By Hamza Idris (Abuja), Kehinde Akinyemi (Abeokuta) & Hameed Oyegbade (Osogbo)
Abuja, Abeokuta and Osogbo — The Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) formed by ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo early this year has collapsed into a relatively obscure political party, African Democratic Congress (ADC).
A co-convener of CNM, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, announced the collapse of the movement into ADC at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday.
He said with this development, CNM has ceased to exist.
Oyinlola said they moved into ADC in appreciation of the progressive essence of the party and its untainted existence in Nigeria’s political scene.
Obasanjo had in January rolled out CNM, saying he would cease to be a member if it changed its status of a pressure group to a political party.
He said his movement was meant to dismount both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) which has failed Nigeria in the last three years and the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which deviated from the vision of its founders.
Oyinlola quits APC, says party has failed
Prince Oyinlola, a former governor of Osun State, had on Wednesday dumped the APC when he presented his resignation letter to the chairman of APC in Ward 1, Okuku, Odo Otin Local Government Area of the state.
Oyinlola also resigned his position as chairman of the National Identity Management Commission.
At yesterday’s briefing where they joined the ADC, Oyinlola who was also a former military administrator of Lagos State, regretted the worsening state of things in the country.
Our correspondents report that curiously, the ADC itself had earlier this year joined 15 other political parties to form what they called Coalition for New Nigeria (CNN).
The other parties were Labour Party, National Action Council (NAC), Democratic People’s Congress (DPC), Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), People for Democratic Change and Democratic Alternative (PDCDA), Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP), Action Alliance (AA), United Democratic Party (UDP), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Young Democratic Party (YDP) and Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP).
What is not clear is whether all these political parties would cede their mandate to ADC to chart a common front ahead of 2019.
According to Oyinlola, “We have said it before and we are stating it here again that the current state of despair and despondency in our dear country is an ill wind.
“It is foreboding and can only lead to a conflagration. Between January when CNM was formed and now, can we say that the story of Nigeria has changed for the better? Have things not worsened at all levels?” he asked.
“While I on behalf of the leadership and the over three million members of the CNM congratulate ADC as the vehicle for national reinvention, I urge us to let us know that the task ahead is an arduous one that needs further strengthening of the forces of change. What I am saying is that we should be open to new engagements and alliances being forged and crystallizing across the country.
“We should remain committed to the use of the tools of democracy to recreate a Nigeria that will truly serve all, irrespective of religion, tribe or socio-economic status.
“ADC and other like-minded political parties should join other patriots in democratically building and enthroning a new set of youthful, knowledgeable and goal- oriented leadership for this country,” he said.
ADC chair: It is a new dawn for Nigeria
In his remarks, the founding national chairman of ADC, Chief Ralphs Nwosu, described the fusion as “the dawn of great Nigeria project leading with the right ethical compass.”
“Nation building could be a very daunting exercise. But with good and committed leaders, the journey could be much easier. I invite all Nigerians to have very deep reflection concerning our nation, Nigeria, and its 100 years of nationhood.
“Today our great country with 200 million population is in a dysfunctional state. Our biggest resources in human capacity and diversity seem to be weighing us down and tearing us apart.
“However, I do not want to dwell on our failings. I want to assure you all that we the African Democratic Congress, working with Coalition for Nigeria Movement CNM, and many strategic coalition partners, involving a rainbow coalition of political parties, civil societies, labour and trade unions, and well-meaning eminent Nigerians are determined to reframe the narratives about Nigeria,” he said.
All eyes on you, Obasanjo tells ADC
In his first official reaction to the collapse of his coalition into the ADC), Chief Obasanjo urged members to show people that they could make the desired change the nation and the world would be proud of.
Obasanjo who briefed newsmen at his Presidential Library on the development congratulated members of the coalition and all the political parties and civil society organisations that adopted ADC as a political party platform to move Nigeria forward.
“I wish them success for now and the future. The eyes of the nation and the world are on you to show that with people and organisations of like mind, a real difference is possible and you will make it. I wish you well.”
In the address titled: ‘My Treatise for Future of Democracy and Development in Nigeria,” Obasanjo admonished the ADC “to always remember that Nigeria belongs to you as it belongs to those in power. If you fail to use the potent weapon democracy offers you and that is your vote, then you have yourselves to blame.
“You can move on to the next stage in the democratic advance for change, unity, security, stability, good governance, prosperity and progress. So may it be for Nigeria.
The CNM Convener restated his stand in being in partisan politics, stressing that, “the position has not changed. I will continue to make myself available to any group or party to move the country forward.
“With the emergence of ADC as a political party for the movement and its associates and in line with my clear position which I have often repeated, the first phase of my job is done and I will not be a member of the party but as I have always done since I quit partisan politics in 2014, I will keep alive and active on Nigerian and African issues and interests and I will be open to offering advice to any individual or organisation for the unity, development and progress of Nigeria and indeed of Africa.
“From the beginning, CNM is not a political party but a popular grassroots movement to stimulate in the interest and participation of youth and women in particular in bringing about change in Democratic dispensation, governance and development in Nigeria,” he said.