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Why Obi, Kwankwaso merger may not be enough to beat APC or PDP [Pulse Editor’s Opinion]

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The much-talked-about alliance between Peter Obi’s Labour Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso’s New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) is believed to be progressing as the two political parties gear up for the 2023 general elections.

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Obi and Kwankwaso are former governors of Anambra and Kano State respectively. Both of them served their states for eight years and they command some decent following in their regions.

While Obi, the presidential candidate of the LP is a prominent political name in the South-East, the followers of Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the NNPP spread beyond Kano, his base, to other North-West states.

But as far as Nigerian politics is concerned, both the LP and the NNPP are fringe parties with no political structure and financial muscle to wrestle power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The PDP established in 1998, had ruled the country for 16 years before the APC formed in 2014 unseated Goodluck Jonathan’s PDP government in 2015.

The PDP and the APC are the main political parties with political presence everywhere in the country, and to defeat or relegate them, there is a need for two or more strong parties to collapse their visible structures into one formidable party to fight the political hegemony of the mega parties.

It is against this background that a merger is being considered between the Labour Party and the New Nigerian Peoples Party.

For many Nigerians, it is a piece of good news that the LP and the NNPP are coming together to challenge the dominance of the two parties that have disappointed the people. But to be very honest, it does not look like the proposed merger, if it eventually happens will threaten the stability of the PDP and the APC.

It is understandable that Nigerians’ hope for the 2023 elections is high, but if you find this piece pessimistic, read on to see reasons why the mission of two fringe parties to take power from the clutch of the mega parties is a pipe dream.

In 2014, it took five political parties from different regions to join hands with a faction of the PDP to defeat the ruling party at the time.

Let it be remembered that the fall of the PDP from the federal seat was orchestrated by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) led by Bola Tinubu, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) led by Muhammadu Buhari, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

That PDP faction, it should be recalled, was not a group of political nonentities.

It was a faction that had the former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku, a serving Senator, Bukola Saraki, and five state governors — including this Kwankwaso — in its fold.

These politicians moved their national and states’ political structures to support the APC to bring down the PDP administration after 16 years in power.

So, the LP and the NNPP coming together to roll their scanty structures (If there’s any) may not constitute a threat to Obi and Kwankwaso’s common enemies.

Again, the ubiquitous presence of the PDP and the APC across the country is an advantage for them. The two parties have secretariats in every state, members in every local government, and agents in every ward across the country.

Even in the most rural communities, where there are no schools, banks, hospitals, and the internet, there are people, eligible voters who recognise the APC and the PDP as the only political parties in the country.

It’s interesting that the youths are canvassing for a third force, but frankly, the resurgence of the LP and the NNPP will amount to zero political value if their merger cannot triplicate their presence across the country and penetrate these hinterlands in three months. Remember the 2023 election is only eight months away.

From the foregoing analysis, if you agree that as things stand, the LP and the NNPP do not have what it takes to challenge the PDP and the APC, then let’s check what Obi and Kwankwaso have in their political armoury to deliver Nigerians from the ruling party in 2023.

Obi’s presidential campaign has been very loud on Twitter, louder than the political party he is going to represent in the forthcoming election, but sadly, the deafening cacophony of Obi’s campaigns on social media is not loud enough to penetrate rural communities.

Apart from this, Obi’ party has no stronghold in any of the six regions. It is absolutely delusional to rigidly believe that a party with no representative in the corridor of power in any state would rise from its years of slumber and beat the ones that have eyes, ears and legs everywhere.

The same argument applies to Kwankwaso, whose popularity is limited to Kano and two or three states in the North-West. Of course, that popularity isn’t all he and his party need to give the ruling party a run for its money in the region.

What level of political influence do Kwankwaso and Obi wield in Kano and Anambra? Who are their political allies in the southern and the northern regions? Which politician currently in the national assembly looks up to them as political mentors? These are yardsticks with which political heavyweights are measured.

But if you have to scratch your head to find answers to the questions above, then you should know that the proposed merger is only an empty alliance for a political outing that will have no significant impact on the 2023 elections.

However, the proposed political marriage may have a remarkable performance if only the APC and the PDP implode and join the merger, but if the status quo remains till the Independent Electoral Commission puts a stop to campaigns, the merger will carry no weight.

Meanwhile, the argument about who would be the standard-bearer between Obi and Kwankwaso has been laid to rest, at least for now.

The National Publicity Secretary of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Dr. Agbo Major, has said that Kwankwaso might consider to be Obi’s running mate.

Kwankwaso has not said anything about this, but if the proposed merger fails to happen, issues about who would be the flag bearer of the party between the two of them would partly be responsible for its death.

Finally, the perceived political might of Kwankwaso and Obi is too concentrated in their political bases to stand in the way of the APC and the PDP. The merger needs more political heavyweights to support the LP/NNPP agenda to succeed. Still, that success is obviously not going to be recorded in 2023.

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Politics

Cracks in APC as 20 senators plan to defect to PDP, NNPP others

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No fewer than 20 senators are set to dump the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties.

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The ruling party, which had earlier lost over 10 senators to the opposition parties is troubled by the wave of defection as more lawmakers that lost their return tickets to the National Assembly during the party primaries are set to leave the party.

On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, Senator Dauda Haliru Jika representing Bauchi Central, announced his defection to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

Worried by the wave of defection in the party, the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, met with the APC senators behind closed doors at the National Assembly complex, Abuja yesterday.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Adamu admitted that the APC is worried about the development.

The meeting with the senators was most fruitful. The issue of defection is an unfortunate development when it happens but this is a season where there are all sorts of behaviour in the political space and ours is not an exception.

“In every election year, this kind of thing gives cause for stakeholders to sneeze and Nigeria is not an exception so is the APC, not an exception. I don’t care about what is happening in other parties, my focus is on the APC. But we all know that the occurrence is not only happening in the APC, it’s happening across other political parties too. And because we are the ruling party, our problems are exaggerated before the public.

“There is no responsible leader that would not be worried when he loses one member not to talk of two. At the moment we are faced with the stark reality of our problems. I have committed my colleagues at the National Assembly to face the problem squarely and see the problem as solvable. We are in politics, I don’t know what would happen tomorrow, and nobody does,” he said.

According to Punch, a source in the National Assembly disclosed that not lesser than 20 senators are planning to leave the APC within the next week.

“The party chairman came to have a meeting with the APC senators because he said that they learnt through intelligence that not lesser than 20 more senators were planning to defect to other parties within the next one week.

“The chairman asked each of the aggrieved senators to lay bare their grievances which we all did one after the other. Having heard our problems, the chairman instructed that we put them into writing,” the source said.

The lawmaker said during Adamu’s meeting with them, the party chairman asked the senators to put their complaints into writing and promised to address all issues raised.

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Politics

Bala Mohammed meets Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt [Photos]

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Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has held a closed-door meeting with his Rivers State counterpart, Gov. Nyesom Wike.

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The National Vice Chairman of the PDP, South-South Dan Orbih was also part of the meeting.

The meeting with Bala Mohammed came after pictures of the Presidential candidate of the Labour party, Peter Obi meeting with Wike in his country home emerged online.

Obi says his visit to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was for the duo to discuss vital national issues.

Earlier today, I visited Port Harcourt, to confer with H.E. @GovWike on vital issues of national interest,” Obi’s tweet, shared alongside photos of him and the Rivers leader, read.

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Politics

Peter Obi explains why he visited Wike

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Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party says he visited Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to discuss vital issues of national interest with him.

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Obi’s visit to Wike in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, sparked a conversation on social media as many believe the meeting was about the forthcoming 2023 elections.

But hours after the meeting, the former governor Anambra took to Twitter to explain the reason he held a meeting with Wike behind closed doors.

“Earlier today, I visited Port Harcourt, to confer with H.E. @GovWike on vital issues of national interest,” Obi tweeted.

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