…the constitutional hurdle’s connection

There are signs suggesting that Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi may be considering running for office in 2027, making it challenging for either of them to give up their ambitions.

The potential merging presidential candidates from different opposition parties have not managed to obtain full approval from their party bodies and key stakeholders regarding the integration of their party organizations. Additionally, they have not reached a consensus on the official title under which the new political entity will be registered.

In order for a merger to take place, all the parties involved are required to submit their registration certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who will then proceed to register the newly formed mega party.

As it currently stands, observers have indicated that the planned merger is expected to encounter obstacles due to the diverse interests of the parties involved.

An elder statesman, Chekwas Okorie, said, “the only merger that has ever worked in Nigeria is the merger that brought about the APC. In a merger situation, all the parties return their certificates of registration to INEC because they must give the commission a notice.

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“So, former presidential candidates who are championing the so-called merger, to what extent have they carried their parties along? This is because if their parties are not with them, the merger will fail.

“Individuals and their followers can only join one party, and you can’t call that merger. A merger has to involve the entire party leadership so that there won’t be a dissenting voice when you return the certificate of registration to INEC and assume a new name.

“However, there is plenty of time between now and the next elections for a merger to occur. But forming alliances after an election is a useless exercise. So, a merger is possible, but it must be between the parties involved, not the so-called leaders.

“The constitution is clear, the guideline is clear on the period within which you must notify INEC that you are going to merge, and you have a convention agreeing to merge. And INEC will monitor all these. When you merge, all the parties cease to exist.”

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Observers pointed out that another hindrance to the merger arrangement was the presence of internal conflicts and factions within the key opposition parties supporting the merger.

An important question frequently raised by Nigerians is whether the major opposition parties and their candidates who competed against Tinubu in the February 25, 2023 election will come together and nominate a single candidate to challenge the president in the upcoming election.

Some Nigerians express pessimism, pointing out the frequent clash of interests between major opposition parties and their leaders. Certain analysts argue that some opposition figures aim to emulate the APC’s strategies in order to assess their political prospects in 2027, as they perceive the 17 registered opposition parties to be fragmented by differing interests.

There is uncertainty surrounding the potential involvement of former Kano State governor Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso in any coalition opposing Tinubu in the upcoming 2027 election.