THE National Chairman, National Unity Party (NUP), Chief Perry Opara, on Monday said only a coalition of political parties would guarantee outright victory in the presidential poll in 2019.
Opara told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the coalition, which he described as “loose alliance’’ would not necessarily be a merger of political parties, but platform for presidential victory at first ballot.
“When I looked at what is happening in Nigeria, I came to the realisation that no one political party can win the 2019 presidential election at first ballot.
“If any political party decides to do it alone in 2019, there will be a run-off; the election will be inconclusive because the ruling All Progressive Congress’s (APC) popularity is going down.
“The PDP that was supposed to be the major opposition party has refused to put its house in order, and the smaller political parties are neither here nor there.
“As the Secretary-General of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and Chief Administrative Officer of the Council, I have idea of what is happening in all the political parties.
“I felt that it is important for all political parties to come together to form a loose alliance, not necessarily a merger, but an alliance to form a government of national unity in 2019,’’ he said.
Opara, who has former President Olusegun Obasanjo as one of his mentors and heroes, said that he was happy when the former president brought the idea of a collation in the current political setting.
He said that the idea prompted him and some leaders of political parties to visit Obasanjo.
“Politically, we discussed on how to move forward. We agreed that we are going to have a collation not only on political parties, but also of civil society groups, faith-based organisations, religious groups and market women associations.
“We decided to carry everybody on board and move to 2019.
“I want to assure you that with what I have seen on ground and what we are doing, in 2019, Obasanjo will anoint the next president of Nigeria.’’
The chairman added that though the former president may not be interested in a specific candidate or party, he still remained political godfather and a catalyst for “coalition and good governance in Nigeria and Africa.
“Any man or woman that wants to be president in this country, not only in Nigeria but in Africa, must have a way to have a handshake with Obasanjo.
“It has happened severally in Liberia, South Africa and many places across the world,’’ he said. (NAN)
– Apr. 16, 2018 @ 16:45 GMT