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Tinubu, Ogbeh, Kaita, others meet over new party

Posted by Kayode Idowu and Musikilu Mojeed on 2005/11/09 | Views: 598 |

Tinubu, Ogbeh, Kaita, others meet over new party

The Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the immediate past Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Audu Ogbeh, were among notable political bigwigs that met in Lagos on Monday over a new party being planned by the Peoples Democratic Movement.

The Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the immediate past Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Audu Ogbeh, were among notable political bigwigs that met in Lagos on Monday over a new party being planned by the Peoples Democratic Movement.

The PDM is an aggrieved bloc within the ruling PDP loyal to Vice- President Atiku Abubakar.

Our correspondents gathered that an inter-party group, the Movement for the Defence of Democracy, was formed at the end of the meeting.

The former PDP presidential aspirant, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi; Senator Jim Nwobodo; the PDM Chairman, Alhaji, Lawal Kaita; Senator Olorunibe Mamora; Prof. Musa Yakubu; Senator Bode Olowoporoku; Alhaji Isa Yuguda; and Chief Iyiola Oladokun, also attended the meeting.

Other politicians at the meeting, which ended in the wee hours of Tuesday included the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Femi Pedro; the Alliance for Democracy chieftain, Alhaji Olatunji Hamzat; the former Minister of Power and Steel, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu; and the former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Chief Dubem Onyia.

Also said to be in attendance were the Lagos State delegate to the National Political Reform conference, Senator Sikiru Shitta-Bey; the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi; and the former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Alhaji Musa Gwadabe.

The leader of the Abia State delegation to the NPRC , Dr. Sam Eke; the former Minister of Information, Chief Dapo Sarumi; the Secretary to the Lagos State Government and all the former deputy governors of the six AD-controlled states between 1999 and 2003, were also at the meeting.

Though representation was said to have been pegged at six delegates per state, each of the six South-West states had as many as 30 delegates.

According to a source, the meeting, said to be at the instance of the PDM, reviewed the political situation in the country, especially the crises in the PDP, the AD ,the All Nigerian Peoples Party and the All Peoples Grand Alliance.

Speaker after speaker at the meeting chaired by Hamzat, criticised the PDP "for its undemocratic antics and its ploy to plunge the country into full dictatorship."

The party, our correspondents learnt, was particularly blamed for the crises in all the major opposition parties in the country.

Also x-rayed was the alleged third term bid of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

A source said, "Our conclusion is that the country is on the perilous road to a full blown dictatorship.

"We also felt that our country is gradually descending into a one-party state.

"Delegates also felt that it would be too early to safely say that Obasanjo does not desire a third term."

The group is said to have scheduled another meeting for an undisclosed location in the country in the weeks ahead.

A source said a committee was constituted to prepare a working paper for the group.

Onyia told our correspondents that the formation of the MDD was necessary to protect the nation's democracy, which he said was under threat.

A source close to Abubakar on Tuesday confirmed the meeting. But he said the objective was to form a broad-based coalition for the survival of democracy and preservation of the constitution.

Speaking on the phone from Abuja, the source said, “It is true. Experienced politicians have seen the need to come together across party lines to protect democracy. It is not necessarily a party thing. You can see that some people with presidential ambition in their individual rights were part of the meeting.

“They can no longer pretend to ignore the speculation about President Olusegun Obasanjo having a third term agenda. They know that it is only when democracy survives that they can pursue their own ambitions. That was what informed the meeting.”

The source also said the new coalition was different from the former Group of 34 which confronted the regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha.

“Its mode of operation will be a cross-breed between G-34 and NADECO (the defunct National Democratic Coalition),” he told our correspondents.

He said it was true that a segment of the Abubakar camp was pushing to ditch the PDP and form a new party.

But he said that there was another segment comprising more elderly politicians who feel that the vice-president would be better off remaining in the party and fighting from the within.

The PUNCH, Wednesday, November 09, 2005

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

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