The late night meetings had been going on for a while. The memos, the strategy sessions, the back and forth, dinner dates, boat cruises, midnight phone calls, the entire works.
But it was not until Monday, July 9, 2018, that the rest of the nation was invited to witness the alliance between the PDP and 38 other political parties inside the Yar’adua center in Abuja.
“I share the sentiments of all and I believe that we are now one with this grand alliance. Our nation is on the move of recovery”, chanted PDP Chairman Uche Secondus, while spotting his trademark bowler hat. He was visibly pumped.
The alliance has been called CUPP, an acronym for Coalition of United Political Parties.
On Monday, over 30 political parties signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will serve as a working template; as CUPP prepares to wrest power from the APC.
The splinter APC group known as Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC) is also an active member of CUPP.
A former Buhari ally, Buba Galadima, led aggrieved APC members out of the governing party, with wrestling power from the main APC, now at the very top of their agenda.
“I assure you seated here that if we can get our acts together, work together, be open to each other, the sky is our limit and success is our own. It is not going to be a tea party”, Galadima said before a rowdy audience at the alliance event.
According to PDP chieftain Ben Obi, the alliance will “usher in a coalition that will form a government of national unity. We are here to rescue the nation from further decline and imminent collapse”.
Sources who spoke to Pulse on condition of anonymity have disclosed that the R-APC has concluded plans to announce the defection of three serving APC governors to the CUPP alliance.
APC currently has 24 State governors on its roster, with the PDP boasting 11 and APGA controlling one State.
TheCable reports that “as many as 30 senators and 70 members of the house of representatives” are expected to defect from the APC to the PDP/CUPP before the national assembly embarks on recess in a fortnight.
Joint presidential candidate
CUPP will present a single presidential candidate for the 2019 election.
“The parties agreed to ensure the emergence of a joint presidential candidate”, read PDP chieftain Tom Ikimi, from the signed memorandum.
“The leadership of the parties are hereby committed to work together in a coalition.”
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo who has spent the better part of a year ripping into Buhari, is also backing the CUPP coalition, has been told.
Pulse understands that the alliance will collapse into a merger, with the name CUPP registered just in time before the first vote is cast in anger in 2019.
Former Nigeria Vice President Atiku Abubakar who is favourite to emerge presidential candidate of the coalition said:"I wholeheartedly endorse this exercise and look forward to a spirit of collaboration amongst ourselves as we continue the campaign for the deliverance of Nigeria from the forces of retrogression, recession, division and blame games.
“It might be a cliché, but it still remains true that unity is strength and that only team work can make the dream work. I refer to the dream of our founding fathers for an indivisible united country that is progressive and founded on unity and faith”.
APC not losing sleep
APC Chairman Adams Oshiomhole had said his party isn’t losing sleep over the breakaway APC faction.
“There are a lot of idle people who don’t have any other thing to do and once they don’t have access to national honey pot, they begin to complain”, Oshiomhole said of splinter APC Chairman Galadima.
“For me, there is no cause for alarm, nobody should panic over one Buba Galadima, whose group, I believe cannot define us in the next election in 2019”.
In April, President Buhari declared he’ll be seeking a second term in office. The 75-year-old will certainly emerge APC presidential flagbearer before his party puts together modalities for a delegate convention.
The PDP was voted out of the center in 2015, after overseeing the nation's affairs for 16 unbroken years.