Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 38 other political parties to form a grand alliance to unseat the All Progressives Congress (APC) in next year’s presidential poll.
The grand alliance christened Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) would field a single presidential candidate in 2019.
Former minister of External Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi, who read the terms of the MoU, said before it was signed by the national chairmen of the 39 political parties, another MoU on how the presidential candidate would emerge will be signed at a later date.
Speaking at the event, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, said the grand alliance marked the beginning of concerted efforts by leaders of opposition political parties to rescue the country from the grip of the APC in the 2019 general elections.
Secondus said they were not afraid of whatever the government might do to scare them, noting that their resolve was strong. He urged Nigerians to take their destiny in their own hands and rally round the alliance.
“The grand alliance will be the beginning of efforts to rescue the country. The conquest of APC is known
to Nigeria. We are not afraid. Fear has disappeared. We are ready to go on until salvation is attained. It is time for us to come together. It is time to drop personal interest. My leaders, don’t worry about them, they will fail. Let them come to arrest. History is recording their actions. They have the federal might but we have the almighty God. We want to assure our people that we are coming stronger. We are ready for all elections, except they are not ready,” the PDP leader said.
He called on President Buhari to ensure that the Ekiti State governorship election scheduled for this weekend is free and fair, warning that, “if you rig Ekiti, there would be no election in 2019, I bet you.”
Secondus added that Nigerians were tired of the killings going on in various parts of the country. He urged the President to take actions to end the killings.
Leader of the R-APC, Buba Galadima, who said the MoU would send shivers down the spines of leaders of the ruling party, expressed optimism that leaders of the coalition would do things transparently, rally round one presidential candidate, rescue the country and provide a future for the citizens.
However, he warned that defeating President Buhari would not be an easy task.
“What we are about to do will send shivers not only to those on the other side of the coin, but to the whole world. Diplomats keep wondering whether they are men and women of courage to face the monster.
“Since we made a declaration of the formation of the R-APC, we have received unprecedented messages of support all over the world. I am confident that if we do things transparently and bring up one man or woman, we will save this country. We will provide a future for our children and grandchildren.
“This is not going to be a tea party. The man we will be facing is a military general. But we know him. If I were his adviser, I will advice him not to contest. If others know what I know, not only will Buhari lose his election, he would also lose his deposits.
“Since the day we declared R-APC, a lot of people received threats. Some of us are old soldiers. And as history say, old soldiers never die. We are ready to take up this fight, in spite of any deprivation or even torture.
“They can use the big stick. Whatever they choose to do, we are prepared to lay down our lives. They have said so many things. They said we are inconsequential. They say we don’t matter. If we are inconsequential, why are they running helter skelter?” Chairman of the nPDP,
Kawu Baraje, who led some PDP members, including the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; five governors and several members of the National Assembly among others out of the opposition party in 2013 admitted that they went astray.
“I want to thank the PDP for accepting and taking us back,” he declared.
He recalled that when he led members of the nPDP to join other parties to form the APC, former Senate President, David Mark had warned him against the move.
On his part, former Osun State governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who spoke on behalf of the ADC said the MoU was unprecedented in the country. According to him, the alliance is “a watershed to redirect the affairs,” of the country.
Oyinlola added that Nigerians had high hopes in 2015 that the APC will take the country to the “Promised Land,” but the ruling party “failed and failed tragically.”
He appealed to leaders of the coalition to respect the terms of the agreement.
Similarly, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae, who spoke on behalf of the SDP, said the coalition was the only alternative to rescue the country.
The former SGF noted that a lot of Nigerians were distressed because of the terrible state of the country, stating that “we remain poor because of incompetence.”
He urged leaders of the opposition political parties to ensure that individual ambitions did not derail the objective of the group.
Earlier, former PDP National Secretary, Chief Ben Ndi Obi had said the coalition will usher in a Government of National Unity in
2019, that will pull back the country from the brink and put an end to ineptitude and nepotism that have characterized the APC administration.
“Since assuming office, the APC has totally messed up the economy. We are here to reverse that trend. The parties have resolved to elevate public interest against private interest. We are here to send a strong signal to the government that we are set to take over. It is a war between light and darkness. And the light shall prevail for the benefit of all Nigerians,” Obi stated.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, assured that the coalition would rescue Nigeria and restore her on the path of democratic freedom, joy, security and development.
He said: “For three years, what I see on the faces of Nigerians is frustration and anguish. But for the first time, ItellyouthatIsawjoy.Isaw people laughing and smiling for the first time in three years.
“Those our brothers and sisters, and investors, who left Nigeria in the last three years are also rejoicing with you because by this time next year, they will all be back.
“Those factories that were closed are going to come back alive by this time next year and Nigerians will rejoice. The people of the South East whom the programmes and practices of this government are forcing them to have a rethink on their membership of this country, today will rejoice and be happy that a new country that will be fair to all is coming; a country that they will be proud to be part of and continue to contribute to her development.”
The 39 parties are Action Alliance (AA), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Africa Democratic Party (ADC), Action Democratic Party (ADP), All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP), Action Peoples Party (APP), Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Better Nigeria Progressive Party, Democratic Alternative (DA), Democratic Peoples Party (DPC), Grand Democratic Party of Nigeria (GDPN), Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), KOWA Party, Labour Party (LP), Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA), Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN).
Also included are the National Conscience Party (NCP), New Generation Party (NGP), National Unity Party (NUP), Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), Peoples Alliance for National Development and Liberty (PANDEL), Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Providence People’s Congress (PPC), Reformed All Progressive Congress (RAPC), Restoration Party of Nigeria (RPN), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), All Grassroots Alliance (AGA), National Interest Party (NIP), Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), and Young Democratic Party (YDP).