CNM opens talks with LP

A source said at the weekend that a delegation of the coalition members had opened talks with the Labour Party (LP), with the intention of adopting the small opposition party as platform for next year’s election.

The source added: “We can say that preliminary talks have opened between the coalition movement and a section of the Labour Party (LP) leadership. The LP is being considered because it is popular and firmly established, and it is considered as a masses-oriented party, its meagre electoral successes notwithstanding. There will be more elaborate meetings in the weeks ahead.”

The source said the LP was being considered in view of the “urgency of the situation” and the need to prepare well for 2019 polls without necessarily going through the hurdles of party registration.

He added that while former President Ousegun Obasanjo is perceived as an asset to the movement, which he inspired in his statement to President Muhammadu Buhari, many Nigerians also perceive him as a liability to the movement because of his antecedents.

He added: “Therefore, if the coalition becomes a party, there are some people who will not join it because of Obasanjo, although they want change in 2019. This is because even within the movement, there is a suspicion that the former president has a hidden agenda.

“Besides, there are fears that the coalition as a party may not fly in 2019 because of lack of formidable structures across the states and geo-political zones. By 2019, there is no evidence to show that the coalition would have been able to mobilise enough governors and other elected representatives at state and federal levels to coordinate the battles against the ruling APC. The coalition has two foes now; the APC and the PDP. Therefore, it is better to launch the attack on the platform of an already existing party.”

The source however, said the talks with the Labour Party may split the polarised Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which seems to have divergent views on the 2019 agenda.

He added: “There is a section of the Labour Party that is very cautious. They see the moves by the coalition as an attempt to hijack the party from them. But, the contact continues.”