2019: How Powerful Is Obasanjo’s Third Force?
For many who know former President Olusegun Obasanjo well, he has just capitalised on the swelling grumbles by Nigerians — over the suffocating economic environment, frightening security challenges and ethno-religious crises.
Baba Iyabo has set the polity ablaze.
His recent letter to the President asking him not to seek re-election in 2019 has thrown spanners into the wheels of the Buharists.
Obasanjo’s letter reminiscent of the one he wrote to former President Goodluck Jonathan on the heels of the last presidential election is already causing disquiet among political gladiators in the country.
Given that his letter to Jonathan contributed to the turn of events that truncated that regime, there is the feeling that some domino effect may follow his latest literary piece.
Buhari Is Not The Special One
Though the language of his latest letter was mild in comparison with the dangerous allegations peddled in the one to Jonathan, Obasanjo took time to adduce reasons why he thinks Buhari should quite the race.
But perhaps, the most engaging and potentially explosive contribution Obasanjo made in the letter is his assessment of the two political parties – All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their place in Nigeria’s political matrix.
He disagreed that the PDP has weaned itself of its sordid past to be the harbinger for political re-engineering even as his assessment of the current performance of the APC also dented its CHANGE matra.
For him, the country is in a serious mess requiring some radical action to steer the ship to safety.
Salvation At Last?
His solution to this systemic decay lies in the emergence of a body of new leadership, a’ third force’, that is not tainted and corrupted by old persuasions denoted by the two leading parties which in his view, have outlived their usefulness.
Obasanjo said the third force should be called the ‘Coalition for Nigeria’.
The former leader, who did not rule out the movement becoming a political party that may sponsor candidates for future elections, said he would quit once it takes a partisan form.
No sooner had Obasanjo spoken than his foot soldiers hit the road, designing cards for membership of the coalition.
The coalition said its membership is open to “all Nigerians of 18 years old and above.”
There are, however, diverse opinions on the workings of the movement and what it stands to achieve.
As a matter of fact, all the key figures of the movement once held political office in the country and are prodigal children of the PDP and APC.
Nigeria’s problems 18 years ago are still alive today.
If the sponsors of this group had possessed the midas touch to turn the country into a terrain of gold, citizens would not have been in a state of loss and confusion.
It is not clear yet how the Third Force will be able to actualise its agenda of birthing a New Nigeria without transforming into a typical political party.
Sufuyan Ojeifo, the Editor-in- Chief of Congresswatch is one of such Nigerians who shared in the confusion on the workability of the National Coalition.
He said he is at loss about the workability or modus operandi of Obasanjo’s proposal since he precluded its transformation into a political party.
“What type of experimentation is that and what result is it designed to produce in a democracy where political parties are the platforms that can sponsor and have traditionally sponsored candidates?
"Or is the Third Force going to direct its members, who have different political leanings, affiliations as well as sympathy and fidelity to vested interests with ambition to occupy public offices, to dump them and move into a party for the purpose of building and driving a nationwide consensus on the 2019 presidential power politics?"
A public affairs analyst, Jide Ojo told Bounce News that the CNM belongs in the category of pressure/interest groups like the Save Nigeria Group of Pastor Tunde Bakare, Enough is Enough Group and Our Mumu Don Do of Charley Boy, the National Intervention Movement (NIM) of Olisa Agbakoba and the Red Card Movement of Dr. Oby Ezekwesili.
According to him, organisations like the CNM are needed to put the Federal Government on its toes and ensure good governance.
He, however, warned that should the group metamorphose into a political party before the 2019 election, its chances of winning elections would be very slim.
From the foregoing, and with the stage gradually getting set for the 2019 electioneering, there is no doubt that both the APC, the PDP and groups like the CNM that want to shove them aside have an arduous task.
Nigerians will definitely ask questions when the time comes.
So, would it be a clash of ideas and principles or would it be the routine - man with the biggest Ghana-Must-Go leads the nation? You will decide.
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