Moves to launch a Third Force Mega Party to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general elections are underway, Blueprint reports.
The Third Force agenda is being pushed by two groups identified as the National Consultative Front (NCF) and Leaders of Conscience, with key political players including former governor of Kano state, Rabiu Kwankwanso; presidential hopeful, Kingsley Moghalu; and economic expert, Pat Utomi among others.
But the duo of the ruling APC and the opposition PDP are dismissing the coalition as no threat, saying the group would go the way of others.
Notwithstanding, the mega movement in a communiqué issued by Ms Bilikis Bello for the NCF national secretariat, said the groups met Tuesday in Lagos to harmonise all the stakeholders and interest groups into a political front ahead of the general election.
The parties that have consented to the plan resolved that the mega party would be launched, “at least within the next three weeks,” after the council must have secured the consent and collaboration of other stakeholders it was eyeing.
It said: “The various consultations and negotiations among parties and stakeholders (is) aimed at forming a formidable alternative democratic Mega Party to drive the political rescue and salvation of Nigeria through the ballot in 2023.
“Members of the harmonization council include Prof Pat Utomi, Dr Usman Bugaje, Prof Kingsley Moghalu, Engr Buba Galadima, Senator Saidu Dansadau, Chief Raph Okey Nwosu, Barr Dan Nwayanwu, Hajiya Najatu Mohammed, Prof Mrs Remi Sonaiya, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo; and former Economic Adviser to the President of Nigeria, Prof Osita Ogbu.
“Others are Hon Mrs Janet Adeyemi, Dr Chris Ekiyor, Dr Sadiq Gombe, Comrade Promise Adewusi, Dr Tanko Yunusa, Barr Monday Ubani Esq., Chief Akin Braithwaite, Arc Ezekiel Nya Etok, Lady Khadija Okunnu-Lamidi, Hon Dr Olubunmi Usim Wilson, Ogbeni Lanre Banjo, Mr Segun Oshinowo, Comrade Tony Akeni, and Sir Olawale Okunniyi.”
The groups have also reportedly received solidarity from political groups and civil society organisations, including; Rescue Nigeria Project ( RNP), Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), Strategic Elements of the Civil Society Movement and Youths’ EndSars Movement, National Rescue Movement (NRM) and African Democratic Congress (ADC).
It was stated the national chairmen of the allied political parties had been invited on their respective “readiness to accommodate all partners and stakeholders in a fusion arrangement.”
“It was however observed that the presentation of one of the key allied Parties in the adoption and fusion process, the People’s Redemption Party, PRP, which has been in consultations with the NCFront and invited to the Retreat, could not be received as the Leadership of the Party was yet to give full clearance and approval to the terms, conditions and modalities contained in the MOU guiding the Fusion.
“The meeting to that extent mandated the Transition/Fusion Council to receive their presentation, if the Party is ready to interface with the process within the time frame given to the council to conclude its tasks.
“Consequent upon the two presentations and the separate pledges of the two political parties to fully honour the terms, conditions and modalities contained in the Memorandum Of Understanding, MOU drafted to guide the adoption of the Coalition Party to serve as the vehicle and platform upon which the fusion shall be consummated, the meeting set up an all inclusive Transition/Harmonisation Council to practically consummate the political fusion of all stakeholders on the platform of one of the registered allied political parties,” the communiqué reads partly.
Other popular political figures being wooed to join the proposed mega party are Prof Attahiru Jega, Dr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, Mallam Falalu Bello, Barr Femi Falana SAN, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, Barr Dan Nwayanwu, Prince Adewole Adebayo Esq, and Dr Aisha Salihu Lemu.
‘APC not threatened’
Dismissing the coalition as no threat, Chairman Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) and APC chieftain, Niyi Akinsuji, said such assemblage can never be a threat to the governing party.
Akinsuji, when asked to comment on the preparations of the group towards 2023 general elections, described it as good development, adding that APC had achieved so much to be re-elected in 2023 and beyond.
The BMO chairman said: “It is a good development for our democracy. In fact, it even shows that our democracy is fast developing as a nation. But this can’t be a threat to the ruling APC because our administration has done much to take to the public square. It now depends on the power to tell the voting public what we have been able to achieve as a party.
“So, it is not a matter of threat to the APC, it is a matter of what we have offered and what we can offer beyond 2023.”
In a similar position, the PDP said the Third Force would fizzle out soonest.
In a phone interview with Blueprint, PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Ibrahim Abdullahi, who commended those behind the outfit, said the opposition party was ready to harvest them and treat them better than other political parties.
He said: “I will start by commending and appreciating the determination of those behind the proposed third force for their plans on an alternative platform for Nigerians.
“They have realised that the clueless administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has brought Nigeria to this sorry state.
“But certainly, the PDP is not an association, it is a political party that is national in outlook with formidable structures across the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory. And it is a party that is peopled by very credible tested politicians who have carved niche for themselves.
“So, the vehicle like the PDP that has had the opportunity to lead the country for 16 years will not be threatened by an association of a group of people in the name of Third Force, who at most will fizzle out before the election proper.
“Third Force is not a threat to the PDP. PDP does not recognise them. What we do is to salute their courage, destination and focus. But certainly, in no distant time, you will not hear about the Third Force.
“They can go ahead and exercise their rights; it is within their fundamental rights as Nigerians. Our constitution provides them with that opportunity, so it’s up to them to do so. But I can assure you that there is nothing tangible that will come out of it.
“Our vehicle and platform, that is the PDP, is waiting to harvest them and treat them fairly, better than other political parties they can think of.
“A good number of them are already talking with the leadership of the PDP. They are people that we respect and they are Nigerians of note, but they are not a threat to the chances of the PDP in any election.”
On the chances of the PDP in the 2023 general elections, he said: “In the recent remark by President Muhammadu Buhari, if the APC could not unite themselves then power is already in the hands of the PDP. So if the President could see the PDP not only as a threat but as a possible successor, then what are we talking about?”