Not fewer than seven opposition political parties have formed a coalition with the view to strengthening good governance.
The parties are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Young Progressives Party (YPP) and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
In a meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, the leaders of each of the parties met and agreed to work under the aegis of the Coalition of Concerned Political Parties.
The leaders of the seven parties attended a meeting at the National Secretariat of the SDP where the coalition was formed.
Recall that Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and candidate of the PDP in the 2023 presidential election, recently called on opposition parties to unite to remove the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from power.
On November 14, when he welcomed the National Executive Committee of the Inter-Party Advisory Council Nigeria (IPAC) in his home, Atiku warned against Nigeria becoming a one-party state and urged the opposition to unite, according to Sahara Reporters.
The Labour Party (LP) and the NNPP both stated that the call should be given careful attention.
In October, Atiku called on his co-contestants on the platforms of the Labour Party, Peter Obi; and the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, to join his judicial adventure in making President Bola Tinubu account for his allegedly forged documents submitted to the electoral commission.
Atiku said this at a world press conference in Abuja, two days after his lawyers through a United States court obtained the academic records of Tinubu from the Chicago State University which showed alleged discrepancies with what the sitting Nigerian president submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission before the February election.
Both Atiku and Obi challenged Tinubu’s election at the Presidential Election Tribunal Court, for months before the tribunal overturned the cases and affirmed the president’s victory.
Speaking at the conference, Atiku said, “This quest is not for or about Atiku Abubakar. It is a quest for the enthronement of truth, morality, and accountability in our public affairs.
“In line with this, therefore, I am calling on all well-meaning Nigerians, leaders of thought, our religious leaders, our traditional leaders, our community leaders, our political leaders, and in particular, Governor Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP and, the leaders of every political party in Nigeria, and, indeed, every single person who loves this country, as I do, and who wishes nothing but the best for the country, as I do, to join me in this campaign to enshrine probity, accountability and the basic principles of justice, morality and uprightness in our country and in our government. This is a task for each and every one of us.”
But speaking to journalists, the chairman of the SDP, Shehu Gabam, clarified that the coalition was neither a merger nor was against the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC).
Gabam said the coalition urged the judiciary to strengthen their commitment to delivering judgements that will stand the test of time, citing recent Court of Appeal rulings in Zamfara, Nasarawa, Kano, and Plateau states, where coalition candidates lost to ruling party candidates.
Also speaking at the meeting, the acting National Secretary of the PDP, Setonji Koshoedo, who represented the acting party’s national chairman, Umar Damagum, explained, “This coalition wants to offer strong opposition for the good of Nigeria.
“Our duty is to offer alternative solutions to government policies.”
On his part, the National Chairman of the ADC, Chief Ralph Nwosu also said the idea behind the coalition “is to strengthen our democracy. We have seen that people in government are trying to stiffen viable opposition”.