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Atiku, Obi meeting sparks alliance speculations ahead 2027 polls

Atiku, Obi meeting sparks alliance speculations ahead 2027 polls

The 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, on Monday, held a closed-door meeting with former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, and a number of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwarts in Abuja.

Obi also met separately with a former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, a development that sparked speculation about a potential coalition ahead of the 2027 general elections.

Obi was a member of the PDP until 2022 when he defected to the Labour Party to pursue his presidential ambition.

He came third behind Atiku in the February 23 presidential election, which was won by Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Pundits argued that Atiku’s 6,984,520 votes and Obi’s 6,101,533 votes would have secured victory against Tinubu, who garnered 8,794,726 votes.

READ ALSO: Peter Obi vows to leave Labour Party if …

Monday’s meeting was the first time since after the election that Obi and Atiku would be meeting to public knowledge.

Online platforms and social media were awash with viral photographs of Obi’s meeting with the three PDP chieftains on Monday.

In 2019, both Atiku and Obi ran on the PDP joint ticket but were defeated by former President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC.

But due to internal conflicts, Obi, who served as Atiku’s running mate in 2019, left the PDP and contested the 2023 presidential election as the candidate of the Labour Party.

Coalition underway?

Peter Obi and Sule Lamido
Peter Obi visited Sule Lamido too

Atiku’s media adviser, Paul Ibe, said there exists the potential for a coalition ahead of the 2027 presidential election.

The aide also confirmed that Obi’s meeting with Atiku lasted approximately 20 minutes.

He stated, “Yes, Peter Obi visited Atiku Abubakar. They met for about 20 minutes behind closed doors, so we wouldn’t know what was said, and they didn’t disclose anything to us.

“Since Atiku Abubakar mentioned coalition discussions and such, I believe that both of them must have been engaged in dialogue. And I did mention that they wouldn’t be discussing it in the media. So, they have indeed been in discussions and it is just a matter of those discussions bearing fruit.

“Regarding the coalition talks, perhaps it is already underway. The possibility does exist.”

2027 challenge

In his response, the Deputy National Youth Leader of the PDP, Timothy Osadolor, remarked that the meeting had been delayed for too long. He said Nigerians were eagerly anticipating political unity among opposition parties to remove President Tinubu from power in 2027.

Osadolor said, “It’s positive to see these leaders coming together to challenge President Tinubu in the 2027 election.

“They will work to save and restore the nation. More of these meetings are necessary to strengthen unity among opposition parties. They must do everything lawfully possible to rescue Nigeria.

“With PDP’s acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum, overseeing these developments, I am convinced that the PDP leadership is supporting Atiku, Saraki, and Lamido. Thus, I believe that this rapport aims to unite the PDP and other major groups into a single force capable of not only defeating the APC-led Federal Government but also stabilising the economy and improving Nigeria’s functionality.”

Speculations?

On his part, the Chief Spokesman of Obi’s Presidential Campaign Organisation, Yunusa Tanko, explained that the closed-door meeting with the PDP bigwigs bordered on discussions on how to rescue the ‘soul of Nigeria’ from the clutch of the ruling APC.

He said, “I am not privy to their meetings. But what you are seeing are some of the long discussions we have had a long time ago. It is part of the discussions and efforts to battle for the soul of Nigeria.

“It is not a surprising thing for Obi to meet some of his political allies to discuss the situation of the country. That is the little that I can say for now.”

On the chances of Obi returning to the PDP or the possibility of a merger between the Labour Party and the PDP, Tanko said such talks would only remain in the realm of speculations.

“Well, not really. Those are the permutations of individuals. I don’t want to dwell on that. But this is still an ongoing discussion. His destination will reveal itself later. Some of these discussions (Obi returning to PDP) are offshoots of what has been happening since the last election.

“We need to wait and see how these discussions pan out. Let’s hope they bring a positive outcome in the long run,” he said.

When reached for comment, the LP National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, characterised the meeting as timely, saying additional meetings had been scheduled to occur.

He stated: “Yes, it was a meeting of like-minded individuals who believe there is a need for better leadership in our nation. They are people who see that Nigerians are suffering, not receiving what they bargained for, and observe corruption persisting in high places while Nigeria’s resources are mismanaged.

“They believe it’s the right time to unite and take action to address the challenges facing Nigeria today. Despite the government being barely a year old, Nigeria is facing difficult times under the APC administration, which seems directionless.

“This meeting is just the beginning; there will be further interactions and gatherings with other individuals. Together, they will brainstorm on how to rescue the nation. The party is fully aware of the meeting and is committed to working hard to achieve something significant for our country.”

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