By Dayo Benson, Political Editor
Amid speculations of a rift between Mega Summit Movement (MSM) and Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform (CODER), the former has refuted the insinuations, describing it as handiwork of mischief- makers.
MSM said this in a statement released yesterday by its Director, Media & Publicity, Alhaji Hamisu San Turaki, saying the two groups were working together with former Vice- President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, involved.
Part of the statement reads: â€œThe leadership of the Mega Summit Movement, MSM, has strongly decried the calculated attempts by fifth columnists and agent provocateurs to undermine the growing political cohesion to establish a formidable mass movement for political reform and system change in the country.â€
The group said it is â€œshocked by a divisive newspaper story published on Tuesday to create false impression that all is not well within the Nigeriaâ€™s political reform movement especially as it relates to synergy between Mega Summit Movement, MSM and Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform, CODER, platforms working towards the reform of Nigeriaâ€™s electoral system.
According to the statement, â€œMSM and CODER during the Public Hearing on Constitution review organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja two weeks ago, reached an understanding to facilitate harmony and common ground in their working modalities and private membersâ€™ bill.
”In that regard, a follow up consultation, which held in Lagos last week identified grey areas and decided to harmonise them as they are minor issues based on communications gap.â€
It added that â€œ the harmonization meeting attended by representatives of the two groups did not draft any communiquÃ©; since the meeting was largely informal and there are actually no major differences in the positions of the two groups outside the need for organizational synergy and streamlining of modalities to effectively checkmate the unpopular electoral reform bills of government.
â€œThe two groups at the meeting therefore informally decided to harmonize their advocacy modalities and presentations and later work out the practical details of how to ensure that all other stakeholders, who belief in the key pillars of the recommendations of the Justice Uwais present a single private members bill to the National Assembly,â€ it said
The group however stated that â€œ the meeting did not at any point discuss the ongoing mega party initiative as painted in the newspaper report;(not Vanguard) as that was not part of the agenda of the meeting. It is therefore instructive for the MSM to clearly describe as false the claim by the said report that some individuals or groups are demanding the exclusion of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar from the mega party initiative.â€
The statement concluded that â€œAlhaji Atiku Abubarkar, a major change champion and one of the sponsors of the ongoing process of mega party initiative, is a trusted and reliable leader in the MSM, who cannot be excluded from the process as may be wished by the ruling clique in Nigeria.
Atiku is also strongly perceived as the rallying point for both MSM and CODER in the march towards unlimited political reform in Nigeria. He is no doubt still being celebrated as a major pillar of democracy in the country, especially going by his heroic principled and dogged fight against the anti peoplesâ€™ third term agenda of the Obasanjo regimeâ€.