have been trampled and muzzled in this country, they will be free again to do their work without fear of intimidation.
“Those, who are being persecuted on account of their political views or insisting that the right thing should be done, are also going to rejoice because a new dawn is here.
Others who also spoke at the gathering include Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel; former National Secretary the PDP, Senator Ben Obi among others.