2015: As ‘small’ par­ties pre­pare to field pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Saawua Terzungwe

Analy­ses on the 2015 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions have cen­tered around the two par­ties: the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) and the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC).

While fo­cus is on the two, find­ings have shown that there are par­ties who have not given up on the bid to con­test the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion de­spite not be­ing given a chance in the court of pub­lic and are se­ri­ous about wrestling power from the rul­ing party.

But for them to put up any good show­ing at the elec­tion, they are ex­pected to ei­ther merge to form a strong force or go into an al­liance for the pur­pose of the elec­tion.

Some of them are also ex­pected to col­lapse into ei­ther the PDP or the APC for the pur­pose of the 2015 elec­tions.

Some of the par­ties have in­di­cated that they would pre­fer go­ing into the elec­tions on their own with­out ei­ther merg­ing with the big par­ties or go­ing into al­liances for the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Re­cently, there were spec­u­la­tions that the United Pro­gres­sives Party (UPP) and Pro­gres­sive Peo­ples’ Al­liance (PPA), were in merger talks with the All Pro­gres­sives Grand Al­liance (APGA). This stemmed from the fact that the founder of UPP, Chief Chek­was Oko­rie, is also the founder of APGA.

Be­ing from the South East­ern part of the coun­try with Chief Orji Uzor Kalu who is the founder of the PPA, many be­lieve in the spec­u­lated merger plan but the na­tional chair­men of the UPP and PPA told our cor­re­spon­dent in their sep­a­rate re­ac­tions that the par­ties have no merger plans but are work­ing as­sid­u­ously to go into the elec­tions in­de­pen­dently.

UPP

Na­tional chair­man of the United Pro­gres­sive Party (UPP), Chief Chek­was Oko­rie has re­vealed that the Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) of the party has ap­proved the zon­ing of its pres­i­den­tial ticket to South East geo-po­lit­i­cal zone.

“All as­pi­rants from the South East geo-po­lit­i­cal zone wish­ing to con­test for the of­fice of the pres­i­dent of the Federal Repub­lic of Nigeria at the 2015 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion are en­joined to do so, on the plat­form of our great party, the UPP,” he said.

He said that the party would put all ma­chin­ery in mo­tion for ef­fec­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion and con­test of the elec­tion, stress­ing that an Igbo man would fly a pres­i­den­tial flag and con­test pow­er­fully on the plat­form of the party.

SDP

An­other po­lit­i­cal party that is warm­ing up to con­test the elec­tion with­out merg­ing is the So­cial Demo­cratic Party (SDP). For­mer pres­i­den­tial as­pi­rant and na­tional chair­man of the party, Chief Olu Falae, re­vealed at the un­veil­ing of the party’s logo, man­i­festo and con­sti­tu­tion re­cently at the party’s na­tional sec­re­tariat, Abuja, that the party would field can­di­dates for all the elec­tive po­si­tions in 2015 in­clud­ing a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

Chief Falae how­ever, de­clined com­ments as to which geo-po­lit­i­cal zone the pres­i­den­tial ticket would be zoned to but in­sisted the party was com­mit­ted to do­ing the right thing and as such, would nom­i­nate its pres­i­den­tial can­di­date at the ap­pro­pri­ate time.

He ac­cused the PDP and APC of cor­rupt ten­den­cies, stress­ing that his party has in stock a man­i­festo that would be used to erad­i­cate cor­rup­tion, poverty, un­em­ploy­ment, ter­ror­ism and im­prove the so­cio-eco­nomic base of Nigeria and its cit­i­zens.

PPA

The PPA is also or­ga­niz­ing it­self to con­test all the avail­able po­si­tions in the elec­tions. Na­tional chair­man of the party, Peter Ameh, told our cor­re­spon­dent that the party is also go­ing to field a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

Ameh said the party was hold­ing the Na­tional Work­ing Com­mit­tee (NWC) meet­ing to be able to re­solve is­sues re­lat­ing to the pres­i­den­tial ticket. He stated that the party would soon de­cide whether to zone its pres­i­den­tial ticket to a par­tic­u­lar geo-po­lit­i­cal zone or leave it open for any el­i­gi­ble mem­ber to con­test.

He stated that the party would bring to­gether its stake­hold­ers in chart­ing the way for­ward for its suc­cess at the polls adding that there would be PPA na­tional sum­mit to fur­ther iron out is­sues of de­vel­op­ment.

NCP

The Na­tional Con­science Party (NCP) has also es­tab­lished clearly its readi­ness to field a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in 2015. Na­tional chair­man of the party, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, told our cor­re­spon­dent in a tele­phone in­ter­view that the party’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­date is ex­pected to come from the youth.

“NCP is work­ing very hard to field a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in the 2015 elec­tion. We are field­ing our can­di­dates all through. We are mea­sur­ing on the youth as our catch­ment area. NCP is pro­vid­ing a plat­form for Nige­rian youths be­cause the old people have failed Nige­ri­ans,” he said.

He how­ever, noted that the party would not zone its pres­i­den­tial ticket to any geo-po­lit­i­cal zone but work to­wards field­ing a cred­i­ble and ex­pe­ri­enced young man with tract records of ed­u­ca­tion and po­lit­i­cal pedigree in or­der to pro­vide the nec­es­sary lead­er­ship that Nige­ri­ans de­serve.

APGA

A press state­ment signed by the fac­tional na­tional chair­man of APGA, Maxi Okwu re­cently, had al­ready in­di­cated that APGA would lead a third force in the 2015 elec­tions af­ter the PDP and the APC, but our cor­re­spon­dent learnt that be­cause of the lead­er­ship tus­sle be­tween Chief Vic­tor Umeh and Chief Maxi Okwu, the party is still un­de­cided as to how some of its can­di­dates in­clud­ing the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date would emerge.

How­ever, Maxi Okwu’s fac­tion re­cently at a press con­fer­ence told jour­nal­ists that the party was in full sup­port of Pres­i­dent Jonathan’s re-elec­tion bid and later in an­other press brief­ing stated that the party’s lead­er­ship cri­sis would soon be re­solved to en­able it face the 2015 elec­tions.

PDM

For the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Move­ment (PDM), the me­dia ad­viser to the na­tional chair­man, Abubakar Ru­fai told our cor­re­spon­dent in a tele­phone in­ter­view that the party was un­de­cided on whether to field a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in the elec­tion. In­ves­ti­ga­tions by our re­porter re­vealed that the party may not field a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date but work to­wards win­ning other seats in the elec­tions if it is not con­vinced by for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Atiku Abubakar to move to the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC).

The party re­cently car­ried out mem­ber­ship reg­is­tra­tion na­tion­wide de­spite the threats by some ag­grieved mem­bers of PDM to dereg­is­ter the party on grounds that they were not ad­e­quately con­sulted be­fore reg­is­tra­tion of PDM as a po­lit­i­cal party and that the Musa Yar’adua’s PDM was not con­ceived to trans­form into a po­lit­i­cal party but to re­main a pres­sure group in the PDP.

ACD

Ad­vanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) ac­cord­ing to its na­tional chair­man, Yusuf Buba Yakub is also warm­ing up for the elec­tions in­sist­ing that change is what Nigeria needs in 2015.

“If you have been fol­low­ing the trend, we con­tested the Anam­bra gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion on Novem­ber 16, 2013, we con­tested the Se­nate by-elec­tion in Delta State and we have been par­tic­i­pat­ing in the elec­tions that have been go­ing on in Nigeria. So change is im­mi­nent in 2015,” he said.

LP

Labour Party is also strate­giz­ing to present can­di­dates for all the avail­able po­si­tions in the elec­tions. The party has re­cently cer­ti­fied Rep Opeyemi Bamidele as its can­di­date for the June 21, 2014 gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion in Ek­iti State af­ter thor­ough screen­ing in line with its con­sti­tu­tion.

Most of the small par­ties have in the past pro­duced gov­er­nors, Sen­a­tors, House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives mem­bers, lo­cal govern­ment chair­men among oth­ers but had lost them to big­ger par­ties. For ex­am­ple, the PPA lost two gov­er­nors to the PDP in the past fol­low­ing what Peter Ameh de­scribed as “their un­faith­ful­ness to the party.” This is an in­di­ca­tion that some of these par­ties could still emerge strongly and play a sig­nif­i­cant role in the 2015 elec­tions.

Co­or­di­na­tor of the Coali­tion of Democrats for Elec­toral Re­forms (CODER), Mr. Ayo Opadokun, re­cently said it is still too early to re­flect on what the smaller par­ties can do in 2015, ex­plain­ing that the po­lit­i­cal land­scape is still evolv­ing and re-ad­just­ing to re­al­ity. He said: “The year 2015 will open its space to ac­com­mo­date the mi­nor par­ties and we will all see the role they will play.”

How­ever, our cor­re­spon­dent gath­ered that the ma­jor chal­lenge likely to de­rail some of the ‘diminu­tive’ par­ties in the elec­tion is lack of fi­nance which has al­ways been their prob­lem. Some of them do not have gov­er­nors or sen­a­tors to help in one way or the other in fi­nanc­ing their ac­tiv­i­ties and are likely to be thwarted in the bat­tle.

Dan Nwanyawu

Dr. Yunusa Tanko

Chief Chek­was Oko­rie

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