2027: FG, presidency dismiss Atiku, Obi’s planned alliance

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The Federal Government has dismissed the planned alliance between former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi.

According to the Presidency, President Bola Tinubu is not bothered about the planned alliance, noting that the President was not losing sleep over alliance plots by Atiku and Obi.

Atiku had contested the presidency in 2023 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party but lost. Obi also contested as a presidential candidate on the platform of the Labour Party and came third in the election.

Last week, Obi held a private meeting with Atiku and some other PDP leaders in Abuja. Obi also met separately with former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido and former Senate President Bukola Saraki, sparking speculations about a possible coalition for the 2027 general elections.

However, in an interview on Friday, Atiku stated that if the PDP decided in 2027 that it was the South-East’s turn to field the presidential candidate and selected Obi, he would readily offer his support.

“I have said repeatedly, and I even said it before the 2023 general elections, that if the PDP decides to zone the presidential ticket to the South, or South-East specifically, I won’t contest it. As long as it’s the decision of the party, I will abide by it. I contested the 2023 presidential ticket, because it was thrown open to all members of the party.

“If the party decides that it’s the turn of the South-East, and Peter Obi is chosen, I won’t hesitate to support him,” Atiku declared in a recent interview with BBC Hausa Service.

He added that a merger between the PDP and LP was possible. Atiku stressed that party members would decide their fate in the 2027 general elections. The former Vice President mentioned that his recent meeting with Obi might indicate a possible alliance leading up to the 2027 general elections.

Responding to questions about the meeting with Obi, Atiku said, “It was just a normal friendly meeting that we often have, particularly among us in the opposition parties. Such meetings are healthy for Nigeria’s democracy and in the country’s interest.”

On whether it would bring about a merger, he said, “Yes, it’s very much possible. We can merge to achieve a common goal. So, it’s possible, and nothing can stop it if we wish to achieve that.”

Atiku, who denied that the choice of presidential candidate might frustrate the merger discussion, said, “That is not true. That challenge will not arise. I can tell you that the choice of who will fly the flag of the party won’t be an issue.”

On why he was still in active politics, Atiku said, “We can’t keep quiet and watch things go wrong. People are suffering, and we are committed to making Nigeria a better place.

“I am still in active politics in Nigeria; at least, as long as God permits.

“My age doesn’t stop the young ones from trying their luck. Everybody, irrespective of age, is allowed to aspire to be anything in society, politically or otherwise.”

Regarding his 2027 presidential ambition, the former Vice President said, “That would depend on the decision of my party. I can’t make any categorical statement on that. It is the duty of the party to decide on the way to go in the next election.”

Tinubu unbothered – FG

Reacting to the planned alliance, the Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, said the Federal Government was not worried about the planned merger or alliance. According to him, anybody could decide to collaborate and meet.

He stated that the question, for him, was what happened after the talk and numerous meetings. The minister stressed that Tinubu’s works would speak for him in the next election cycle in 2027.

“The government is not thinking about them at all. We are focused on delivering on the mandate handed over to President Bola Tinubu. With the good works the government is doing, he is already the toast of Nigerians.

“So, they will continue to support him. Just a few days ago, the Federal Government inaugurated three critical gas infrastructure projects in Imo and Delta states to drive the country’s gas sector. The projects are the ANOH-OB3 CTMS gas pipeline and ANOH gas processing plant in Assa, Ohaji/Egbema in Imo State.

“The President also inaugurated the expansion of the AHL gas processing plant 2 gas project in Kwale, Delta State. The social security programme is ongoing. The Compressed Natural Gas project is there as well. Dry farming initiatives have taken root, and so many other projects that will benefit Nigerians are either ongoing or in the pipeline.

“Tell me, how will the meeting of those two men be an issue? No, we are not worried at all. The government of President Tinubu is focused and not disturbed,” he said.

Atiku, Obi sore losers – Presidency

Also reacting, a senior presidential aide, Bayo Onanuga, speaking on Saturday, said President Tinubu and his administration were not bothered by the politicking going on by Atiku and ‘his gang of desperadoes’.

He said, “We are only surprised that they are plotting just one year after an election they lost. They are still behaving like sore losers.

“We are not bothered by the games they are playing, as they are revealing their mindset. They are mere politicians who only think about the next election.

“President Tinubu is a true statesman who is concerned about fulfilling his promises to Nigerians.

“At the moment, he is very busy resetting the economy of our country for the better, laying the foundation that ought to have been laid decades ago.”

APC won’t lose sleep over PDP-LP alliance

The Deputy National Organising Secretary of the APC, Nze Chidi Duru, welcomed the idea of a rumoured merger, saying it will help to further deepen the concept of democracy in the country.

Duru, however, expressed reservations that the duo’s dream could become a reality.

He said, “It is good for democracy. It will give Nigerians more options to choose from. For me, I am up for anything that will deepen democracy, other than the usual ones we have been having.

“However, I doubt if such an arrangement could come to fruition.”

Also speaking, the National Publicity Director of the APC, Bala Ibrahim, said the ruling party was not losing sleep over Atiku and Obi’s ‘unholy alliance’.

He said, “In a democracy, meetings between politicians are not forbidden. As long as their meetings are not designed to derail democracy, there is nothing wrong with that. Obi’s meeting with Atiku and others is nothing to make the APC lose its sleep. You talked about the party being under pressure. How? These are parties that are increasingly losing grip and support. They are probably in a panic situation.

“Now, they want to sit and look at what to do to increase their support base ahead of 2027. But, that is too long a time to go. We don’t talk about crossing the bridge until we get there. By that time, if they feel like coming out to merge, that will even be better for democracy. But, whatever they resolve by 2027, we are going to beat them hands down.”

Experts weigh in

Also commenting on the development, the President, National Political Scientists Association, Professor Hassan Salisu of the University of Ilorin, said while a possible alliance could not be entirely ruled out between the two men, the internal crisis and divisions gripping the PDP and LP may frustrate their efforts to wrest power from the ruling APC in 2027.

“The PDP, as it is currently constituted, is factionalised. Getting to a level where a consensus will be reached might be a bit difficult. And, given the fact that Obi is in another party, how are we sure the structure of the PDP will agree that Obi should fly the party’s ticket in the next presidential election?

“Will all Atiku’s supporters be in a position to back Obi? Will all the ‘Obidients’ align themselves with Obi’s move to the PDP? What will be the reaction of the other factions in the PDP? What will be the position of Wike’s group in the PDP? What of the Northern elements in the party? The red flags are quite much.

“I think the assumption is that Atiku is in total control of the party, but the reality on the ground suggests that this may not be the situation. What I am saying essentially is that there are so many ‘ifs’. These are issues that one cannot answer categorically. Perhaps, we will say it is an unfolding event. Let’s wait and see. But, for analytical purposes, there are so many obstacles on the way for Obi to emerge as PDP’s presidential candidate,” Professor Salisu stated.

Also reacting, Professor of Political Institutions and Comparative Politics at the Department of Political Science, Usman Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto, Yahaya Baba, described Atiku and Obi’s meeting as an indication of a strong alliance that would greatly shape the 2027 presidential election.

He said, “The meeting is an indication that what happened in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election is likely going to happen soon. This is because the two leading political figures in the country, who came second and third in the last election, are now talking to themselves. They were allies before now. But, because of the crisis in the PDP, Obi decamped and joined the LP. The votes he and Atiku polled in the last election are significant. So, if they are discussing and forming an alliance, we are likely going to see a very big political force like what happened with the APC in 2014.”

Sharing his thoughts on the APC’s position on the alliance and its possible impact ahead of the 2027 presidential poll, he said, “They (APC) can say that naturally. But, remember that in 2011 and 2014, both Muhammadu Buhari and President Bola Tinubu were losers as the Action Congress of Nigeria, All Nigeria Peoples Party, and Congress for Progressive Change all failed. But, when they came together, they were a very strong force. So, what APC is saying is just to demonise and rubbish a likely strong move that is coming from the two political figures.”

In a similar vein, another political analyst, Jackson Omenazu, said the alignment of the PDP and LP will pose a serious threat to the ruling APC ahead of the 2027 poll.

He said, “We should expect some political marriages in the polity come 2027. There will be alignment and realignment. If Peter Obi goes back to the PDP, or if the Labour Party has an agreement and aligns with the PDP and both parties zone their presidential tickets to the South East, it will be a welcome development. This is because if the PDP zones their ticket to that side as Atiku Abubakar said, he has no choice but to support it. After all, the party’s decision is supreme.

“That will be the best thing to happen to the PDP if they field from the South-East. The amalgamation of the PDP and Labour Party will cause a serious political storm in the polity if it is actualised. We need a very strong and viable opposition in the country, because opposition is the opium of any democracy. So, there is an absolute need for opposition. Such a political marriage and understanding is not a bad one.”

Omenazu, who is also the Chancellor of the International Society for Social Justice and Human Rights, added that the Igbos should be given an equal chance to rule Nigeria, noting that such representation was part of the national restructuring the people were clamouring for.

“No matter how we structure this country, the Igbos have the right to the presidency. They should be allowed to do their best. More essentially, there is a need for restructuring. That is the best way we can authoritatively run this country like a united nation,” he added.

Punch

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