By Udora Orizu
The National Spokesperson of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Ugochinyere has said that political parties that withdrew from the coalition after signing a MoU to back a consensus presidential candidate were driven by a wrong motive.
Addressing complaints by some members who reasoned that the coalition was formed to support the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on ARISE News, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, Ugochinyere said, “There was no agreement when we formed CUPP that the Vice President will come from another political party. Some leaders of the SDP nursed the ambition that its party would produce the Vice Presidential slot of the coalition. But if you go to the section 143 or thereabout, it says that the presidential candidate and the vice must belong to the same political party. The agreement was that among political parties, 45 at that moment, at the end of the day a presidential candidate from a particular party would be the consensus flag bearer. That was the agreement.”
Speaking further, he noted that the withdrawal of some parties would not diminish the status of the CUPP.
“When we went through that agreement, SDP was the secretary of selection committee, they were part of the process, they were one of those that drafted the criteria for which we nominated the consensus candidate and everybody participated and voted. You finished the process and a consensus candidate emerged, because you didn’t get what you were looking for, then you say that you are pulling out.”
“It’s not diminishing the status of the CUPP because the second largest partner of the coalition was the ADC. However, more are parties joining, bringing the coalition to over 50 political parties. The question you ask yourself is when you went into this coalition, what was your interest? To garner political office or to be part of the people that will rescue the country from the gradual drift in state of economy and political ethics? If your interest was national, then this will not be happening and the majority of the parties are driven by national interest.”
Reacting to claims by the Presidential Candidate of United Democratic Party (UDP), Ishola Balogun, that the CUPP has largely breached the agreement, he said, “First of all the UDP lead by Godson Okoye is still a staunch member of the coalition and was there at the recent signing of new political parties joining the coalition. What happened in the case of Ishola was that when the selection was done he didn’t even come among the top 40 not to talk of the top five.”
“You subjected to a process and you didn’t emerge. There was a criteria and everybody subjected themselves to the process. I’m not surprised, if by the end of the day in a coalition of over 50 political parties and about three or four of the presidential candidates don’t want to toe the line of the political party, I think it’s not bad. The majority of the members of the coalition are on board and the coalition is growing day-by-day.”