The vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Doyin Okupe, says his party and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) have agreed to form an alliance ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
In an interview with Vanguard, Okupe said both parties were still in talks ahead of the July 17 deadline by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the substitution of candidates.
He said they had yet to reach an agreement on which platform will produce the presidential candidate as both parties were ‘insisting on being the arrowhead of the union in terms of presidency’.
He said: “We have not foreclosed on anything. What has happened is that there have been a lot of informal discussions and interventions on the merger. There have been a lot of third-party interventions on this same issue.
“Officially, I have been involved in two meetings in two different locations where we discussed extensively. I can tell you authoritatively that I have spoken with Rabiu Kwankwaso on this matter.
“We have agreed to cooperate together as two different parties to enthrone a new political order in this country. We also agreed on working together politically and constituting a platform on which a national grand alliance can be built in pursuit of the same goal.
“We have not reached an agreement on the issue of whether the North will be the president or the South will be the president because both sides are insisting on being the arrowhead of the union in terms of presidency.
“This is where we have not really agreed. As of today, that is where we stand but there are a lot of goodwill ambassadors working behind the scene.
“The options are still open. We have up till July 17 or so to take a final decision but the options are still open. We have not foreclosed on anything.”
Reacting to claims that Kwankwaso has not agreed to be Obi’s running mate, he said: “I am surprised about that and I have tried to reach out. It is something that is a bit too early. We have direct access and we are talking officially and unofficially. I heard the information but I have not been able to confirm it.”
LAGOS HERALD, new York