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‘They can meet all they want’, APC reacts to Atiku, Obi meeting

‘They can meet all they want’, APC reacts to Atiku, Obi meeting

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that it was not intimidated by speculations that the Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) might be planning a merger.

The National Publicity Director of the APC, Bala Ibrahim, jeered at the thoughts of a merger to defeat his party.

Ibrahim said, “In a democracy, meeting of politicians is not forbidden. Parties, people and politicians can meet to decide what to do politically and democratically. As long as their meetings are not designed to derail democracy, there is nothing wrong with that.

“The PDP, Labour Party and others together were the same parties defeated by the APC. The ruling party took them to the cleaners where the president scored the highest votes. They are free to meet. But as they are meeting, so is the APC with a view to strengthening our support base to woo more people, based on the dividend of democracy extended to them by the president and our party.

READ ALSO: Former BBC editor, Bala Ibrahim, gets appointment as APC publicity director

“Obi’s meeting with Atiku and others is nothing to make the APC lose its sleep. You talked about the party being under pressure. How? These are parties that are increasingly losing grip and support. They are probably in a panic situation. Now, they want to sit and look at what to do with a view to increasing their support base ahead of 2027. But that is too long a time to go.

“This is also not to say we are going to be sleeping between now and when the time comes. We don’t talk about crossing the bridge until we get there. By that time, if they feel like coming out to merge, that will even be better for democracy. But whatever they resolve by 2027, we are going to beat them hands down.”

Premature?

Reacting to the drama, a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, and the President of the Nigerian Political Science Association, Professor Hassan Saliu, both concurred that the LP-PDP chieftains meeting appeared premature.

They also expressed concerns that the purported alliance might likely collapse before it is birthed.

In two separate interviews, the political analysts raised fear that supporters from both camps are unlikely to cooperate, raising questions on who should yield the presidential position to the other.

Effiong said, “It is premature to engage in discussions about 2027. I am unsure of the agenda of their meeting. They have the freedom of association. It is within their right to convene and discuss issues that interest them. However, if this pertains to the next general election, Nigerians will wait.

“Personally, I believe Atiku, in particular, should retire from the political scene. I don’t think he has age on his side, and I don’t think the dynamics of Nigerian politics favor his candidacy. But if they decide to form a coalition or alliance, it is up to them to present it to Nigerians, who will decide whether to align with them or not.”

Effiong, elaborating on the notion that Nigerians are focused on sustenance rather than the politics of 2027, mentioned that the PDP has played a role in the nation’s challenges, and citizens may not support them.

He continued “I think it is too early for this. Most Nigerians are focused on survival. We are dealing with a dire situation; the economy is in a poor state. So, it is too early for politics.

“I do not foresee a political alliance between the two of them, given how deeply divided their supporters are. Peter Obi’s supporters may not accept any alliance that would make him Atiku’s running mate. Moreover, the PDP, as a party, has contributed to the country’s problems.

“Therefore, forming an alliance will be challenging because their interests do not align. However, it is politics. Nigerians should wait and see what transpires. In my opinion, we should not overestimate the significance of their meeting.”

On his part, Saliu stated that, in practical terms, the alliance between Atiku and Obi would fail due to the pressure that would come from their supporters.

He stated “Both of them still have their sights set on the Presidency. But the question remains: who will yield to the other? Will they run on a joint ticket? Will Obi step down along with his impatient followers?

“The likely scenario is that they will aim to collaborate as a team. However, another scenario is that the alliance may fracture along the way. It’s unlikely that Atiku will concede to Obi, given his age and strong desire to become Nigeria’s President.

“However, in practical terms, it seems improbable. Some of Obi’s supporters will abandon him once he aligns with Atiku. Additionally, the number of Atiku’s followers is decreasing day by day. Therefore, there will be pressure on both of them, especially on Obi, not to form a joint ticket with Atiku.”

Faruk Khalil
Faruk Khalilhttps://nigeriansketch.com/
Khalil Faruk (Deputy Editor-in-Chief), has a Bachelors and Master's degree in Political Science and has worked as a reporter, features editor and Deputy Editor-in-Chief respectively in a leading Nigerian daily. He has undergone trainings in journalism, photo journalism and online journalism within and outside Nigeria.

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