Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that he has no favorite candidates for political offices in 2019.
Last week, Obasanjo launched the ‘Coalition for Nigeria Movement‘ (CNM) which he described in his explosive letter to President Muhammadu Buhari as an alternative to the ruling All Progressive Congress and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In the letter, he said President Buhari has failed to bring succour to Nigerians as promised before he was elected in 2015.
He also advised the President not to seek re-election in 2019, urging him to allow a younger Nigerian take over the affairs of the nation.
Speaking on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, while receiving a youth group from Delta State at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, he said the coalition will not present candidates in 2019.
He said the purpose of the movement is to galvanise Nigerians to appreciate their interests and power, noting that transitions that had taken place in the country since independence neglected the people at the grassroots.
The former president stressed that CNM will remain a socio-political movement, adding that he would back out of the coalition if it becomes partisan.
Obasanjo said, “In the year 2015, I said I would no longer participate in partisan politics. And I still stand by my decision. Everybody, irrespective of his or her political affiliation is free to come here for advice, I will gladly do that.
“I have no candidate, whatsoever, for any political office. I just believe that things must be done differently in Nigeria to get different result.
“If you study our transitions since the colonial era, they have all taken place without taking the people of the grassroots into consideration. So, CNM is about the people at the grassroots. It is a socio-economic movement where youth and women, especially, will be given opportunity to appreciate their interests and power. Unlike before, I believe we must put the horse before the cart.
“If the system and the platform sync, I believe Nigeria will get there. And like I said, the moment the coalition gets involved in candidate sponsoring or participates in partisan politics, I will opt out of it.”
The fear of Obasanjo’s “third force” has put politicians, especially members of the APC and PDP, who the former president believes should be voted out in 2019, on their toes.
On Tuesday, Buhari appointed a national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu to head a reconciliation team that would reunite aggrieved members of the party.
Some members of the ruling party are said to be planning to defect en masse due to the deepening internal crises in the party – a move which could pose a major threat to Buhari’s chance of a second term.