2019: PDP, APC top shots form Nigerian Patriots •To seek INEC registration

A new political movement, the Nigerian Patriots, which the initiators say will metamorphose to a mega-party before the 2019 general election, has emerged, Nigerian Tribune has scooped.

Leading lights in all the six geopolitical zones of the country are involved in the movement, which, according to them, was designed to restore sanity and inclusiveness in the Nigerian political space.

Insiders claimed a couple of former  Nigerian leaders and vice presidents, as well as a sizeable number of former and serving state governors, senators and House of Representatives, as well as eminent politicians, in all the leading existing parties in the country were also said to be part of the association.

Findings showed that chieftains of such parties as the Labour Party and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), as well as leaders of mass-based regional groupings, were part of the proposed “all-inclusive party.”

But, the leaders of the existing parties have remained at the background to avoid a possible backlash, leaving their fronts to do the needful, especially in the ongoing meetings and consultations across the political divides and zones in the country.

It was learnt that most of the leaders in the South-West comprised former governors that served on the platforms of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and even the Alliance for Democracy (AD), who were said to be uncomfortable with some prevailing situations in their parties.

The steering committee of the proposed party is headed by a PDP top shot, Chief Dosu Oladipo, who confirmed that the leaders indeed stepped up strategic meetings in the last few weeks to strengthen the coalition across the country.

“The good in all the parties have decided to come together, and anybody that wants the survival of Nigeria should join us in the Nigerian Patriots. We will apply to INEC for registration at the appropriate time. It is not a project we have to execute in a hurry,” he stressed.

The endemic crisis in the PDP, which worsened after its defeat at the 2015 elections, has split the party into two factions culminating in a rash of litigations over national leadership.

Two attempts by the PDP to hold an elective national convention were aborted, because of the supremacy contest between two factions at the national level.

A cold war in the All Progressives Congress (APC) is also manifest in the contest for supremacy in the National Assembly caucus of the party and in a number of state chapters.

The power tussle in both the PDP and APC has lately amplified the thesis about the possibility of the emergence of a third force to checkmate the unhealthy slide in the political circle.

While some prominent individuals advocated what they described as the need for a third force because of the schism in the APC and PDP, others had categorically called for like-minds to come and form a new party that would be broad-based.

The Head of Political Science Department, University of Ibadan, Professor Osisioma Nwolise, recently observed that the PDP had been unable to play the role of opposition because “it is in a state of coma.”

He added: “We need a vibrant opposition and if the PDP cannot come out with a new name and rebrand itself, then the third force will come up and overshadow the PDP and that will be the end of the party. So, the earlier they organise and rebrand themselves and forget the name PDP, the better for the nation, the better for the members. PDP, as a party, as far as I am concerned is dead and gone.”

Nigerian Tribune gathered that some leaders of the Nigerian Patriots from the South-West chapter of the coalition met in Ibadan,  last week, as part of the ongoing meetings and consultations to fine tune strategies at making the proposed party “attractive and different from the existing parties, especially the PDP, APC.”

It was learnt that the promoters of the Nigerian Patriots said one of the ways they planned to achieve the aim was to evolve a blueprint that addressed the multifaceted challenges facing the country.

This, according to the initiators, became necessary because of the belief that the present political parties and their leaders did not present clear-cut blueprint to convince Nigerians about their sincerity and capability to tackle national issues.

When contacted on the proposed party, the interim national coordinator, Chief Oladipo, said the members included top politicians from all parts of the country, who strongly believed in restoring good governance by ending an era f impunity and ineptitude to the political space.

He said: “Anybody that wants the survival of this country should come to the Nigerian Patriots. It is not a socio-cultural group; it is a political group.  We are reaching out to all leaders across the six geopolitical zones. We have consolidated in the South-West; South-East, South-South; North-Central; North-East and the North-West. At the appropriate time, the Nigerian Patriots will apply for registration by INEC,” he stated.

He disclosed that he and other leaders of the steering committee met in Ibadan, last Wednesday, in the ongoing moves to consolidate on the gains of the past few weeks of serious engagements and consultations.

Oladipo dismissed the belief in certain quarters that given the strength and structures of  the APC and PDP,  coupled with their spread and enormous resources at their disposal, those behind the new party were wasting their time.

He queried: “Which structures and resources does PDP have that Senator Ali Modu Sheriff will not use the judiciary to hammer, or Makarfi use the judiciary to hammer? What is the friendship that exists between the power blocs in the ?”

He said the PDP had become part of history because of internal contradictions, stating that, “if you have an undertaker, contact them. The PDP problem is deep-rooted, not only at the top; not only at the zone; not only at the senatorial, but even down the ward. The same thing is happening in the APC, unless we are deceiving ourselves.”

However, he did not  state how soon NP would apply for registration by INEC because of the need to avoid what he described as some mistakes that characterised the formation of mega parties in  the past.

“You don’t do things in haste, when it comes to forming the kind of formidable national party we are involved. We are promoting the principle of inclusiveness and consultation. We are still reaching out to other like-minds across board and once they say, ‘oh, it is time to move to the next stage, we will gladly comply.”