Victor Umeh, former national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), says the coalition talks between the Labour Party (LP) and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) ended on June 15.
Umeh, who is vying for a senatorial seat on the LP platform, said the talks “collapsed completely” because both parties could not agree on who will be the presidential candidate.
The former APGA national chairman said this on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Tuesday.
Umeh faulted Rabiu Kwankwaso, presidential candidate of the NNPP, for giving the impression that the talks between both parties are still in progress.
He said the Labour Party is no longer interested in “every other discussion” with the NNPP.
“We are surprised at the recent media blaze by the members of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) to continuously suggest that they were locked in a negotiation with the Labour Party to have a partnership or arrangement where the two parties will work together in 2023,” he said.
“We are surprised to continuously see this, we had this discussion precisely on the 15th of June, more than three weeks ago. What necessitated the meeting was that the NNPP and LP working together will give a better opportunity for the presidential election to be won. And the two parties set up two teams.
“Myself, Julius Aboreh, the Labour Party chairman who led our team; Doyin Okupe went to that discussion on behalf of the Labour Party; while the NNPP put forward Buba Galadima, Abdullahi Baffa, former executive secretary of TETFUND, and Ladipo Johnson.
“It was a three-man team; we met for long hours, adjourned and we came back. When it became obvious that it had become a dialogue between a deaf and dumb person we called off the negotiation.
“It was on the 15th of June that the whole talks collapsed completely. The Labour Party has averted its mind from every other discussion with the NNPP.
“But these fellows have continued to give the impression that they are still in talks with the Labour Party. We couldn’t agree on the knotty issue of who becomes the presidential candidate. Will it be Peter Obi of the LP or Rabiu Kwankwaso?
“What they are saying is not in tune with the reality of things. If Peter Obi, who is being sought after, stepped down to deputise Kwankwaso, it would have been injurious to his reputation.”
On July 3, Kwankwaso said his party was offering “a golden opportunity” to Obi to be his running mate. Shortly after, he said northerners would not vote for Obi if he is made the standard bearer of the merger of the two parties.