Nigeria: Fear grip APC, PDP as SDP emerges third force
• Top politicians defect
• Movements, coalitions, activists, other declare support.
There is palpable fear within the Nigerian ruling class, specifically All Progressive Congress and its major opposition, People Democratic Party, as Nigerians and top politicians across the country seem to have opted for Social Democratic Party as the third force in the country.
Social Democratic Party is the party under which the late business mogul, Chief Moshood Kolawole Abiola (MKO) contested for the presidential election and won in 1993 before its annulment by the former head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida.
The emergence of SDP as the third force in Nigeria commenced recently owing to the failure which the citizens have suffered in the hand of PDP that has ruled the country for 16 years and the current administration led by President Muhamadu Buhari.
It is believed that the top political parties do not have what it takes to alleviate the suffering of the masses with more quagmires befalling the nation on a daily basis.
The genesis of new SDP
The new SDP which is headed by a former secretary to the government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, came into being after a memorandum of understanding was signed between some aggrieved members of APC and PDP who decided to leave their parties and form a new movement with SDP. All to save the country from collusion.
The development has swiftly brought about a massive change in the political landscape.
The National Chairman of SDP, Chief Falae, while talking with our correspondent over the development said the party was ready to save the country from the mess APC and Buhari have created in the last three years.
He maintained that “We are ready to fill the leadership vacuum and provide a serious government whose priority was the welfare of the people since Nigeria was in dire need of a political platform that would take her to the Promised Land.”
Confirming the report that SDP is assuming the role of the envisaged third force, Falae said the party was negotiating with many movements, adding that SDP is ready to welcome everybody into its fold.
“We are in dialogue with many of them and the dialogue is positive. You will hear more news. SDP is a very ambitious party. If all Nigerians decide to join SDP, I will welcome them all.”
Prof. Jerry Gana, a former information minister who was also a member of PDP board of trustee, in his contribution, said “When men and women of principles see good ideas, the majority will flock into the movement. You can see with me Prof. Alkali, Prof. Tunde Adeniran. This will be an attraction. Many people are also contacting us.”
Gana, who is now the chairman of the SDP National Steering Committee, said at the press conference already held that the party was still in a transition period between now and April when it would hold its convention.
Apart from Gana and Prof. Adeniran, other figure-heads present at the conference included Dr. Olu Agunloye, the former Chief Executive of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) who was also a one-time Minister.
Other big names that are now associated with SDP include former Military Administrator of Katsina State, Sen. Joseph Akaagerger; former Governor of Jigawa State, Saminu Turaki and former Chief of Staff to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, among many others.
Leaders of the Nigerian Intervention Movement (NIM), like Dr. Jhalil Tafawa Balewa and civil society organizations, like the Civil Liberties Organisations (CLO), have also been mentioned to be part of the ongoing political discussions and re-engineering.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the development SDP has already secured the “full support of socio-cultural organizations like the Middle Belt Forum, Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the South-South Assembly.”
APC, PDP panic as SDP woos Obasanjo, Saraki, Atiku, others
Reliable sources within SDP have confirmed to our correspondent that the party was in serious talk with former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, and former vice-president Atiku Abubakar.
According to him, Obasanjo is believed to be a force that is widely respected by all in the country. It was also said that his newly formed Coalition for Nigerian Movement (CNM) which is already in strong alliance political big weight cross the country is a major determinant in the coming general election in 2019.
Chief Olu Falae, also exclusively told our correspondent that “ Obasanjo was my boss when I served under him. I will personally contact him for total support.”
It was also gathered that SDP leadership have been in talks with Senate president Bukola Saraki and Atiku Abubakar among others.
On former vice president Atiku Abubakar, it was learned that SDP had contacted him as the odds of a presidential candidate may later favor him.
But Atiku in his response said he was not ready to leave PDP this time around.
The spokesperson of the former vice president, Paul Ibe told our correspondent that “Atiku is not ready to leave PDP now. He is yet to be fulfilled in PDP, so why will he move to SDP? There is nothing like that.”
As for Bukola Saraki, he told our correspondent that talks are ongoing to woo the Kwara political big weight into SDP.
“I am aware that he has been contacted, and we are all ready to move with him wherever he moves, Akogun, Akeem, Saraki’s supporter from Ilorin said.”
SDP fresh option
One of the things that may go for the new political force is the idea of it offering a fresh option to Nigerians.
Hon. Babatunde Enigbokan, a chieftain of the SDP in Lagos State, said “For us in the SDP, we believe very firmly that ours is the fresh and new option Nigerians are yearning for. Here is a party without the numerous scandals, disappointments and failures for which both the APC and the PDP are well known for.
“It is this newness we are banking on to attract Nigerians to our side. We have no blemish. We have no baggage and Nigerians can easily identify with us as a party of patriots who haven’t deceived the people in any way.
“The same way Nigerians looked forward to and accepted APC when it came; we believe Nigerians will rally round the SDP ahead of the 2019 General Election. The difference is that we will not promise what we will not do.”
SDP inaugurates NWC members
In what looks like a quick bid to hit the ground running, SDP members have constituted its national working committee members.
The party formally unveiled its National Working Committee (NWC), vowing to restructure the country, if it wins the 2019 presidential election. The inauguration of the new party executives took place in Abuja, and the event was attended by the recent defectors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including ex-Information Minister, Prof Jerry Gana and former Education Minister, Prof Tunde Adeniran. Both party leaders, who were Board of Trustees (BoT) members of PDP, had defected to SDP last week. While former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae retained his position as National Chairman, Dr. Abdul Ahmed Isiaq is the Deputy National Chairman. In his address at the occasion, Falae lamented the death of leadership in the country, noting that the SDP would address fundamental challenges bedeviling the Nigerian state if elected into power. According to him, the party is irrevocably committed to justice, fairness, democracy, accountability and zero tolerance for corruption, adding that the SDP government will go the whole hog to ensure international cooperation to build common humanity, within a secure and peaceful world order. “The SDP shall tirelessly pursue effective implementation of restructuring the Nigerian federation and reconciling the various peoples so as to achieve peace, harmony, security, defence, and stability–We shall grow and transform the national economy to be dynamic, productive and sustainable, so as to generate incomes, create jobs and produce prosperity for all Nigerians–We shall raise Nigeria’s defence capabilities in order to ensure effective defence, peace, and security,” Falae stated even as he stressed the preparedness of the party to “refine Nigeria’s foreign policy to promote international cooperation, trade, and a peaceful world order.” In what appeared as a condemnation of successive administrations’ inability to efficiently harness the resource endowments in the land, Falae noted that under the watch of an SDP government, Nigeria would witness an “Accelerated power generation, power transmission, and power distribution to provide the essential energy requirements for national development.” Other members of the NWC at the gathering included Shehu Gabam (National Secretary), Dr. Junaid Mohammed (National Vice Chairman), Barrister Joseph Abu (National Legal Adviser) and Comrade Stanley Nwakanma (Youth leader). Others included Chief Nnamdi Clarkson (National Treasurer), Akinbode Oluyemi (National Publicity Secretary) and Barrister Emeka Atuma (National Organising Secretary), among others.
Political parties, groups ready to support SDP
Further findings by our correspondent have revealed that leadership of SDP has been in various negotiations with other minor political parties across the country to form a mega alliance.
Our correspondent gathered that the talk which is currently made secretive is yielding with favorable negotiations to form a formidable party.
The national chairman of Young Democratic Party, Alhaji Shettima Yerima, confirmed to our correspondent that consultations are ongoing on the development. However, no tangle conclusion has been reached.
He explained that his party would not hesitate to take an option that will ensure the coming back of a true democracy into Nigeria and also alleviate the suffering of the masses.
“Consultations are ongoing, and we don’t mind alliance that will save Nigerian masses from the suffering our people have being into in the hand of the evil politicians that have taken over the country for the time being”.
A stalwart of KOWA party which contested the presidential election in 2015, Professor Oluremi Sonaiya, said KOWA though had not been contacted for an alliance with SDP, but the party will be ready to make moves that will save the face of the country. “I know that KOWA has not yet formally entered into any discussion with any other party, but I don’t think it’s something that we have ruled out, but currently to my best knowledge, we have not entered into an agreement with any other party.”
The Civil Liberties Organisation said though it doesn’t engage in partisan politics, it was ready to examine SDP manifesto to see if it could be encouraged ahead of 2019.
The national president of the civil group, comrade Kenny Bakare, maintained that “We are not into partisan politics, we do not join any party, the only thing is that will emerge we tend to monitor their affairs. If they are doing well at manifesto, we will monitor them under the position and give them advice.”
Kenny also noted that Nigerians must think straight in the coming electioneering to use their voting right to alleviate their suffering