1,659 total views, 2 views today
What may apparently become a mega political movement in Nigeria, is expected to be unveiled October 1, 2021.
Behind the project are such Nigerian personages as Prof. Attahiru Jega, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Prof. Pat Utomi, a political economist, among others.
The mega group, which would later transform into a political party, it was gathered on Wednesday, would challenge the country’s dominant parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This came to the fore on Wednesday as INEC disclosed that 95 groups had applied to it for registeration as political parties.
But for the new mega group planned for October 1, it was learnt that talks had reached an advanced stage for the merger of some existing opposition political parties as part of the new movement.
A source privy to the development, who spoke in confidence, explained that the focus of those involved in the new group was to push for electoral and political reforms.
Said the source: “By God’s grace, we will be unveiling our movement on October 1 to coincide with Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary. We cannot call it a political party for now because talks are still ongoing.
“I’m aware that talks between leaders of the Peoples Redemption Party including Professor Attahiru Jega, those of the African Democratic Congress including its National Chairman, Chief Ralph Nwosu and the Labour Party, have reached an advanced stage.
“The proposal being considered is the collapse of the structures of existing political parties involved into one strong one. We recognise the fact that forming a political party from the scratch is both cumbersome and capital intensive.
“It will involve getting offices across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja and going through all kinds of hurdles before being registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission and we know time is of the essence.
“To avoid this, we are looking at first agreeing on terms of engagement. We will adopt a name, hold our conventions where structures will be collapsed into one then we will approach INEC for a change of name to reflect our new identity”.
Responded the source to a question on what was holding the body from fully identifying itself as a political party: “With the current Nigerian political structure, we don’t want to just join the fray. We need to make a difference that is why we are first pushing for electoral reforms. We will be working with like-minded people to push for the electronic transfer of election results and changes in Nigeria’s constitution to make it truly representative of ‘we’ the people’’.
There was confusion over the status of a group, Rescue Nigeria Project, which was unveiled by a former presidential adviser and diplomat, Dr. Usman Bugaje, in Abuja, on Tuesday.
A section of the media had reported that Tuesday’s meeting was the unveiling of a political party. Some of those listed as attending were Jega, Utomi, a former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke; a former Kwara State Governor, Abdelfattah Ahmed; Senator Lee Maeba and Professor Tunde Adeniran among promoters of the new party.
However, several persons, who attended the event said nothing of the sort was discussed. Attempts to get clarification from the convener of the event were futile. Calls to his mobile telephone number were neither picked nor returned. A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report.
However, a former Minister of Education and retired politician, Adeniran who attended the event, explained that the gathering discussed good governance and what was required to move the nation forward.
Said he: “I have since retired from partisan politics. However, I have made myself available to give advice as well as guidance in order to continue to contribute my quota to national development. I am certainly not forming any political party.
Another attendee, who is a leading member of the PDP in Rivers State, Senator Lee Maeba, dissociated himself from the formation of a new political party.
Maeba, who spoke on the telephone on Wednesday, said the Rescue Nigeria Project event he attended in Abuja, on Tuesday, was not for the formation of a new party but for the advancement of good governance.
Stated he: “The majority of us there are PDP members. In fact, some of us who were there were agitating that we should close early because they are members of PDP zoning committee and that a meeting was ongoing then.
“I have been a PDP member since 1998 and I don’t have another party. If I have not joined the APC, what is the need of forming another one?
“I did not discuss anything about the formation of a new party. That was the first time I attended the meeting. When I saw the names of those involved, I was attracted to talk on good governance. I am an advocate of good governance.
“It was a seminar and the theme was good governance. Even the organiser, Usman Bugaje, did not talk about political parties. What they talked about was good governance and how to strengthen political parties to ensure good governance, that’s all. Nobody mentioned the party.
“There are ways of forming a political party. The organisation will apply to INEC. It has to submit signatures. Is my signature on any paper? There was nothing like that.
“We believe that the place was infiltrated because how can a talk about good governance become a talk of formation of a party?
“I did not enter a meeting with anybody to form a political party because I am a satisfied member of the PDP. The party is doing well in my state and the governor is doing very well. So why will I go and start forming another party?”