Chinelo Obogo and Okwe Obi, Abuja
Controversy has hit the National Consultative Front, barely 24 hours after it was unveiled as the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) and former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), yesterday, denied involvement in the formation of the new political movement.
Over 30 prominent activists recently launched the new political movement called National Consultative Front on Wednesday. The group which “aimed at driving reforms” in the country, reportedly had a month-long nationwide consultation and virtual meetings before its launch.
Members of the group include former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Na’abba; former deputy governor of the Central Bank, Obadiah Mailafia, Femi Falana, Abubakar Umar;, Oby Ezekwesili; Jibo Ibrahim, Nkoyo Toyo, Isa Aremu, Chidi Odinkalu, and Shehu Sani, Remi Sonaiya, Tanko Yinusa, Shettima Yerima, Funke Awolowo, Peter Ameh and Lanre Banjo, among others.
In a communiqué, they said they would embark on “immediate mass mobilisation in all parts of the country for popular mass action towards political constitution reforms that is citizens-driven and process-led in engendering a new Peoples’ Constitution for a new Nigeria that can work for all.”
But Ikenga Ugochinyere, said in a statement that members of CUPP who attend meetings or hobnob with the group were doing so on their own volition and had nothing to do with the Coalition.
Ugochinyere, who demanded the removal of CUPP’s name, further explained that multiplicity of different groups would make it easy for the present administration to retain power in 2023, despite its shameful and abysmal performance.
“While we appreciate the fact that the crass performance of the present administration must have prompted well-meaning Nigerians to begin to meet and consult on how best to reclaim our country from the present precipice where they have dumped her awaiting to tip over, we must state that those associated with CUPP at the meeting, attended the meetings in their individual capacities and not representative of the CUPP or under our auspices.
“We must, therefore, at this point state that the name of the opposition coalition CUPP be removed from the list of member groups of this new coalition talks. CUPP leadership has never been consulted hence it will amount to misrepresentation in bad faith for these leaders to continue to use the name of CUPP.
Reacting, Agbakoba said in series of tweets that he wanted it to be on record that he was not consulted during the formation of the movement and he was not a part of it.
“My attention has been drawn to a widely circulated story that I am part of a new movement known as the National Consultative Front. Without prejudice to the need for a political movement, I want to place it on record that was not consulted and so I am not part of the National Consultative Front,” he said.