…Tasks IGP on professionalism, neutrality
By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA – The national chairman of the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, Mr. Gershom Benson has called on leaders of opposition parties who a few months ago agreed to work together under the auspices of the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, to review their strategies to stand a realistic chance of ousting the All Progressives Congress, APC in 2019.
Benson who stated this in an exclusive chat with our correspondent Sunday lamented what he called the failure on the part of the opposition to realize the “enormous task” before it, stressing that thus far, “it appears we don’t know what we want and how to go about it.
Questioning the capacity of the coalition to deliver on its mission to get President Muhammadu Buhari out of office in 2019, the DPP chair said CUPP’s failure to forge a common front in the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states recently shows that something needs to be done “as soon as possible.”
He said: “After the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, there have been governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states and both were won by the APC. The right thing after that would have been for the parties under CUPP to meet and plan ahead. This did not happen.
“In the case of Osun in particular, it is a particular leader whose party is a member of the CUPP that allegedly sold out to the APC. In both elections, I believe that if we had work together, the results would have been different.”
When reminded that the Presidential election may turn out differently following the appointment of some CUPP bigwigs like Peter Ameh of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA as well as Buba Galadima and Kassim Afegbua, both of the Reformed All Progressives Congress, R-APC, into the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Presidential Campaign Council; the DPP boss while admitting that he had no grouse with the selection of the aforementioned, questioned the manner of their emergence.
He asked: “How did they pick them? Was there a meeting of all the parties from where they were selected?”
Benson further called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to demonstrate political neutrality before, during and after the polls, noting however that in most of the elections conducted since his appointment, “The Police has shown that it is an arm of the ruling APC.”
Opposition parties, he added, would meet with the Police boss before the elections, if only to extract a commitment from him that his men would exhibit political apathy and stay neutral throughout the electioneering process.
“The Police must show to the world that it does not have any party in mind. We have been saying this and we will continue to say it. The Police has a role to play in the 2019 elections but while I am not calling for his resignation as some have done, the Inspector General of Police must prove to us that he stands for all parties, big and small,” he stressed.
It would be recalled that in signing an MoU some weeks ago, CUPP, made of 39 registered political parties agreed to field a sole Presidential candidate to battle President Buhari in 2019.