Independent Newspapers: There are strong indications that the newly inaugurated Coalition for a New Nigeria (CNN), an emerging group of 15 political parties, may be rooting for Chief Martin Onovo, the 2015 presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP), as its candidate for the 2019 election.
Sources close to the coalition told Independent that Onovo, a disciple of the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi and an oil technocrat, is already garnering support among the party leaders under the group, especially their national chairmen.
It was also gathered that Onovo and his backers had been working silently since the idea of the coalition was mooted, and had been reaching out to the CNN leaders, even before the recent inauguration, although the matter is yet to be tabled formally at the full house.
It would be recalled that leaders of 15 political parties last week Monday announced the formation of the CNN with the aim of snatching power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the former ruling party (PDP) in other to form a Government of National Unity (GNU) and Government of State Unity (GSU) in states come 2019 elections.
Although there are indications that more parties are likely to join the coalition, the group presently is made up of the Labour Party (LP), National Conscience Party (NCP), Democratic People’s Party (DCP), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and National Action Council (NAC). Others are Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Democratic Alternative (DA), Better Nigeria Peoples Party (BNPP), Action Alliance (AA), United Democratic Party (UDP), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Youth Democratic Party (YDP) and Mega Progressives Peoples Party (MPPP).
Already, the coalition has chosen Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, Rev. Olusegun Peters of DPC, the LP National Chairman, as its Treasurer, Kenneth Udeze, the national chairman of Action Alliance (AA) as its legal adviser, and Dr. Yunusa Tanko, the national chairman of NCP as its spokesperson, among others.
Independent gathered that the formation of the coalition was as a result of a move by Dr. Yunusa Tanko, NCP national chairman and former National Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), who reportedly used his wide connections to pull together the leaders of the 15 political parties in the coalition.
The group, it was learnt, did not want to be frustrated out of the Presidency by both the APC and PDP as was the case in the past, hence they plotted how to pull the carpet from the two major parties in 2019.
Independent also gathered that Chief Onovo is being considered due to his 2015 performance when he reportedly excelled during the presidential debate with former President Goodluck Jonathan, as well as his knowledge of the nation’s political dynamics and his readiness to work with like minds for the nation’s progress.
Those who are rooting for him also cite his youthfulness, patriotism, humility and integrity, as well as oratory prowess, with the belief that with such an untainted political activist on saddle as the nation’s president, there will be a positive turn-around in the affairs of the nation for the benefit of the masses.
When contacted, however, both the Dr. Tanko, the NCP National Chairman, and Udeze, his AA counterpart and legal adviser of the coalition feigned ignorance of the development, as they said that the issue of presidency was yet to be formally discussed.
Udeze specifically said: “There is nothing to comment on this my brother because we have not mentioned any name yet, talk-less of consideration. Maybe time will tell.”
He however agreed that having Onovo as the coalition’s presidential candidate “may not be a bad idea with high level discussion and understanding.”
On his part, Dr. Tanko said: “We are not at that point, we have others interests. It is just for all members to win something at the general elections. We are not working for anybody, but ourselves.”
When contacted, Onovo said he would be humbled if the coalition would settle for him as its presidential candidate, even as stated that “discussions had been going on across the country over 2019 presidency and related issues.” He however stated that he is ready to serve the nation, as “both the PDP and APC had rendered the nation prostrate with their mis-governance and the looting of the people’s commonwealth, thereby leading the masses to the highest level of poverty and penury.”
In another interaction with Independent, Udeze stated: “The coalition is very solid and ready to take over power come 2019 as many stakeholders are seriously reaching out to us for electoral alliance.
“We are ready to provide a joint presidential ticket to a candidate with positive track records and integrity and ready to duplicate same across the states. The choice of leadership and candidates cannot pose any problem to the coalition because that has been handled over months of constructive discussions among the parties in the coalition.
“Ours is to form Government of National Unity (GNU) at the centre and Government of State Unity (GSU) at the state or regional level.”