Obi emerged as the candidate of the Labour Party while Kwankwaso is the flagbearer of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
Contrary to the expectations of many, a chieftain of the Labour Party, Doyin Okupe, yesterday declared that there would be no alliance between the duo.
“That discussion, or those discussions about a merger, alliance and all that were led by me from our side; it is dead – dead and buried,” he said during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“It is not Mr Peter Obi; the Labour Party and its presidential candidate have long since withdrawn from that conversation and it was NNPP that continued to try to benefit from the traction of the popularity of Obi. Out of maturity, I decided that we will not take them on media-wise, so we kept quiet, but they kept going on.”
Both Obi and Kwankwaso are in the race to become the next president when President Muhammadu Buhari completes his second term in office in May 2023.
Amid concerns for a total shift of power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s grip, there have been calls for both men to form an alliance to boost their winning chances in the coming poll.
Although Kwankwaso had in a recent interview with Channels Television said an alliance was ‘highly likely’, he stated that he cannot be a running mate not just to Obi but any candidate of the south-east extraction.
According to him, an average northern voter will prefer to support a candidate from the region than cast his/her ballot for a south-eastern contender.
But it appears neither Obi nor Kwankwaso is willing to be a running mate to the other as Okupe insists talks about an alliance are long dead.
“The talk for an alliance had been dead for over four weeks,” he stressed. “I am the leader of the team that went to discuss with Kwankwaso’s team, and it was dead.
“The moment I asked them one single question: would they consider it appropriate and okay for a president of northern extraction and Muslim to finish eight years and another Muslim northerner from the next state to take over?
“And they said there is nothing wrong with that; as far as I’m concerned, the discussion was over and it has remained over since then.”
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