Peoples Democratic Party to remove President Muhammadu Buhari from
office through the polls next year, may be heading for a fall.
What is shaking the table in the opposition house?
to The Punch investigations, indications that the alliance has come
under a big threat manifested when the Independent National Electoral
Commission released the timetable for party primary election.
timetable indicated that all the parties that would be taking part in
the 2019 general elections are expected to organise their primaries
between August 18 and October 8.
Findings by The Punch revealed
that all the political parties involved in the alliance have put in
place mechanisms to conduct primaries that would produce their
presidential candidates for the February 14, 2019 election.
39 parties set to produce presidential candidates
sources close to some major political parties involved in the alliance
told one of our correspondents that each of the parties had concluded
arrangements to sell nomination and expression of interest forms to
their willing members for the exercise.
Notable political parties
involved in the coalition include the Peoples Democratic Party, Social
Democratic Party, Action Democratic Party and others.
the parties had, during the signing of their Memorandum of Understanding
on the grand alliance ahead of the general elections, vowed to present a
single presidential candidate for the election.
having a sole presidential candidate, the Chairman of the SDP, Chief Olu
Falae, had also stated that the coalition must work together to have
single candidates for elections in some states, especially for the
governorship, national and state assembly elections.
Falae had noted that such arrangement was one of the ways that the ruling APC could be defeated.
had also argued that it would be difficult for an APC president to
rule, if the party forms the government at the centre, without having
majority lawmakers at both chambers of the National Assembly.
Confusion ahead after candidates’ emergence
from two of the parties that formed the alliance, told one of our
correspondents in separate interviews, in Abuja on Saturday, that it
would be difficult to persuade presidential candidates to step down
after they must have emerged as their parties’ standard bearers.
of the sources said such candidates would have spent money for
campaigns and on delegates, adding that the leadership of the coalition
also needed to know that the conventions that would produce the
candidates would be monitored by INEC.
He said that the Electoral
Act had also made it difficult for the political parties to withdraw
the names of their candidates from the commission without the consent of
the affected candidates.
“Such candidates have to even write the commission and explain why he is withdrawing from the race, “ another source added.
One of them said, “While
we plot on how to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari, who we know will
be the candidate of the APC in 2019, we must also know that there are
dangers ahead of us.
“Now, all the affected political
parties involved in this coalition are to produce their presidential
candidates before we will now go into talks on who will step down for
“We shouldn’t forget that we are dealing with an
unfriendly INEC, which is going to monitor the conduct of the
presidential primaries. The commission may insist that the names of the
winners be submitted, unless the affected candidates agree not to go
into the election.
“Now, what happens if the affected candidates
do not agree to step down? Who do we hold responsible? Or, if the
candidates now decide to step down on conditions, such as defraying the
cost of their campaigns and asking for slots in the incoming government
if we win. Who will make the refund to them?
“We should also not
forget that once the names of the presidential candidates have been
submitted to INEC, such candidates have to write to intimate the
commission that they are withdrawing before their names would be removed
from the ballot.”
It was however gathered that the coalition
under the aegis of Coalition of United Political Parties is aware of the
implications of each political party submitting the name of its
presidential candidate to INEC.
Already, it was gathered that its
leaders had started the process of making sure that the name of the
standard bearer and the party, would be unveiled before the last day for
the submission of the presidential candidates.
executive member of one of the parties involved in the alliance, Social
Democratic Party, told one of our correspondents that CUPP might be
unable to achieve its aim of supporting a presidential candidate of the
He said, “In spite of the MoU that we signed, I know
that some of us are too ambitious and if they lost the ticket at the
alliance level, since their name will still be with INEC, persuading
them to write the commission to dump their aspiration may be difficult.
happened in the Osun State PDP governorship primary, when the national
leadership in its bid to resolve the crisis generated by the election,
directed Ademola Adeleke to withdraw his running mate, Albert Adeogun,
from INEC so that Dr Akin Ogunbiyi’s camp can nominate a replacement.
Though Adeleke agreed, he refused to do that. He simply asked the man to
go under until the expiration of the number of days allowed by the
Electoral Act to do so. So, the same thing may happen to the alliance
after each of the parties, including our party, the SDP, must have
conucted our primaries.
“I have my fears for the alliance but
I don’t want to rock the boat. That is why I plead with you not to
mention my name in your story. I also know that most leaders of the 39
parties are not in tandem with the arrangement by the coalition but when
you talk to them in the open, they will say no.”
confirmed this while addressing his supporters at Ileogbo, in Ayedire
Local Government Area of Osun State after the leadership of the PDP held
a meeting with him and Adeleke in order to resolve the differences
between them recently.
Ogunbiyi said Adeleke’s camp did not honour the agreement as the name of his running mate was not withdrawn from INEC.
Electoral Act provision for candidate’s withdrawal from poll
there are fears that some of the presidential candidates of parties
involved in the coalition might take advantage of the provisions of the
Electoral Act on how candidates who won primaries and whose names had
been submitted to the commission could be changed.
INEC, in its frequently asked questions, explained the process through which names of such candidates could be dropped.
what can an aspirant who won the party primaries, but whose name was
not submitted to INEC as the candidate for his party do, the commission
said, “This is an intra-party affair. The candidate can present his
complaint to his party in writing and copy INEC. He could also apply for
the Certified True Copy of the result of the primaries from the
commission as evidence. If the party fails to resolve the issue
internally, the candidate can go to court to seek redress.”
On whether a candidate can be changed or substituted by the party, the commission answered yes, but with a caveat.
“Yes. However, a candidate can only be changed or substituted in case of death or withdrawal by the candidate.”
how such a candidate can withdraw from an election, INEC said, “You
withdraw your candidature by a written notification signed by you and
delivered by yourself to the political party that nominated you for
onward conveyance to the commission not later than 45 days to the
Candidates’ll embrace consensus after primary – CUPP
the Head of the Media and Publicity Committee of the CUPP, Mr. Ikenga
Ugochiyere, told The Punch that all the parties were free to conduct
He said once that was done, CUPP would now step in to decide the next line of action.
said, “Once all the parties are through with their internal
(presidential) primaries, the CUPP comes to life with the great task of
adopting one of the platforms in the alliance as the grand coalition
On whether the presidential candidates that would
emerge from the other political parties would agree to the arrangement,
he said, “That was why we signed the MoU first. Out of over 40 parties
one will fly the coalition’s flag.”
Asked if the leaders of all
the parties would not submit the names of winners of their presidential
candidates to INEC, he said the “coalition is working on that aspect
He said that the coalition was aware that only
candidates whose names had been submitted to the commission could
withdraw from the race, CUPP was already working on “a final road map”
on how to avoid running into a legal crisis on it.
He added, “But
membership opinion is high on the side of having the unveiling of the
coalition standard bearer before the final date for submission to avoid
the legal stress of withdrawal of candidature if all alliance members
submit and want to pull it out.”
Asked why it was difficult for
the coalition to test its strength with the Osun State governorship
election slated for September 22, Ugochiyere said the members only
agreed to work together for the presidential election.
is very clear on the area of collaboration which is the presidential
race but parties that wish to work together at the state level can go
ahead and do so on their own terms,” he added.
Coalition will uproot Buhari, says PDP
Also, the PDP has expressed hope that the coalition will unseat President Muhammadu Buhari.
National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, said this in an
interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Saturday.
said the plan of the APC was for the coalition to fail, but added that
all the parties involved in it remained committed to its success.
have passed the stage of doubting. We are on a critical stage of
implementation and with the commitment we have seen so far, we will sack
President Muhammadu Buhari next year,” he added.
Secondus also allayed the fears of members of the party and others, over the high number of its presidential aspirants.
He told The Punch that the party would manage the primary in such a way that its outcome would be acceptable to every aspirant.
said he told all the aspirants that neither him nor members of the
National Working Committee of the party had any favourite aspirants.
PDP boss said, “We have no preferred candidate. All of them are
eminently qualified to run. What we will do is to provide the enabling
environment that would make the delegates pick or elect candidates of
“Unlike the APC where no one is attempting to
challenge President Buhari, our doors are open here. The PDP is a part
of all Nigerians.”
There are about 10 aspirants currently jostling to pick the sole presidential ticket of the PDP at the moment.
the aspirants are a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar; Governor of
Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal; Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim
Dankwambo; and a former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
are, Senate President Bukola Saraki; a former Governor of Kaduna State,
Senator Ahmed Makarfi and a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter
Governmental Relations, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu (SAN ).
Parties in alliance express optimism
the National Chairman of the Democratic Peoples Party, Chief Benson
Gershon, explained that all the parties in the alliance would organise
primary elections to pick their presidential candidates.
the candidates would then participate in the ‘electoral college’ that
would produce a consensus candidate of CUPP, who is expected to contest
He said, “There won’t be any problem in the selection process. We all knew what we are going into when we signed the MoU.”
the National Chairman of Action Alliance, Mr. Kenneth Udeze, said, “No
party in the coalition is prevented from producing a presidential
candidate. After the candidates would have emerged from all the parties,
the inner caucus of the coalition will then do the screening.”