ALLIES of former President Olusegun Obasanjo converged yesterday on the Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja for the launch a movement – the Coalition for Nigeria (CN).
Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo had in a special press statement, pushed for the formation of the movement as a ‘third force’ to complete the political space with the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The CN promoters spoke of plans to mobilise membership enrolment through online platforms.
Two former governors, Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun) and Donald Duke (Cross Rivers), who led the ‘like minds’ to unveil the CN addressed the audience.
They said the youths would drive the membership recruitment at all levels. They also confirmed Chief Obasanjo’s support for the coalition.
Besides the two former governors, other notable faces at the at the Yar’Adua Centre venue of the launch, include: former PDP national chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, former Buhari loyalist and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) chieftain, Buba Galadima, son of the late Prime Minister, Dr. Abdujalil Tafawa Balewa and Obasanjo’s associate, Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, who opted to sit in the audience.
During the question and answer session, a member of the audience asked why the coalition is not coming straight out as a political party.
Author and social media activist Gimba Kakanda Prince Oyinlola why the movement “is coming to legitimise the good and the bad in all a former president stands for”.
Gimba asked: “How can we move forward in fixing Nigeria if a body like this, as inspired by the military command of a politician, whom we blame for being part of the problem, appears to have been suggested by him as a way of legitimising his own political legacy and bad precedent that could be a moral burden on the conscience of Nigerians?”
Prince Oyinlola explained that the youths, who will lead the movement and determine their own leaders at various levels, would play a role in deciding whether the coalition transforms into a political party.
He said: “We are not a political party – at least for now but if and when, through the arrangements and decisions of the leaders that you are going to put in place, we come to the agreement that we metamorphose into a political party, it must be a collective decision.
“To say that we are legitimising the former president is a bit off the mark. There was an article in the New York Timessometimes ago which allude to the fact that we are somehow docile in this country; there is no one who can fault the contents and the issues raised in Obasanjo’s letter, forget the messenger, let’s discuss the message.
“If you are saying that we are just legitimising (Obasanjo), are we supposed to just sit there, folding our hands and watching?
“I think that what he (Obasanjo) has done is to rouse us from our slumber to the reality of what is happening to Nigerians and for us to take charge and take action; are there no other leaders looking on at things going wrong in this country?
“I think we should instead, give kudos to him (Obasanjo) for having the courage to be able to address Nigerians on issues that call for immediate action and attention.”
The masters of ceremony – Remi Damola, Omoruyi Edoghere and Genevieve Anthony –urged the youths to buy into the project by joining the coalition, register to vote and help take back rescue the country.
The former Osun governor asserted his preparedness to quit the ruling APC and relinquish his position as the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Board Chairman for the CN cause.
In his closing remarks, Duke stressed that the nation’s terrible condition must not be prolonged, adding that it is only when millions of Nigerians heed the clarion call and constitute themselves into a ‘critical mass’ that the CN can make strong impact.
Duke said: “This endeavor is timely because there were several movements in the offing and this coalition has to bring them all together if we want to make things work.
“More importantly, we have the dire consequences of now in our nation; where we are today, if you project another three to four years, the disaster would be worse, it is not going to get better. We must all come together to change the narrative.”