Atiku must face our candidates for screening, CUPP members insist

Atiku must face our candidates
Some members of the Coalition of United Political Parties have expressed their opposition to the adoption of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, as the consensus candidate of the CUPP without undergoing screening with candidates of other parties in the alliance.

Also, Owojela's Blog learnt on Saturday that the PDP and 38 other parties that constitute the CUPP would meet on Tuesday.

The parties, in separate interviews with the Media, noted that the alliance was still in effect and that each presidential candidate should be given a chance to emerge the standard-bearer of the coalition.

The National Secretary of the Alliance for Democracy, Pastor Fasogbon Akinboye, told one of our correspondents that the CUPP arrangement was on course.

Akinboye added that members of the coalition were not reneging on their efforts to work together as a common front to deliver the dividends of democracy to the populace.

When asked if he was confident in the party’s ability to clinch the consensus presidential ticket, he said, “Of course! There is no big party or small party. The electorate is what we count much on. The electorate is bigger than all the political parties because they (people) dictate the pace of everything and we can assure you that if the CUPP just decides to use the Alliance for Democracy, then, we are capable of giving them the best.

“We are confident that any candidate we put forward at any point in time is capable, intelligent and full of life; they can always be measured up with other candidates anywhere, any day. Politics is about give and take. If eventually all of us come round the table and say ‘Let us use Atiku’, fine. If they say, ‘Let us use the AD candidate’, all well and good. Politics should not be winner- takes-all.”

Similarly, the National Chairman of the National Conscience Party, Yunusa Tanko, described the alliance as a battle of reclaiming and winning election.

The NCP chairman said, “We said we would produce all our candidates and then, we would strategically position ourselves as to how we could win elections collectively.”

Tanko, who is also the presidential candidate of the NCP, said, though the party did not share ideologies with the PDP, it was determined to wrest power from the All Progressives Congress like the ruling party did in 2015 after forming a merger.

He added, “Don’t be surprised that I may be anointed as the coalition candidate. It is not impossible.

We may not have a common ideological leaning, but we may have common interests that join us together just like when the Action Congress of Nigeria, the Congress for Progressive Change, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, the All Nigeria People’s Party and the new PDP forged a merger.”

The National Secretary of the African Democratic Congress, Alhaji Sa’id Abdullahi, also stated that the consensus arrangement was underway.

According to Abdullahi, the modalities are still being worked out such that “very soon, everything will be finalised.”

He said, “We did our own primary and Obadiah Mailafia emerged as our presidential candidate. So, all (CUPP presidential) candidates will be sent to the pool. If it works out, we will have one consensus candidate, which is our candidate. The whole arrangement is to see that the incumbency is broken.

“That is the main aim and also, so that we do not have so many presidential candidates scattering the votes. In essence, when support is given to anyone, who emerges from the pool, everybody (in the CUPP) will be accepted. And then, it will be an all-inclusive presidential ticket. We feel we have the best candidate and our party is one of the best in the nation.”

Speaking on the screening process, the National Chairman of the Nigeria Peoples Congress, Suleiman Akasawua, said committees had been set up and that they had begun their work.

Akasawua explained that when the panels had concluded their work, they would inform the coalition on how it would go about the 2019 presidential election.

He added, “We have so many committees and all of them have a timeline. When they bring their reports, we will analyse and take a position on the way forward. The details of how the consensus candidate will emerge will be stated in the report of one of the committees which has yet to submit its report.

“It is the decision of the committee that will tell us the platform that we are going to use in order to actualise the interest of the CUPP.

“The campaign should commence in November. But before November, we are expecting that we should tell Nigerians the way forward. At that time, we’ll work as a united coalition of united parties in actualising the interest of the CUPP.”

Akasawua stated that his party also had a presidential candidate in the race.

“Almost all the parties in the CUPP have presidential candidates. After the necessary talks, an agreement would be reached and some candidates will step down to support the candidate of the CUPP as a united political entity,” he added.