The Coalition of Progressive Political Parties (COP3) has challenged the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, to name the political parties that demanded money to endorse President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2019 presidential election.
COP3 in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday and signed by its Chairman, Mallam Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim, described Oshiomhole’s allegations as “too general and grossly unfair to the parties that have continued to support the President out of sheer patriotism against all odds and in spite of all the challenges and difficulties, without any financial reward or incentive.”
The Coalition’s challenge came following allegations by the APC National Chairman that smaller political parties were demanding money to endorse President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid.
Oshiomhole who was speaking in Abuja on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the National Working Committee of the APC by the International Republican Institute (IRI), referred to the ‘smaller’ political parties as ‘democratic merchants’.
The statement from COP3 said that by his failure to mention names, the APC National Chairman’s allegations create the impression that those parties that support President Muhammadu Buhari are paid for their support and are only in it for selfish and pecuniary reasons. “This cannot be further from the truth,” the statement said.
“While we respect and do not wish to join issues with the APC National Chairman on this matter, we are constrained to make it clear that political parties in the Coalition of Progressive Political Parties are not in the category of parties described in his allegation. His generalized allegation and his failure to name names in such a very grave and potentially criminal matter, has created a huge reputational risk for parties in the Coalition and their leaders.
“We owe it a duty to ourselves to challenge Mr. Oshiomhole to name the specific parties that demanded money to support the President so that we are not lumped, in the eyes of the public in the category of those parties. We deserve to know if any of our members had demanded money from anybody so we can take appropriate action against such member or members.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Coalition of Progressive Political Parties supported Muhammadu Buhari as the candidate of All Progressives Congress in the 2015 presidential election, before he became President. Even as sitting President, President Muhammadu Buhari had publicly made it clear, he and his government do not have money to give anybody in exchange for support.
“Our Coalition supported and continue to support the President pro bono, without any financial incentive or reward of any kind from any quarters. We support him purely because we believe in his vision for Nigeria and we are glad he had acknowledged our selfless support and service on several occasions.
The statement reads: “We campaigned as hard as anybody to enable the President win the election, our members granted press conferences, took newspaper advertorials, travelled the length and breadth of Nigeria at their own expense and where needed, provided his campaign with polling agents.
“We protected his mandate at the polling units and when his detractors wanted to stop Independent National Electoral Commission from declaring him as winner of the election. We do not belong in the category of, nor deserve to be described as ‘democratic merchants’. We know where to go if we were looking money.
“The Coalition of Progressive Political Parties is the only group of political parties that support President Muhammadu Buhari in the forthcoming election. Majority of Nigeria’s political parties are in another coalition.
“Mr. Oshiomhole should be careful not to alienate genuine supporters of the President through false and unfounded allegations. He should keep union-style agitation away from partisan politics and begin to learn the art of consensus-building.
“We insist that Mr. Oshiomhole names the Political Parties that demanded money to endorse President Muhammadu Buhari for his reelection or toe the path of honour by tendering unreserved public apology to the selfless Political Parties that have supported President Buhari since 2015 unconditionally.”