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2019 election: 15 political parties form mega coalition against APC

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A coalition of 15 political parties on Tuesday said it has formed an electoral alliance tagged ‘Mega Coalition’ to adopt and field candidates at governorship and presidential elections in Nigeria.

The coalition in a statement said it is determined to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.

The electoral alliance which the parties said is not a merger would see the participating registered political parties fielding separate candidates for councillorship, local government chairmanship, House of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senatorial elections, but collaborating at the gubernatorial and presidential elections.

“At the governorship elections, the winning party shall form a Government of State Unity (GSU) while at the presidential election the winning party shall form a Government of National Unity (NUG) with a view to accommodating participating parties in the coalition thereby reducing the winner takes all syndrome which does not allow smaller political parties to grow in Nigeria.”

Some of the parties that signed the agreement document included the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP), Democratic Alternative (DA), Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC) and Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), among others.

For a start, the coalition would field candidates in the forthcoming governorship elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun, vowing to dislodge the ruling parties in those states.

According to the document which was made available to journalists, “The mega coalition in response to the high divisiveness in Nigeria and lack of credible opposition party in Nigeria since after the 2015 general elections… in 2019 general election no one single party can win at first ballot.

It will be difficult to meet the constitutional two third states requirement. The only way to success in 2019 is for like-minded political parties to come together to select credible, capable and popular candidates who can win elections.”

The coalition has selected Chief Perry Opara to lead it as chancellor of the mega coalition.

The Chancellor, Chief Opara, who is the National Chairman of National Unity Party, has, however, condemned the level of division in Nigeria and urged politicians and members of the non-governmental, faith based and socio-cultural organisations to be careful with their utterances and to preach peace, instead of hate and division.

“The mega coalition urged Nigerian politicians who have something to hide to desist from parading themselves for elective offices, while credible men and women who are courageous are encouraged to start now to educate the masses on their blueprint for elections.

“The mega coalition thanked INEC for announcing the February 2019 date for commencement of elections which puts politicians and political parties on notice ahead of time.”

According to Opara “no party shall be excluded from participating in the mega coalition. Only good candidates who have programmes that can provide dividends of democracy can be voted into office by Nigerians.”

He said the mega coalition is ready to collaborate with any like-minded registered political party irrespective of its previous electoral fortune.
“2019 election shall have emphasis on candidates and personalities rather than parties. Nigerians are now aware that most politicians promise heaven on earth when they are seeking public offices only to renege on their campaign promises when they are elected. Nigerians are now aware and know better.

“We shall test the might of the mega coalition in the Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states elections before the 2019 general elections. Future elections in Nigeria will no longer be about political parties or God-fatherism. It will be about the personality of the candidates and the issues being canvassed.

“The Mega Coalition will reduce the inconveniences INEC faces in conducting elections. It will make elections and candidates management easier.”

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POLITICS

PDP Crisis: Dele Momodu warns Wike to apply brakes before it’s too late

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Former presidential aspirant of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dele Momodu has urged Governor Nyesom Wike of River State to thread softly before it becomes too late. 

The remark is coming amid internal wrangling between the Rivers governor and the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Abubakar Atiku. 

“Many politicians survive only on power. My Brother, I love you. But someone must be able to tell you the truth. No General fights on too many fronts. Please, apply the brakes, before it is too late,” he said. 

Momodu made the plea in a statement titled, “My Kobo Advice to Governor Nyesom Wike,” which he issued via his verified Instagram handle on Thursday.

He said, “My dear Brother, good evening. I have watched you in recent months with trepidation. I’m scared about your inability to comprehend the country called Nigeria. You must have underrated how the owners of Nigeria operate. 

“I studied the biography of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. I was an insider in the June 12 1993 crisis, and a veritable witness to the tribulations of my great mentor, Chief Moshood Abiola. Closer home, you must have seen how your predecessor, Dr. Peter Odili, was stopped in his tracks in 2007.

“You’re certainly one of Nigeria’s best performing Governors, if not the best. Personally, I’m very proud of your uncommon achievements. I know you are very angry. It is your right to be. But I’m begging you in the name of God not to take decisions based on anger… Nigeria has been very kind to you. 

“Rivers State has been extremely generous to you. GOD has blessed you beyond imagination. You have such a beautiful family. Your people love you stupendously for services delivered to them. PDP has been your solid platform. 

“You should never destroy a bridge after crossing the river. Even if you no longer need the bridge, what of your friends and family? I pray you kill this excessive and perpetual ANGER. It is getting out of hand. Most people around you will keep quiet for fear of losing patronage,” he said. 

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Muslim-Muslim Ticket: Catholics want Lalong suspended

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Some members of the Roman Catholic Church in Nigeria have called for the suspension of Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State from the church over his reference to the pope while defending his acceptance to serve as the Director General (DG) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council.

Lalong, on Wednesday, told correspondents at the presidential villa, Abuja, that as a Catholic and papal knight, the pope had not told him that it was wrong for him to lead the Muslim-Muslim presidential campaign team.

Following the comment, aggrieved Catholic faithful criticised the governor for bringing the church into disrepute and dragging the Holy Father into the murky politics of Nigeria.

But Lalong said his reference to Pope Francis on his appointment was out of reverence and not disregard for the Holy Father, Catholic Church or Christianity.

He said it was unfortunate that part of the interview had been excised and used by politicians for propaganda and misinformation about his personality, faith and political persuasion.

The President of the Concerned Catholics in Nigeria (CCN), Dr Ben Amodu, at a press conference yesterday in Abuja, said Lalong must tender an apology for maligning the name of the pope and the entire church.

He also said the leadership of the Catholic community in Nigeria must ensure that the governor was made to atone for his blasphemous statement about the pope and the Catholic Church in public.

Amodu said, “The fact that Governor Simon Bako Lalong, a practicing Catholic who supposedly knows that the Catholic Church is not involved in partisan politics, but still went ahead to insinuate that the pope is in support of his decision smacks a mockery of the revered Catholic Church in Nigeria and around the world.

“The Concerned Catholics in Nigeria condemn such despicable conduct as it is not reflective of the stance of the pope and the Catholic Church in Nigeria and around the world concerning the political permutations in Nigeria.” 

‘My reference to pope mark of reverence’

Governor Lalong, in a statement yesterday by his media aide, said it was unfortunate that part of his remarks had been used by politicians for propaganda and misinformation about his personality, faith and political persuasion.

He said, “My reference to the Holy Father, the Pope, was to emphasise that as a Christian born and raised in the Catholic faith, accepting the assignment given to me by my party, the APC, of which I am a founding member, does not in any way remove my faith in Jesus Christ or my commitment to the church in Nigeria and universally.

“Those who know me can attest to my respect for the church, Christianity and spiritual fathers of all denominations. They know my modest contribution to the growth of the church in Plateau State, Northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large and can testify to it.”

The governor further said he had high regard for Christians and church authority and would continue to work hard in promoting the interests of Christians and adherents of other religions based on love, justice, equity and fairness.w

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PDP primary: Gov Wike drags Atiku, Tambuwa to court, demands removal from INEC list

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The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has sued the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, the party and the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal over the conduct of party’s primary held May 29, 2022.

During the primary election held in Abuja, the Sokoto Governor, while addressing delegates, asked them to vote for him but later declared that he stepped down for the former Vice President, Atiku.

The election had Atiku poll 371 votes as winner, while Wike and Bukola Saraki garnered 237 and 70 votes, respectively.

Wike and his loyalists have been in a face-off with Atiku’s camp since the conclusion of the PDP’s primary election.

Following the prolonged crisis rocking the party, Wike and a PDP chieftain, Newgent Ekamon have now dragged Atiku, Tambuwal and the PDP to court in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022.

In the originating summons, the PDP is listed as the first respondent, while the Independent National Electoral Commission is the 2nd respondent. Tambuwal and Atiku are listed as the 3rd and 4th respondents, respectively.

Among other issues listed, Wike and Ekamon asked the court to order the INEC to reject or remove Atiku from “its list of candidates in the 2023 presidential election.”

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