Less than 24 hours after Peter Obi, Labour Party presidential candidate denied having any Merger discussions with his counterpart in the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Abubakar Atiku, Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party has equally denied the claim.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Breakfast program, Sunrise on Thursday, Kwankwaso says NNPP is not planning a merger with any political party ahead of February’s presidential election.
Atiku was reported to have said he was in talks with Obi and the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso ahead of this month’s presidential election.
But Kwankwaso, on the program monitored by metrobusinessnews.com expressed surprise that people at that level should exhibit such that borders on integrity.
According to him, it is not true and that he is not talking to anybody between now and election.
“A party I rejected and left, talking to say what, could be strategy to weaken our base. Giving the circumstances I left the party and rejection of the Party, I don’t see myself going back to PDP. My advise is that there is need to tell the truth and implication to us is that these lies will anger our members and will be more committed to our party,” he said
Speaking further, the former kano state governor said:
“We are not going to go into discussion with anybody. From now till the 25th, no discussion with any party whatsoever,”
Kwankwaso, one of the frontrunners for the February poll, however, says a possible merger might happen if the election goes into a run-off.
“But after the first election, if need be, of course, we would discuss with people,” he added.
According to him, the NNPP is making inroads in major parts of the country which he believes is enough to give his party victory when Nigerians head to the ballot.
“My discussion now is with the voters. We have been going now from village to village,” the NNPP flagbearer maintained.
“People were receiving us in all the villages and towns across the country. We believe we are the people on the ground,” the former lawmaker said. “All these guys that are flying from one city to the other don’t even know what the problems that people are having in this country.”
He accused other contenders of not doing enough to woo voters across Nigeria, describing them as “weak and lazy politicians”.
“We are very happy and getting assurances by the day that they would go and vote for our party because we are the only people today with a national party that stands for change,” he said.
“We are the only party that has credible candidates. We are the only party that really believes in the suffering of the people.”
On Wednesday the Labour Party denied having any discussion with Obi, not to talk of stepping down for him, adding that unless it is the other way round.
Head of Media, Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Diran Onifade has said in
a statement on Wednesday in Abuja that the claims that Obi was in talks with Atiku with a view to stepping down for the PDP Presidential candidate was “totally false and baseless.”
The statement reads: “We have been inundated with enquiries about the claim of an ongoing discussion between our Presidential ticket and the camp of PDP’s Presidential Candidate,Atiku Abubakar.
“For emphasis, we wish to repeat, as we have said all day, that the claim is totally false and baseless. We are not in any talks with Atiku or anyone else with a view to stepping down from a race in which we are the frontrunner.
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“Peter Obi is in the contest to win in consonance with the aspiration of the majority of Nigerians who desire a New Nigeria devoid of lies, corruption and selfish scheming.”
Some analysts see the claims as part of despiration being exhibited by the PDP candidate, stressing of the need for all the candidates to exhibit utmost integrity, both in action and words.