Why Obasanjo, Falae fell apart
The decision to move in to African Democratic Congress (ADC) therefore, is an appreciation of the progressive essence of the party and its untainted existence on the terrain of our nation’s politics.”
It was on those explanatory note that former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s fangled Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) went into oblivion and immediate reincarnation.
This would be the former President’s second withdrawal or retirement from active engineering of the social forces.
But quite unlike when he announced his withdrawal from active partisan politics through public destruction and desecration of his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), this time around he was retreating to the background from where he would influence daytime activities of ADC.
Most Nigerians recall that Obasanjo declared his intention to withdraw from active participation in the CNM whenever the movement fuses or transmutes to a political party.
Signs of a crack within the third force proponents came when shortly after Obasanjo and his foot soldiers launched the CNM, the former national President of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Olisa Agbakoba, came up with Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM).
Yet, noting the possible deleterious impact the segregation could have on the third force dream, Obasanjo encouraged discussions between CNM and NIM with a view to ensuring the much-needed political synergy.
But, instead of the tributaries leading into a common course, at a unification meeting in Lagos, the former President showed up at the venue with one of his political godsons, the Senator representing Kano Central in the Senate and former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Whether it was deliberate or a concerted attempt to test the reaction of other delegates, the presence of Kwankwaso caused some disquiet, with Agbakoba wondering why the Senator should be part of the meeting when the third force was predicated on sidetracking political actors of APC and PDP hues.
Nonetheless, the former President continued the mobilisation of the CNM, pointing out that the movement would seek a political party to adopt for the purposes of taking part in the 2019 election.
SDP Romance, Atiku’s Shadows
AT the height of the euphoria of CNM and the third force nomenclature, the national chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae, paid a visit on Chief Obasanjo at Abeokuta.
Falae, who addressed journalists after the meeting explained that he was in Abeokuta ‘to exchange views with Baba Obasanjo on the affairs of Nigeria.”
The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) under former military President Ibrahim Babangida, said many right thinking Nigerians see “the need for all to work together to ensure a good, beneficial, peaceful and progressive change in Nigeria.”
However, despite Falae’s denial that the meeting with Obasanjo was not connected to his (Falae’s) rumoured presidential ambition, words started making the rounds that CNM was about adopting SDP as the third force.
Sources disclosed that while efforts were being made to adopt SDP as the choice party for the third force onslaught on the polity in 2019, the issue of whom flies the party’s Presidential flag was being discussed by the leaders.
While Babangida was said to have indicated interest in the incumbent Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Chief Obasanjo preferred Kwankwaso. “It was this issue of Presidential ticket that compelled the PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus to visit Babangida alongside members of his National Working Committee (NWC),” the source said.
As the scheming for the likely presidential aspirant to support continued to elicit debates and discussion within SDP, Obasanjo and elements of CNM were said to have discovered the leaning of major party stalwarts towards the former Vice President, Atiku.
Sources disclosed that it was at the demonstration of inflexible aversion of SDP leaders to Kwankwaso that CNM deepened its search for a platform to adopt comprehensively.
Lifeline For ADC
WHILE CNM continued its frantic search for a platform, it was discovered that the African Democratic Congress (ADC) was willing to abide by its terms, which included total surrender of the party structure.
Contrary to popular perception, ADC is not a recent creation as the party had been in existence since 2007. Chairman of ADC, Raphs Okey Nwosu, was a foundation member of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), who quit the party after Mr. Peter Obi was adopted as APGA governorship candidate in 2002.
At the build up to the 2007 election, Nwosu founded ADC, on which platform he contested the Anambra State governorship election on four occasions. The party continued to struggle, returning barren results at subsequent polls.
Obasanjo’s CNM came as a lifeline against the backdrop of speculations that parties that fail to net one electoral victory during the 2019 would be delisted. Furthermore the delicate nature of ADC conforms to what CNM desired, especially “making a mark in the 2018 and 2019 polls.”
From the text of the press conference addressed by the co-convener of CNM, Prince Olagunsoye Onyilola, the hurry to adopt ADC was facilitated by the inherent structural weakness of the party.
For instance, adopting SDP would not have been seamless and easy as ADC acquisition proved.
In fact, a source privy to the adoption confided in The Guardian that while any other well established party would have had recourse to NEC meetings, signing of Memorandum of Association (MoU) and convention to ratify the fusion, in the case of ADC, it was just a mere discussion with Nwosu and his secretary.
Implications Of ADC Reinvention
WITH the adoption of ADC as platform of choice for CNM, the Southwest geopolitical zone would be a big battleground for the 2019 poll. Chief Obasanjo seems to have succeeded in accomplishing what he could not achieve in 2003, when the battle for his second term in office raged.
The former President has unwittingly squared up to the former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who through the appropriation of a faction of the Alliance of Democracy (AD) carved a territory for political negotiations.
By adopting ADC therefore, and entrusting it in the hands of one of his loyal foot soldiers, Oyinlola, Obasanjo can afford to sit back and direct proceedings in the platform for national relevance.
The implication of the foregoing is that the Southwest will go into electoral battle in 2019 from four cardinal points. While Tinubu leads the divided APC flank, Falae would be directing proceedings on the SDP platform, just as Ayo Fayose and Obasanjo make their cases through PDP and ADC respectively.
It could be inferred from the above portent scenario that Presidential candidates of those four platforms will scramble for votes in the zone.
And given the DNA of ADC grafting, the auguries point to the possibility of a northern Presidential aspirant running with a Vice Presidential nominee from the Southeast.
Obasanjo had on various occasions made a case for the Southeast to gamble for the Presidency. With ADC now in his kitty, the former President can attempt to kill two birds with one stone.
That might be what the CNM alluded to when it declared: “It was resolved that with the understanding of like minded persons and organisations across the country, Nigeria will be rescued, and that the elections of 2018 and 2019 will be used to cure the curse and afflictions of failed leadership and perpetual underdevelopment.”
It is obvious therefore that Obasanjo and his gang of CNM advocates have the Ekiti and Osun governorship polls in mind in their hurried acquisition of ADC as party platform.
The two crucial elections stand out as a possible basis to assess the effectiveness of Obasanjo’s political theories and practice.
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