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Fringe parties strive to spring surprises in 2019

By Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos
24 February 2017   |   4:54 am
The mindset that fringe political parties cannot spring surprises in a major political contest in Nigeria, especially the presidential and governorship elections...

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The mindset that fringe political parties cannot spring surprises in a major political contest in Nigeria, especially the presidential and governorship elections, may not be the case in the 2019 general elections given the ongoing intrigues and realignments of political forces.

Many of such parties that could not make significant impact in previous elections, particularly in the 2015 general elections, have begun the process of fusing their thoughts, activities and resources together with the aim of taking advantage of the perennial crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the uncertainty that pervades the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

One of the reasons responsible for the sudden display of confidence by some leaders of the minor parties was that if it was possible for the APC to emerge in 2014 and shortly after defeat the PDP, nothing would stop them from achieving similar feat.

Another source of confidence is the fact that as APC successfully took advantage of the disenchantment of Nigerians against the PDP in the last poll, so also any well-organized party can, given that Nigerians have similarly been dissatisfied with the APC in the last 19 months.

In the last general polls, 30 political parties participated but only four, the APC, PDP, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Accord Party made impacts.

Perhaps this was enhanced and made possible by the new agitations by some Nigerians who spread across party, ethnic and professional level to form a mega party.

Speaking on what the shape of the next elections might look like, the national chairman of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Alhaji Yahaya Sani, assured Nigerians that his party would hamstring the APC at the polls, as he also intimated that the PDP, which ruled the country for 16 years before it suffered defeat, would be checkmated.

The ADP national chairman made the assertion at the inauguration of the party’s State Working Committee held in Jos, Plateau State.

Besides, the national secretary of National Conscience Party (NCP), Mr. Ayodele Akele, who have been in a running legal battle with the APC in Lagos over the ruling party’s refusal to conduct council is of the similar views that all minor parties could come together and team up with Nigerians to take over power from the centre.

Akele, who could not draw any line of difference between the ousted PDP and the incumbent APC said, “It was foolhardy in the first place to imagine that APC, which hurriedly merged in 2014, having foreseen the irresolvable PDP crisis and the sharp disenchantments of Nigerians against Jonathan has not been able to perform differently.

According to Sani, it was time stakeholders came together and resolved to dislodge APC and PDP which he described as spent forces that are no longer desirable by Nigerians.

To him, “The APC came on board not to lead but to secure power. The party lacks focus. Come 2019 general elections, ADP would vehemently resist any form of rigging attempt by both the APC and PDP.”

He insisted that the party is prepared and ready to take over power to save the country from the present calamities that the country has found itself in the hands of the ruling party.

He was particularly bitter that the government was unable to resolve the economic challenges, which has brought untold hardship to the people with many Nigerians living in abject poverty without any hope of early end in sight.

Also, he decried the persistent state of insecurity, insisting that the present administration like the previous one, has not adequately addressed the matter.

“APC government did not come with a mandate to give Nigerians leadership but it is only interested in changing government. That was why when they took over government in 2015, it took them close to eight months to appoint Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff and other appointees,” the ADP stalwart stated, saying the time has come for an alternative administration at the centre.

He contended that the seeming disagreement within the APC would give any credible opposition party as the ADP a good chance to emerge victorious in 2019.

Similarly, the Plateau State chairman of ADP, Ambassador Nanyah Andrew Daman, expressed optimism that the minor parties would team up with Nigerians in 2019 to put a stop to the alleged bad governance, “we will give Nigerians an all inclusive government, support to the youth in political positions, adopt the Option A4 thereby putting an end to delegates elections.”

The party also expressed dissatisfaction with what it termed tendency towards favouritism in the appointment to public office noting that it was a major bane to development and growth of the nation’s democracy.

It said that since 1966 when the first military coup took place, retarded development in the country has always been associated with nepotism, ethnicity, favouritism, corruption among others, but Daman maintained that ADP would treat Nigerians and all party faithful equally when it comes to elections as the electorate will always decide who becomes their leader as against the practice by some parties.

On his part, the NCP stalwart said Nigerians must find a means to remove the dominance of APC as well as resist PDP ahead of 2019.

Last year, in the peak of criticism by Nigerians over non-performance of the APC administration, one of the founding members of the APC, Prince Tony Momoh asserted that the party was determined to change the fortunes of the country.

He said that Nigerians should stone them out of office, if they failed to deliver after two years. It is barely three months to the second anniversary of the APC in power and it would be interesting to know the reactions that would follow.

Parties like ADP, NCP and others in same mold look forward to capitalize on these misfortunes of APC and PDP boost their chances in the coming polls.

For instance, Sani is confident that his party would be the ultimate beneficiary of the Court of Appeal’s verdict validating Senator Ali Modu Sherrif’s chairmanship of the PDP.

He disclosed that immediately the verdict was pronounced “some staunch members of the PDP who were not comfortable with the judgment, “started putting telephone calls to me that they want to be members of the party (ADP).”

Although he refused to disclose names of persons involved, he claimed that he cautioned them that there is no room to hijack the party.