The Social Democratic Party and the presidential candidate of KOWA Party, Dr Adesina Fagbenro-Byron, have distanced themselves from the adoption of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as the Coalition of United Political Parties consensus candidate.
The CUPP, which is a coalition of at least 45 political parties, including the PDP, SDP and KOWA, was formed in July to present a consolidated opposition against President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress in 2019.
The convener of the coalition, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, during a world press conference in Abuja, on Wednesday, had announced the adoption of the former vice president, adding that he met the criteria for the choice of a presidential candidate for the coalition.
However, in separate interviews with our correspondent, the National Publicity Secretary of the Social Democratic Party, Alfa Mohammed, and the KOWA presidential candidate expressed disapproval of Atiku’s adoption.
Mohammed told our correspondent that the party was not involved in the final stage of the CUPP’s process of adopting a consensus candidate.
According to him, the standard-bearers of the SDP, whose presidential candidate is a former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, will continue campaigning until the party’s National Working Committee takes a decision next week.
[He said, “Though we are members of the CUPP, as of the time that last decision was taken, we were not in that meeting. Be that as it may, the National Working Committee of the party will meet next week and we are going to make the official position of our party on the subject known to the general public.
“We have enjoined all our candidates to continue with their campaigns and the final decision on that resolution will be discussed and taken at our NWC meeting next week.”
Similarly, Fagbenro-Byron distanced himself from the decision of the “PDP’s CUPP,” describing the process as faulty and dubiously executed.
The presidential candidate, via his Twitter account, @SFB2019, said, “KOWA Party stands for transparency and accountability and we consider the CUPP process largely flawed and quite dubiously executed. We had nothing to do with it and are not aware.
“PDP’s CUPP has finally run over. No matter the chances Nigerians give them, they will always fail us.
“Faulty for CUPP having adopted Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate for PDP as its consensus candidate without due process. Please, be assured that KOWA Party was not party to this final decision and we are in the race to win.”
However, the National Chairman of the African Democratic Congress, Chief Ralph Nwosu, in an interview with The PUNCH, emphasised the ADC’s commitment to the CUPP, adding that the party was one of character and integrity.
Nwosu said, “All persons running for any position in our party are very much aware of any alliances or understanding that we entered into before we joined the party and decided to contest.
“Therefore, the CUPP is a consolidated body of 45 political parties and, recently, 15 political parties are coming to join the CUPP, through the ADC. The moment the CUPP makes a decision on who is its candidate, the ADC is 100 per cent committed to that.”
According to him, the ADC, rather than contesting the CUPP arrangement made more than four months ago, is busy planning to win the elections that it can win.
“I want to believe that if any political party enters into a memorandum of understanding, its integrity (compels it) to keep to the tenets of the MoU.
“I am not aware of any parties that are opposing the adoption, but then all the parties were well aware of the conditions that would lead to whom to adopt,” he added.