With barely two years to the 2019 general elections, a portent political force that plans to wrestle power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has emerged. Christened United Forum of Democrats (UFD), which is an amalgam of seven opposition political parties led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the forum proposed to act as an alternative political platform to the APC.
The parties, which met in Abuja on Wednesday, agreed to work together in all future elections to enthrone what they described as “genuine democracy, good governance, respect for the rule of law and put an end to the reign of civilian dictatorship.”
Other members of the forum are the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) led by former Kaduna State governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa; Social Democratic Party (SDP), led by former Finance Minister, Chief Olu Falae; the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and the Accord Party, among others.
It further agreed to be “committed going forward to work for the establishment at the centre and in as many states as possible people-oriented participatory governments that will entrench the values, ideals and cherished principles of the United Forum of Democrats.”
New Telegraph had, yesterday exclusively reported that the PDP, PRP, SDP, Labour Party (LP) and others are in merger talks ahead of 2019 general elections. In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the parties agreed to be “united and steadfastly work together in the interest of the vast majority of our people who are now suffering and traumatised by the visionless and dictatorial antics of the government of the day.”
The communiqué, which was signed by former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, noted that almost two years after the change in government at the centre, the “Change” promised to Nigerians by the APC government is a pipe dream “that unleashed a series of retrogressive actions that has put our country permanently on the reverse gear.”
“Since assuming office in 2015, the present government has reneged on its fancy electoral promises, totally messing up the economy and scared away foreign investors by its convoluted pronouncements.
“They are completely bereft of any ideas on how to resolve the galloping unemployment situation, but shamelessly plunging the nation into recession and unleashing hunger and hardship across the country.”
The communiqué decried the Federal Government’s alleged attack on the fundamental rights and civil liberties of private individuals, the media, the opposition and civil society organisations.
It further noted lack of free and fair elections in the country, the security challenges facing the country, as well as the assault on the judiciary and its leadership, adding that in “the prevailing circumstances, Nigerians, groaning under the yoke of economic hardship, hunger, unemployment, hazy and directionless leadership witnessing an unprecedented assault of the judiciary, are also fast losing the civil liberties and freedoms which they had enjoyed and all taken for granted.”
Thus, the UFD agreed to constitute an alternative reliable political option for Nigerians and ensure that electoral and security umpires act strictly within the dictates and ethics of their profession. The group further agreed to act as “an effective, responsible and fearless watchdog, and by mutual agreement broaden the base of the opposition” politics in the country.
The forum called for the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference and are resolved to work earnestly for its full implementation. Though it is not yet clear whether the forum will transform into a political party, PDP, which is a promoter of the forum, is working towards forming a formidable group against APC in 2019.
The formation of the forum is a result of reach out by the party’s Strategy Review and Inter-party Affairs committee, which submitted its report on Wednesday. Gana was chairman of the committee, and had led other committee members to a meeting with leaders of these parties.