ABUJA— Leading chieftains of All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, graced the formal outing of Coalition for Nigeria, the Third Force, proposed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to break the hegemony of the country’s two major parties.
Leader of the group, Col. Olagunsoye Oyinlola, said the group was roused to consciousness by the special press statement issued last Tuesday by President Olusegun Obasanjo but affirmed that the group was not about remaking the legacies of the former Nigerian leader.
Meanwhile, National Intervention Movement, NIM, another group of professionals also aiming to break the two party hegemony, on its part said, yesterday, that it would make its launch this month.
Among the prominent APC chieftains present yesterday were Buba Galadima, a member of the party’s Board of Trustees, BOT, and former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the incumbent chairman of the Nigeria Identity Management Commission, among others.
From the ranks of the opposition PDP were erstwhile national chairman of the party, Col. Ahmadu Ali (retd), former Governor Donald Duke, himself a former presidential aspirant and also another former presidential aspirant on the platform of the party, Dr. Abduljelil Tafawa Balewa, among others.
Also present, yesterday, was Mr. Akin Oshuntokun, former Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
One of the leaders of the group, however, told Vanguard that the weapon of surprise remained the group’s greatest asset as he claimed the patronage of several prominent chieftains of the two dominant parties.
Despite insinuations that Oyinlola was about to resign his position as chairman of the NIMC, the former governor of Osun State, however, insisted that he was still a member of the APC. Oyinlola is believed to be the national coordinator of the CN.
“How will I have renounced my membership of the APC,” he queried, yesterday.
“I am in a movement. They are two different things, between a party and a movement, it is just like belonging to a society. I am not tied down to a political party.”
According to him, the response of Nigerians “has been so encouraging and that is why we feel bold to carry on with the programme of the movement. The style of convening this movement is noble and it is quite different from any other we have had in this country.”
Transformation into political party
On the transformation of the movement into a political party, he said: “We are not yet a political party but if we are going to metamorphose into a political party, it must be a collective decision.
“To say that we are legitimizing Obasanjo’s legacies is a beat off the mark. There is no one who can fault the issues raised in Obasanjo’s letter. Forget the messenger, let us discuss the message. What he has done is to stir us from our slumber to the reality of what is happening in Nigeria to take charge and take action.”
Oyinlola threatens to quit NIMC job, if...
On his future in the current administration since he is the chairman of National Identity Management Commission NIMC, he said: “This is a part-time commission, which means I have only four meetings in a year.
“I joined a political party to serve my country and my service in NIMC is to my country and countrymen. If my being chairman will rob me of my desire to see this movement to its greatest height, then the chairmanship will yield.”
Buhari doesn’t deserve 2nd term —Galadima
On his part, Buhari’s former ally, Galadima said: “It is not a political party. It is a movement being put together to salvage our country from the verge of disintegration.
“If the President wants to be re-elected then he can show us empirical evidence that he has performed in putting infrastructural development in the country, that he has put food on the table, that he has managed to unify this country, then we will all be prepared to vote for him but if those indices are not available then he does not deserve a second term.”
Former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke and Dr. Tafawa-Balewa, son of former Nigerian prime minister, also lauded the group’s intervention.
Ahead of the launch of the NIM, later this month, the group, yesterday, released the names of its zonal conveners as North-East, Buba Galadima; North-West, Rabiu Suleiman Bichi; North-Central, Dr John Darah; South-East, Uche Onyeagocha; South-West, Dr Olu Agunloye; and South-South, Ikpe Obong.
For launch Feb ending
NIM Deputy Director-General, Mallam Naseer Kura, in a statement, said the launch will be held in the last week of February, adding that the zonal coordinators had been “mandated by National Steering Committee to urgently facilitate and hold zonal consultative meetings in their various zones within the next one week to nominate credible state coordinators for the movement, while cascading the movement’s revolutionary agenda into local government areas, wards and polling units of the various states in preparation for the 2019 electoral revolution in Nigeria.”
Special guests, speakers at the summit
Some of national icons slated by NIM as special guests and speakers at the summit are Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka; Col Abubarkar Umar Dangiwa (retd); Chief Emeka Anyaoku; Mallam Adamu Ciroma; Prof Pat Utomi; General Alani Akinrinade (retd); Mr Donald Duke; Hajia Najatu Mohammed; Olisa Agbakoba, SAN; Alhaji Balarabe Musa; Dr Garba Adamu; Femi Falana SAN; Prof Attahiru Jega; Mr Fola Adeola; Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; Pastor Tunde Bakare; Dr AbduJalil Tafawa Balewa; and Mr Fela Durotoye, among others.