Report of Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) holding merger talks with Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) is all hogwash put out by the opposition to dampen the enthusiasm of Obidients, the LP has fired back.
LP National Secretary Umar Farouk and Obi’s Media Aide Tai Obasi both denied knowledge of any merger discussion despite the All Progressives Congress (APC) already boasting Bola Tinubu will at the ballot box beat the trio itching to sack him from the presidency.
Other critics see the story as a propaganda planted by the APC to give Nigerians the impression that Atiku and Obi have given up on their petitions to get rid of Tinubu from the Villa on several legal grounds at the Presidential Election Petition Church (PEPC) which has reserved judgment that will be delivered any time from now.
Farouk insisted there is no truth in the report and vowed the LP will never merge with any other political party, even though there may be room for an alliance at strategic stages of the electoral process.
“That is not true. I think it is the imagination of the writer. It has not come to us as a party. Whatever is going on, if at all it is true, Peter Obi is probably doing that as a candidate, which he has a right to do and associate with whoever he wants to associate with,” Farouk explained to The PUNCH.
“But as a party, we are not thinking of a merger with any political party. And Labour Party will never merge with any party.
“Whatever the issue may be, we cannot take any decision until after the judgment of our election petition at the tribunal. But as a I mentioned earlier, count LP out of any merger with political parties. Alliance may be possible though.”
LP waiting for court judgment
In his own reaction Obasi said Obi respects the political ideologies of Atiku and Kwankwaso but he prefers to await the final judgment of the courts to retrieve his mandate.
“I don’t know of anything like that. Just like every other person, we are still waiting for the judgment of the tribunal. What’s the need for a merger without first getting the judgment? Are they merging as opposition teams or what?
“Those who are close to Obi know he has no enemy, except for those fighting him unnecessarily. He is a Nigerian who will always interact with any other Nigerian for the good of Nigeria.
“But with the level of margin, I can tell you that for now, there is nothing like the merger you talked about.”
APC Publicity Director Bala Ibrahim dismissed the perceived threat such a merger could pose to Tinubu.
“With my poor arithmetic, let me say if you can beat them individually, I don’t see any difficulty you will not beat them collectively,” Ibrahim said.
“Whether they (Atiku, Obi, Kwankwaso) merged or not, they will still remain below the ladder of the ruling party.”