Monday, 17 September 2012
Nigeria: Babangida and Obasanjo may establish new party
A political group which is crystallising around two former presidents - Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) (1985-1993) and Olusegun Obasanjo (1976-1979 &1999-2007) - is beginning to make efforts to establish a new political party in order to take on the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) to which both men still belong. The first indication that the two are working together was the joint press statement they issued a few weeks ago on the state of the nation and the security challenges facing Nigeria. Sources say that Obasanjo and Babangida resolved that they could not work with either another former military Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari (1983-1985) of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), or the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Tinubu and Buhari's opposition parties are currently in talks for a possible merger ahead of the 2015 general elections and this group is also said to be working with some of the Northern Governors. Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, is meanwhile said to be involved with the People's Democratic Movement (PDM) and the plans to revive the movement. The PDM was a socio-political group that was formed by the late Major-Gen. Shehu Musa Yar'Adua – the older brother of late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua – who was vice president in Obasanjo's first term but was imprisoned by Sani Abacha' s military regime in 1995 and died in captivity in 1997.
The PDM was one of the socio-political groups that formed the basis for the PDP's establishment in 1998. Some politicians recently held a meeting in Abuja to kick off plans to revive the PDM. In attendance were PDP chieftains Tony Anenih; Titi Ajanaku; Ambassador Yahaya Kwande; Dubem Onyia and Lawal Kaita.
The latter is said to have been representing Atiku Abubakar at the PDM meetings. It has been said that Atiku has been reluctant to personally attend the PDM meetings in case he is seen as actively working against a party whose government he has benefited from
through the award of lucrative contracts. Atiku's company - Intels Logistics and Services Company - operates the concession for the Onne Port. It is in partnership with Orleans Invest in which his longstanding close business associate, Gabriele Volpi, is part-owner.
For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.