POLITICAL commentators have expressed doubts about the feasibility of the much-talked-about merger between the Labour Party and the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) saying it is unlikely to happen due to the tight election timetable.
In February next year, Nigeria goes to the polls to elect a new president, with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) selecting former Lagos State governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as its candidate and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) going for former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. However, the Labour Party and the NNPP are two smaller parties that have emerged as contenders over recent weeks.
Former Anambra and Kano state governors Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso both left the PDP after realising they could not clinch its presidential ticket. They have since been selected to be the presidential candidates of the Labour Party and NNPP but over the last week, there has been a lot of talk about them merging.
Governor Kwankwaso’s NNPP has a large following in the north, while Governor Obi has endeared himself to large sections of the youth in the south of the country. Governor Kwankwaso, has confirmed that his party is in talks with the Labour Party, however, a formal merger might by legally impossible in time for the election.
“We are in talks with Peter Obi and a committee is working to look into how to form a merger between us. The merger is important because as you can see both the ruling APC and the opposition PDP did not pick their running mates from the southeast,” Governor Kwankwaso added.
Political analyst Nicholas Ibekwe, said: “First, a new party via a merger cannot be formed in time for the election. Inec regulations prohibits the registration of a political party less than a year before an election but they can collapse their structure to support one another for specific positions eg, the presidency.”
Deji Adeyanju, a popular socio-political commentator based in Abuja, added: “The merger with the Labour Party and NNPP should have Obi as president and Kwankwaso as vice president. That’s the only thing that makes sense.”