22 August, 2023 | 04:02 AM
Obi’s camp denies planned merger with Atiku, Kwankwaso
The National Secretary of Labour Party, Umar Farouk, and Tai Obasi, media aide to LP flag bearer, Peter Obi have denied knowledge of an ongoing merger arrangement with the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar and his counterpart in the New Nigeria People’s Party, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso. The duo made the rebuttal in two separate interviews with The PUNCH . This was even as the ruling All Progressives Congress boasted that President Bola Tinubu will have no problem beating the trio again if the motive was to stop him from winning the 2027 presidential poll. The development is coming in the wake of media reports that the trio of Atiku, Kwankwaso and Obi has opened a preliminary discussion on a possible merger with the ultimate goal of setting up a formidable platform that can unseat the ruling party. Reacting, Farouk told our correspondent that there was no iota of truth in the report. The LP national secretary disclosed that much as the party respects the privacy of its presidential candidate to associate with anybody, he vowed that Labour Party will never merge with any other political platform. He, however, did rule out the possibility of an alliance. “That is not true. I think it is the imagination of the writer. It has not come to us as a party. Whatever is going on, if at all it is true, Peter Obi is probably doing that as a candidate, which he has a right to do and associate with whoever he wants to associate with. “But as a party, we are not thinking of a merger with any political party. And Labour Party will never merge with any party. “Whatever the issue may be, we cannot take any decision until after the judgment of our election petition at the tribunal. But as a I mentioned earlier, count LP out of any merger with political parties. Alliance may be possible though,” he stated. Related News Atiku extends battle against Tinubu presidency, hopes in US suit Don't form alliance against Tinubu, Ohanaeze advises Obi Obi, ex-NBA president attend LP rally in Edo His sentiment was also shared by the LP poster boy’s media aide when he was asked to authenticate the media report. While stating that Obi respects Atiku and Kwankwaso’s political ideologies, Obasi stressed that they prefer to await the final judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to retrieve their mandate. He said, “I don’t know of anything like that. Just like every other person, we are still waiting for the judgment of the tribunal. What’s the need for a merger without first getting the judgment? Are they merging as opposition teams or what? “I really don’t think so. I have also heard my principal mention anything like that. My principal is someone who is very open and can interact on issues. Of course, we have respect for Atiku and also have the same for Kwankwaso. “But those who are close to Obi know he has no enemy, except for those fighting him unnecessarily. He is a Nigerian who will always interact with any other Nigerian for the good of Nigeria. But with the level of margin, I can tell you that for now, there is nothing like the merger you talked about.” Efforts to get the reaction of the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, proved unsuccessful. The Director of Publicity for the ruling party, Bala Ibrahim, however, dismissed the perceived threat such a merger could pose to the president. “With my poor arithmetic, let me say if you can beat them individually, I don’t see any difficulty you will have beating them collectively. “Whether they (Atiku, Obi, Kwankwaso) merged or not, they will still remain below the ladder of the ruling party.” Bala boasted. As of the time of filing this report, the National Publicity Secretary of the NNPP, Major Agbo, could however not be reached for clarification.