By Emmanuel Oloniruha
About a week after former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote a damning letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, his touted Coalition for Nigeria Movement has been launched in Abuja.
The movement was launched at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre.
The former president in a lengthy and critical public statement on Tuesday, January 23 suggested the formation of the movement and advised Buhari against seeking a second term in office.
Obasanjo was not present at the launch, but two former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Donald Duke, were in attendance.
The former President, had said in his public letter that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were incapable of repositioning Nigeria.
He said the political parties have lost the confidence of the electorate.
Oyinlola, who spoke at the launch said: “If and when we come to an agreement that we must metamorphose into a political party, then we will. We’re not a political party, at least, for now”.
He described the coalition as a movement to salvage Nigeria.
Oyinlola, a former governor of Osun State, said that CNM remains a movement and not a political party unless members agree to transform it into a party.
He said that the movement came into being in response to Obasanjo’s call for the emergence of a Coalition to help rescue the country from bad administration.
Oyinlola was also the former Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), before defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said that the movement would provide equal platform for all Nigerians, especially women and youths.
The former governor added that the movement would be led by the youth, while the elders would only play the role of a guide.
Oyinlola faulted the allegation that the movement was carrying out Obasanjo’s agenda to install a new leadership for the country.
“To say that we are legitimising Obasanjo’s legacies is a beat off the mark.
“There is no one who can fault the issues raised in Obasanjo’s letter. Forget the messenger, let’s discuss the message.
“What he has done is to stir us from our slumber to the reality of what is happening in Nigeria to take charge and take action.
“Are there no other leaders sitting around and watching how things are going?
“I think we should give some kudos to him for being able to address Nigerians on the ills of the society which requires attention.’’
When asked whether he had resigned his membership of the APC, Oyinlola said the issue did not arise since CNM was a movement and not yet a political party.
He, however, said that he was not tied down to any political party.
On whether the movement would be transmuted to a political party to contest the 2019 presidential election, Oyinlola said CNN remains apolitical.
“But if the movement says they want to transform to political party, that will be a collective decision, not mine.’’
Former governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke also spoke at the ceremony, and described the formation of the movement as timely.
Duke stressed the need for Nigerians to come together and chat the way forward for the country.
He said the country was not going to get better except Nigerians come together to change the narrative and the situation.
According to him, 39 years ago, Nigeria with a population of about 90 million budgeted 25 billion dollars, and now with more than 200 million people, her budget is only 23 billion dollars.
Buba Galadima, a member of APC, said that the movement was being formed to rescue the country from disintegration.
On the possibility that President Muhammadu Buhari may be seeking re-election, Galadima said Nigerians would only support his bid if there was concrete evidence that he had performed well.
“If the president wants to be re-elected and he can show us empirical evidence that he has performed in terms of infrastructure development in this country.
“Evidence that he has put food on the table and unify the people of this country, then so be it, we will be prepared to vote for him.
“But if those indices are not available, then he does not deserve a second term,’’ he said.