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HOW FAR CAN THE MEGA PARTY GO?

By NBF News

At the beginning, it started as Mega Summit Movement (MSM). It was a coalition of several political parties that aspired to form a Mega Party that will send the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), packing by 2011. And the coalition was peopled by politicians, who told whoever cared to listen, that they were progressives.

Notable among the parties that constituted the MSM were the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), National Conscience Party (NCP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Progressive Action Congress (PAC), Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA), Action Alliance (AA), Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) and Action Party of Nigeria (APN) among others.

And notable personalities, who patronised the Summit with a view to identifying with the proposed Mega Party were the former Head of State, Maj. General Muhammadu Buhari(rtd), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former governors of the old Kaduna and Lagos states, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande respectively.

Others included Prof. Pat Utomi, Senator Babatunde Salawu, Chiefs Olu Falae and Supo Shonibare, Mr. Femi Falana, Afolabi Gbajumo, Dr. Segun Mayegun and Mr. Wale Okuniyi as well as the former Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa.

The leadership of the summit has said that its is to wrestle power from the PDP at all levels of government with a view to providing a political space that would guarantee dividends of democracy to the larger percentage of the people.

At a forum in Lagos late last year, the leader of the summit, Chief Falae did not mince words in condemning the 10-year rule of the PDP, describing it as a monumental failure.

It was against this backdrop Falae explained that, 'some well- meaning Nigerians decided to come together on the platform of the MSM to rescue the people from the jaws of the PDP.

While urging all Nigerians to team up with the summit to form an all embracing platform that could make the aspirations of the masses realisable, Falae insisted that only a formidable platform like a mega party could rescue the nation from the woods it unfortunately finds itself.

Also, Alhaji Jakande could not agree less that, the platform is for a rescue mission.

Delivering a keynote address at the South-West caucus end of the year parley last December, Jakande said that in 2011, Mega Party will be Nigerians' only hope.

According to him, Nigerians have been assured of better future through the proposed Mega Party to be launched early 2010.

Jakande further assured that the proposed Mega Party would bring back the lost glory of the country, asserting that, 'Nigeria has no business with poverty, disease, ignorance and hardship.'

According to him, the party would throw up credible leaders that would utilise the human and natural resources of the country for the benefit of the masses, just as he urged the people to embrace the movement for the glory of Nigeria.

Speaking in the same vein, the MSM South-West leader and the convener of the parley, Hon. Rasheed Shitta-Bey, in his welcome address, informed that, the gathering was to mobilise for the proposed Mega Party, which he described as the last hope of the common man.

According to him, the success of the MSM largely would depend on positive inclinations and workable strategies driven by noble people with progressive ideals.

He expressed delight that, 'we in the South-West have agreed to form a broad-based progressive political party for the realization of the hopes and aspirations of our people in bequeathing social justice and equity for the present and future generations.'

And to mobilise effectively for the party, Shitta-Bey announced the formation of three committees namely, Contact and Mobilization, Visitation and Special Committee to brainstorm and strategise for the launch of the party this year.

If the summit's plans had worked out well, the naming of the much-awaited Mega Party an application to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would have come up in the first quarter of this year.

Shitta-Bey, told Daily Sun that 'the launch of the Mega Party would come up in the early quarter of 2010 in Abuja.'

But the planned early launch suffered several posponements in the past which made political observers expressed apprehension about the seriousness of the coalition.

Eventually, however, the efforts of the protagonists of the Mega arrangement paid off as the INEC registered the movement to become a political party. The new baby was christened Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP) which can simply be called Mega Party for the sake of convenience.

The irony of it all, however, is that at the world press conference addressed by the National Leader of the party, Hon. Shitta-Bey, all the early members mentioned earlier in this report were absent.

The conference that took place at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja was aimed at making public presentation of the party. But the expected bigwigs that could have made the party appear truly mega were not there.

Atiku has returned to PDP, Gen. Buhari has floated an independent party-Conference for Progressive Change (CPC), Bafarawa and his DPP are already talking with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) with a view to merge for 2011 elections, Alhaji Lateef Jakande and his APN stayed away.

Also, Prof. Utomi and his ADC were absent while Chief Falae and his DPA were nowhere to be found around the venue. Both factional leaders of the AD, Mike Koleosho and Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa were absent, Olusegun Mayegun and Wale Okuniyi were also not there. Afolabi Gbajumo, who was around, did not come as the Lagos Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP) as he had dumped the party sometimes ago while the leader of the Talakawas, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, and his PRP, did not put up appearance at all.

Speaking during the media parley, Shitta-Bey said: 'We have had so many false starts with questionable characters and dashed hopes in the past,' asserting however that 'yet we must never fear to start again.

'Our thinking originally was to develop Nigeria Party that would be ready for a long drawn battle for change and value re-orientation that would liberate our Nigeria from weakness to wealth in abundance.'

The near unimpressive first outing notwithstanding, Shitta-Bey was full of confidence that he described the newly registered Mega Progressive People's Party (MPPP), as 'the credible alternative political party Nigerians have been waiting for.'

While thanking Nigerians, who he said contributed to the birth of 'a people-oriented party,' the elated party leader asserted that 'the party is for actualisation of politics of new understanding that will serve the needs and wishes of our people by replacing the bad governance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with good governance.'

He noted that 'the MPPP will put in place appropriate democratic leadership through the people's resolve to change the course of our nation for good without making ill-gotten money or self aggrandisement a condition.'

He assured that 'the MPPP is committed to upholding legitimate tenets of good governance and shall also pursue several people centred programmes for the good of all Nigerians.'

The MPPP leader also informed that the party would re-arrange the vital structures in the federal system of government to ensure rapid growth and developments of Nigeria, adding that systems like quota system would be jettisoned for sincerity, merit and hard work.

Shitta-Bey tasked Nigerians to join the party to contribute to the realization of the much needed change, asserting 'we must distinguish ourselves first, not only as moral leaders, but leaders with positive focus to permanently develop our only country for the benefit of all and to the glory of God.'

And now that the much-touted Mega Party has been formed, registered and presented to the public, the question that comes to the minds of keen observers at the public presentation was, how far can this Mega Party go in its initial plan to liberate Nigerians in 2011?