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Any Need For Mega Party In Nigeria?

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Recently, a political party platform met under the aegis of National Political Summit Group (NPSG) with a common resolution to work towards the realisation of a mega party in Nigeria.
 The essence and objective of a mega party is to eliminate the current proliferation of political parties in Nigeria and possibly have two political party system.
 Presently, Nigeria has 55 registered political parties and about 25 of these political parties are jostling for a mega party.
 Proponents of the mega party argue that the move will provide good governance, economic prosperity and social justice to the downtrodden citizens of Nigeria. Proponents of a mega party in Nigeria include Chief Olu Falae, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Ayo Adebanyo, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Chief Fredrick Fasheun,  Chief Dapo Sarumi and Alhaji Balarabe Musa.
 Others are Dr. Usman Bugaje, national secretary of the Action Congress (AC), Mr. Sule Hammah representing the Buhari Organisation (TBO) and Mujahidine Asari Dokubo among others.
 However, Nigerians may be tempted to ask whether this group of prominent Nigerians have critically evaluated the problems of mega party and why the need to merge these political parties. Does the law regulating the registration of political parties in Nigeria through the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) permit such merger?
 The spokesperson of the National Political Summit Group and former Minister of Information, Chief Dapo Sarumi noted that the proposed political platform would not be merger of existing registered political parties, neither would it be an alliance of parties, but entirely a new political party bound with a common ideology of good governance and social justice. According to him, the planned mega party will comprise  leaders and political parties with progressive ideology, working towards a new Nigeria to reflect the wishes of the Nigerian people.
 Former Lagos State Governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande who is also the national chairman of one of the registered political parties, Action Party of Nigeria (APN), said the progressives were coming together to form the mega party in Nigeria to give the nation a clear-cut direction to good life and good governance.
 He explained that the mega party had become imperative because the ruling Peoples Democratic Party had allegedy failed to provide credible leadership to Nigerians, stressing that the nation needed a sense of direction to stop the attendant daily suffering of Nigerians.
 However, judging from historical perspectives, the history of mergers and alliances in Nigeria’s political development is always bright with prospects, but devoid of a common strategic objective to achieve the mega party dream.
 In the Second Republic, despite several moves among the then defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) and Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) to fuse together into a mega party with a common view to wresting political power from the then ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN), such move met a political end.
 Although the parties and their leaders succeeded in evolving a political platform, the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA),  the leaders of the two political parties, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo failed to agree and reach a compromise on who should step down for the other.
 In the end, the plan fell and all retreated to their respective political parties to contest the 1983 presidential elections. The irreconcilable differences  among the United Progressive Grand Alliance paved way for the then ruling NPN to be returned as the winner of the presidential elections.
 In the same vein, the fusion of the All Peoples Party (APP) and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) which succeeded in fielding Chief Olu Falae as the presidential flagbearer of the APP/AD accord did not achieve the target. The political marriage collapsed immediately after the 1999 presidential election in which Chief Olusegun Obasanjo of PDP won the election.
 Again, the alliance talks between the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Action Congress (AC) did not achieve meaningful result as the two presidential candidates, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) in the 2007 presidential elections did not agree to step down for each other, and the dream of the opposition parties to present one single candidate in the presidential election of 2007 suffered a setback.
 Against this background, Nigerians are doubtful if the proposed mega party will succeed considering the various political parties involved in the merger philosophy and inclinations.
 Unfortunately, some of the advocates of the mega party have pulled out before the fruition of the idea. A crack visibly noticeable within the proponents of the mega party was the declaration by the leadership of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) that it was not in the mega party. The PPA leadership said “the party is not for mega party, we are for electoral alliance”. The party further said “we are supporting any talk which can make the opposition cohesive and strong and not to lose our identity with the merger of political parties”.
 In the same vein, another political party, Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) also denied being a party to the mega party’s idea. The CDC’s national chairman, Madu Edozie clearly distanced his party from the formation of the mega party.  Even more is the fact that the Action Congress leadership is divided on the desirability of the mega party.
 There is indication that some strong forces in the camp of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar have refused to drop Action Congress for the mega party.
 But, according to an opposition Action Congress (AC) member in Rivers State, Hon. Shadrack Tetenmi-Lebari, the issue of mega party was the best move which would checkmate the excesses of the ruling party, wondering where the interest of the promoters of mega party actually lay.
 Mr Shadrack added that Nigerians were ready to contribute to the mega party formation on the condition that there was transparency on  the part of the mega party proponents.
 However, the mega party may face some hurdles  with the electoral body as the law regulating the registration of political parties does not permit the registration of a mega party. Registered political parties are allowed by law to maintain their individual identity for financial grant from the nation’s electoral body.
 Nigerians are eagerly waiting to see the future of the mega party formation.

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Obi: You Can’t Speak For Afenifere, Tinubu Campaign Slams Adebanjo

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The All Progressives Congress APC Presidential Campaign Council has slammed Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo for attempting to turn the pan-Yoruba sociocultural association into his personal estate and using same to canvass support for the Labour Party LP presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi.
Director, Media and Publicity of the council, Mr Bayo Onanuga in a statement on Saturday titled “Our Reaction to Baba Ayo Adebanjo and his new Ohanifere Venture”, said “Papa Adebanjo does not speak for Afenifere”.
According to the council, Pa Adebanjo is free as an individual to support anyone he likes, in furtherance of his democratic rights.
“We know for a fact that Baba has turned Afenifere into his personal estate as Acting Leader. We are also certain that there was nowhere Afenifere, as we know it, met and took a decision to adopt Mr. Peter Obi as a candidate for 2023 presidential election.
“We respect the age of Baba Adebanjo but he can not turn Afenifere into his personal franchise for any political alliance.
“We are very much aware that Baba Reuben Fasoranti, the real leader of Afenifere had stated clearly that Pa Adebanjo has always been speaking for himself on many national issues using the name of the group.
“It is our well considered position that Pa Adebanjo cannot appropriate Afenifere. Baba is just an individual who is free to support any politician of his choice. As an individual, he cannot equate himself with the socio-cultural and socio-political organisation”, the council stated.

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2023 Polls: IPC Begins Training Of Media Monitors

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The International Press Council (IPC), last Friday began the training of 12 Media monitors in Lagos to prepare them for the monitoring of the coverage and reportage of the electoral processes and the 2023 elections by the print and online media.
The essence of the 18-month monitoring that will commence on October 1, 2023, is to assess the level of compliance with professional and ethical standards by newspapers, including online ones, being selected for the exercise.
Among others, the monitoring will be done within the context of the expectation of the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage, which spells out the responsibilities expected of journalists and other media professionals at elections.
The Media Election Code was endorsed by umbrella media professional bodies and associations, and close to 300 individual media outlets in 2018.
It enumerates what journalists and media management should do to ensure social responsibility and integrity; equitable access for parties and candidates; media access for disadvantaged groups including women, persons with disability and youths; conflict sensitivity and the avoidance of hate speech.
The training of the monitors is one of the activities under component 4 (Support to media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria-Phase 2 (EUSDGN II) project, being implemented by IPC, along with its partner, the Institute for Media and Society.
The overall goal of the media component is to “Support the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria with the media (broadcast, print and online media) helping to facilitate the key ingredient of credible elections through engagement and professionalism in coverage and reportage of the electoral processes.”
The specific objective is to ensure that, “The Media, including New and Social Media, provides fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive coverage of the Electoral Process.”
The two-day training , the first day of which was facilitated by Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and Mr. Sanmi Falobi, Project Manager of IPC, aimed to build the skill of the monitors on the processes and methodologies of media monitoring.
“Against the background of the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation especially by political actors, all we are seeking to achieve is for the Nigerian media to contribute to the credibility of electoral information before, during and after the 2023 elections”, said the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade.

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2023: ‘Same-Faith Ticket, Blunder Laced With Hidden Agenda’

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The Christian Awareness Initiative of Nigeria, CAIN, last Saturday night, said no amount of blackmail would stop a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, and an erstwhile Secretary to Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, from publicly condemning the decision of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for fielding a same-faith presidential ticket.
The Spokesman of CAIN, Yusuf Kanhu, who said this in a statement he personally signed accused supporters of the APC of hiring mercenaries to tarnish the image of the duo.
Kanhu in the statement made available to journalists in Abuja described the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC as a “blunder”laced with “hidden agenda”
He explained: “The decision by Nigerian Christians through the umbrella Association to reject the same faith ticket was not against any particular party but advice to all political parties. Sadly the presidential candidate of APC ignored the advice and picked his vice from the same faith.
“The Christian Umbrella body came out in the first place to reject the idea and challenge Christians in APC to tell their party and Candidate to do what is right and good for the unity of the country.
“Hon Yakubu Dogara and Babachir Lawal respected the call of their leaders and proved that they are not going to betray the position of CAN just to satisfy their belle.
“Interestingly, the APC candidate and some of his supporters instead of making an honest effort to convince Christians and especially those Christians in their party about the reason for their action have chosen to recruit faceless people and are creating unknown groups with funny names to castigate the Christian body and the courageous Christians from their party that are telling them the danger and implication of their ill advised decision.
“We wish to inform the APC candidate that blackmail will not stop Dogara, Babachir, and others from telling them the truth.
“Nigerian Christians know the difference between fake Christian groups from genuine groups such as Northern Christians Youth Initiative with her faceless coordinator Hon. Mike Msuaan Msuaan.
“We can go on to name many hungry people who have not attended any church service in the last 10 years but are cashing on the desperation of the APC candidate to show that he has Christians’ support to start none existing Christian groups to enable them to get their share of the cake in circulation.
“The church in Nigeria and especially in the North knows the voices and names of their genuine leaders fighting for justice which is different from the newly born and newly introduced names that are only speaking to get money from their sponsors.
“Sponsoring fake people and groups to insult others will not correct your big blunder and will only make more Christians accept the fact that the decision has a hidden agenda.”

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