All seems set for the unveiling today of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CN).
Obasanjo broke the news of the coalition in a long “special statement” in which he lashed the President Muhammau Buhari administration, The Nation reports.
Today’s event may have ignited a new wave of support for President Buhari, with an army of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) endorsing him for the 2019 election.
The NGOs also vowed to start a nationwide rally in support of Buhari’s administration from February 6.
Of the 36 governors, 10 and some senators are said to have indicated interest in being part of the CN.
Seven governors are believed to be of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and three Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) members.
Others who are said to be part of the formation of CN are a former National Security Adviser, some ex-governors, such as Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former Cross River State Governor Donald Duke and former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido and retired Generals, among others.
The launch of CN Movement will hold this morning at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre.
Former Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola is said to be the coordinator.
Oyinlola’s Asokoro Quarters, Abuja home was a beehive of activities yesterday, with politicians flocking the place.
It was gathered that Oyinlola is set to resign his appointment as the chairman of the National Identity Management Commission(NIMC) to enable him take up the role of coordinating the coalition.
Although the programme for the launch was already in the public domain yesterday, the list of attendees was kept under wraps.
The programme, however, stated the mission of the CN as follows:
“The Coalition for Nigeria Movement is a movement that seeks to promote and ensure socio-economic development, improvement, growth, social justice, egalitarianism, cohesion, cooperation, equity, equality of opportunity, transparency, societal order, rule of law, human security and human rights leading to National Unity, good governance and general well-being and the welfare of all citizens and inhabitants of Nigeria.”
A source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “As you can see, we are set for the formal launch of the CN Movement on Wednesday in Abuja.
“Our membership is open to all Nigerian citizens of 18 years and above. It is a common platform to rescue this nation from its challenges.
“Shortly after the launch, we will have interim officers and we will immediately start meeting with people and groups of like minds nationwide on the way forward for this country. We will traverse the length and breadth of this country to ‘change the change’ at hand.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “So far, we have about 10 governors on our side, a former National Security Adviser, some ex-governors(military and civilian), retired Generals, ex-ministers, Senators, members of the House of Representatives, and some civil society organisations.
“Others already collaborating with the CN include a former National Security Adviser, some ex-governors like Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Donald Duke and Sule Lamido, a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana and other like minds. We will release the list in the fullness of time.”
Asked if Obasanjo will attend the ceremony, the source replied: “I cannot be categorical if ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo will attend the inauguration but we are hopeful that he might be able to finish his assignment at the AU Secretariat to join us.”
The source also said: “Ex-Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola will coordinate. All things being equal, he might resign his appointment as the chairman of NIMC on Wednesday to face the new task ahead.”
Elsewhere in Abuja yesterday, about 200 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are planning a nationwide rally for a second term in office for Buhari.
The group, under the aegis of the Forum of Non-Governmental Organisations in Nigeria (FONGON), believed that Obasanjo should be held responsible for half of Nigeria’s problems.
At a briefing yesterday in Abuja, the forum said the former President cannot impose his will on the people; he should allow the principle of democracy to reign in the 2019 poll.
The National Coordinator of the forum, Mr. Wole Badmus, said Buhari is not too old to lead the nation in 2019.
He said: “We are a coalition of 200 NGOs, with a total membership of 3 million, comprising students, women, artisans, youth groups etc. drawn from the nation’s six geopolitical zones. We are here today to announce that starting from next Tuesday, February 6th 2018, we will kick start a nationwide rally in support of the Buhari Administration.
“The rally will start here in the nation’s capital, Abuja, and then move to all the six geo-political zones. It will be a rally like no other. We, the concerned NGOs, have come together to rally support for President Muhammadu Buhari‘s Administration, because we believe strongly that it has, since assuming office on 29 May 2015, performed creditably in putting Nigeria on the path of growth and development.
“We have chosen to come out this time because there seems to be an orchestrated campaign going on across the country at the moment to demonise the Buhari Administration, in order to pave the way for the return of the same people who brought the country to where it was before President Buhari launched his rescue mission upon assuming office.
“We are concerned that unless an urgent action is taken, the voices of these people, whom we believe are being sponsored by looters and those who have been prevented from turning the nation’s treasury to their personal banks, may become the dominant voices.”
He said since Obasanjo subtly sought for third term in office, he “lacks moral credibility to discourage President Muhammadu Buhari from contesting.”
Badmus described Buhari as “strong, experienced and credible enough” to run in next year’s election, adding that Buhari “is not too old to contest re-election in the 2019 general election”.
Badmus, who acknowledged the age and authority of the former president, however, doubted if Obasanjo has good intention for the country.
He added: “With due respect, whether he has good intention for the country or not, we cannot really say but we know that if you want to identify the problems of Nigeria, without fear or favour, 50 per cent can be attributed to the individual called Olusegun Obasanjo.
He said Obasanjo had criticised all past leaders but he had always exonerated himself from blame.
“As for the letter (special statement), yes he raised some valid points which are not as a result of the ineptness of the present administration.
“Everybody knew that the country was at the brink of collapse as at May 2015. So you cannot put the entire blame on Buhari. In writing his latest letter, did he make a single attempt to see the President? No.
“Somebody just came up and he started telling Nigerians yearly that they must take his own dosage to our democratic ailment; it is never done. Democracy is a game of many, not a game of an individual.
“With due respect, former President Olusegun Obasanjo cannot be imposing his whims and caprices upon the nation all the time. We see his letter as distractive.
“The question needs to be asked, why is Obasanjo distracting Buhari when he has not declared in actual fact? Why are people telling Buhari not to contest when he has not declared that he is running? You are castigating somebody and arm-twisting him. You are saying he should not run because you don’t believe in him. But we believe in him, so we are saying he should run. The simple answer is to subject everything to democratic scrutiny.”
Badmus said Obasanjo could not limit the alternatives available to Nigerians to CN Movement.