The Labor Party has described the Peoples Democratic Party’s 2023 presidential bid, Atiku Abubakar’s merger proposal, as a good proposal that should be considered.
The New Nigeria People’s Party, however, said it can only accept the proposal if Atiku supports former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress in 2027.
Major opposition parties reacted to Atiku on Tuesday for opposition parties to proceed with merger to remove APC from power.
Hit reports that Atiku made the merger proposal while hosting the National Executive Committee of the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria.
The former vice president warned of the likelihood of Nigeria slipping into a one-party state.
He said: “We have all seen how the APC is increasingly turning Nigeria into a one-party dictatorship. If we do not unite to challenge what the ruling party is trying to create, our democracy will suffer and the consequences will affect generations yet unborn.”
In an exclusive interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday, the acting National Publicity Secretary of the Labor Party, Obiora Ifoh, described Atiku’s call as a good preposition that every Nigerian should take note of.
Ifoh said: “Atiku’s call is a proposal and every Nigeria will consider a good proposal that seeks to remove Octopus from power because they are not democrats.
“Every Nigerian is interested in true democracy. What we have now is far from democracy. So if opposition elements include a preposition that guarantees the introduction of democracy, why not? This preposition should be carefully considered. Anything that makes Nigerians witness democracy will be accepted.”
But the NNPP described Atiku’s call as emotional and healing after death.
The party’s national publicity secretary, Yakubu Shendam, said any merger contemplated must be aimed at supporting Kwankwaso in the presidential election, otherwise the NNPP would not be interested.
Shendam said: “It is like medicine after death. If there is any future collaboration, it should not be driven by emotion. We move on because we have a gladiator who is capable of taking over Nigeria.
“We believe that we should seek support from all sides to win the elections, from citizens. However, we believe that Kwankwaso alone can save Nigeria in 2027.
“However, this does not mean that we are not looking for players like Atiku to join our team. If there is to be a merger, there should be a merger with the NNPP because Atiku is retiring so he should support Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
“We do not want to join forces with people who are emotional, but as a party we feel comfortable having a person like Rabiu Kwankwaso as our national leader. We call on Atiku as a big brother to close ranks with Kwankwaso if he wants to be relevant in 2027.”
Meanwhile, the ruling APC said it was neither moved nor threatened by Atiku’s call on opposition parties to close ranks against the ruling party.
APC Publicity Director, Bala Ibrahim, said: “How and why should we (be threatened)? Atiku was crushed in court and defamed in the public eye. How do Atiku and his party have the means to instil the threat into the minds of the party in power?
“PDP, as far as Nigeria is concerned, is irrelevant. Atiku and PDP do not have the power to instill fear in the ruling party, especially the progressive party.”