Saturday, 18 May 2024 04:36

Supporting Peter Obi for president in 2027 is on the card of merger talks - Atiku

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Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar met with Peter Obi, thepresidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections in Abuja, earlier in the week.

The meeting sparked speculations about a merger of some opposition political parties ahead of the 2027 general elections.

In an interview with BBC Hausa Service monitored by FRED EZEH, Atiku Abubakar explained the reasons for the meeting.

You had a meeting with Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the last general elections. What was the reason for the meeting?

It’s just a normal friendly meeting that we often had, particularly we in the opposition parties. Such meetings are healthy for Nigeria’s democracy and for the country’s interest.

People are saying the meeting was to form a merger or alliance between your party, PDP, and Labour Party. Is that possible?

Yes, it’s very much possible. We can merge to achieve a common goal. So, it’s possible and nothing can stop it if we so wish to achieve that.

But the choice of presidential candidate might frustrate the effort?

That’s not true. That challenge will not arise. I can tell you that the choice of who will fly the flag of the party won’t arise.

Why do you think so?

I don’t think so, I know so. Believe me, the challenge will not arise. Or are you expecting it to arise? Just believe me that it won’t arise.

What if it’s required that both you and Peter Obi drop your ambition and support someone else? Will you and others support that?

I have said repeatedly and I even said it before the 2023 general elections that if PDP decides to zone the presidential ticket to the South or South-East specifically, I won’t contest it. As long as it’s the decision of the party, I will abide by it. But I contested the 2023 presidential ticket because it was thrown open to all members of the party.

So if Peter Obi, being from the South-East, is the choice, will you support him?

If the party decides that it’s the turn of the South-East and Peter Obi is chosen, I won’t hesitate to support him.

How is the merger talk going?

We are still discussing the issue, and in the right time we would make our position known.

When will you conclude the discussion?

I can’t disclose that for now because it’s not yet the right time to do that.

After the 2023 elections you were expected to be quiet and observe, but you are still playing the opposition?

Yes, we can’t keep quiet and watch things go wrong. People are suffering and we are committed to making Nigeria a better place.

It means you are not tired of politics of Nigeria?

Not at all. I am still in active politics in Nigeria, at least, as long as God permits.

People are expecting you to give space to younger ones considering your age.

My age doesn’t stop the young ones from testing their fate. Everybody, irrespective of age, is allowed to aspire to be anybody in the society, politically or otherwise.

So, there’s the possibility of you contesting 2027 elections?

But that would depend on the decision of my party. I can’t make any categorical statement on that. It’s the duty of the party to decide on the way to go in the next election.

But your interest is still there?

Until that time comes. Let’s just wait and see how it will turn out.

People are interpreting your recent meetings with various people as watering the ground for the next election.

It must not be interpreted like that. I must not be eyeing elections to have meetings with political friends and associates. Currently, we are practising democracy in this country which we fought for with our blood.

Many people lost their lives in the struggle. As a result, we would continue to ensure that democracy is strengthened in the country. We can’t watch from the sidelines as things are getting bad.

 

Sun

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