The Labour Party (LP) appears to have signalled its interest in a possible merger of opposition political parties in Nigeria following a proposal by former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar.
Atiku, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the 2023 election had on Monday warned that Nigeria could be heading towards a one-party state.
Speaking at the National Executive Committee of the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria, Atiku called for a merger of opposition political parties to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We have all seen how the APC is increasingly turning Nigeria into a dictatorship of one party. If we don’t come together to challenge what the ruling party is trying to create, our democracy will suffer for it, and the consequences of it will affect the generations yet unborn,” Atiku said.
Reacting to Atiku’s merger proposal, the acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh said it is a political decision to be considered in the interest of Nigeria and democracy.
“Atiku’s call is a proposition, and every Nigeria will consider a good proposition that is meant to remove the Octopus in power because they are not democrats,” he told Punch Newspaper in an interview.
“Every Nigerian is interested in having a true democracy. What we have now is far away from democracy. So, if opposition elements have a preposition to ensure that democracy is installed, why not? That preposition must be given a good thought. Anything that will make Nigerians witness democracy is accepted.”
While Atiku’s merger call has resounded well with LP, Nigeria’s third biggest political party, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) isn’t so enthusiastic.
The NNPP has stated that it would only form a merger if Atiku and the PDP agree to support Rabiu Kwankwaso in 2027. Kwankwaso is a former Kano State governor and the NNPP presidential candidate in the 2023 election.
NNPP national publicity secretary, Yakubu Shendam, said the party would not consider a merger if it would not produce Kwankwaso as the presidential candidate.
“We believe there is a need to canvass for support from people to win the election, from all sides. However, we believe that single-handedly Kwankwaso can deliver Nigeria in 2027.
“But that doesn’t mean we are not looking for players like Atiku to join our party. If there is going to be a merger, it should be with the NNPP, because Atiku is now retiring, so, he should support Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
“We don’t want to join forces with people who are under emotions but we are comfortable as a party having a person like Rabiu Kwankwaso, as our national leader. We are calling on Atiku as an elder brother to close ranks with Kwankwaso if he wants to be relevant in 2027.”
Chronicle NG reports that INEC declared Bola Tinubu of the APC winner of the 2023 presidential election with 8,794,726 popular votes (36.61%) while Atiku Abubakar of PDP garnered 6,984,520 votes (29.07%) to finish second.
Peter Obi of LP polled 6,101,533 votes (25.40%) and Rabiu Kwankwaso had 1,496,687 votes (6.40%) to finish third and fourth respectively.