By Ikenna Omeje (Politics Reporter), Abuja
Baring any last minute change in plans, the United Progressive Party (UPP) founded by Nigeria's frontline politician, Chief Chekwas Okorie, has already concluded plans to fuse into the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC).This is authoritative.
The UPP, one of the leading progressive political parties in Nigeria that has impacted positively on the nation's democratic space, was among the 74 political parties that were recently de-registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
NIGERIAN NEWSLEADER reliably gathered on Monday (February 17, 2020) from inside sources within the party, that "any moment from now, the UPP will publicly declare its intention to merge with the ruling APC". The source also revealed that rather than join the other aggrieved political parties that were equally annulled with the UPP in challenging their proscription in court at the Federal High Court Abuja, the Executive leadership of the UPP "wisely chose to fuse with the ruling APC", the source hinted.
NEWSLEADER was also informed that the decision to go into a merger with the APC by the UPP was purely ideological. Said the source: "as you already know, both UPP and the APC are ideological soul mates. They were both founded on the basis of true Progressivism. This partnership is already a done deal! Both the APC and the UPP have been into this kind of political understanding which somewhat became public during the last 2019 general election.
"UPP worked with the APC then particularly in ensuring the ultimate victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in that election. Our national chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie, for instance, was in the forefront of the re-election project of Muhammadu Buhari as president. So in the areas of political strategy and vote mobilization for the APC across the country especially in the South East zone, UPP and its leadership were on ground to deliver.
"Therefore, it is natural that rather than flog a dead horse by joining in the court litigation against INEC, the UPP wisely decided to form a permanent partnership with its big brother in the progressive movement (APC) in the interest of the nation's democracy", the source explained.
NEWSLEADER ONLINE however gathered from dependable party source on Monday, that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the UPP will hold a major conclave on Thursday February 20, 2020, at its ornate party headquarters located in Wuye District Abuja, ostensibly to deliberate exhaustibly on the modalities for the proposed fusion with the APC. A number of measures and conclusions, NEWSLEADER was told, would likely be reached for implementation by the party's National Working Committee (NWC).
The meeting, the source said, will be chaired by the UPP's founder and national chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie, popularly known as Ojeozi Ndigbo (Messenger of the Igbo people). Other prominent leaders of the party are equally expected to be in attendance.
NEWSLEADER was informed that a great majority of the party's stalwarts are in unanimous support of the proposed collapse of structures into the ruling APC. Many of them were said to have hailed this initiative by the Chekwas Okorie-led NEC of the party.
It was however not clear from the APC side how the merger was being received, whether it was a joint decision of the leadership of both prominent political parties or just that of the UPP. At the national secretariat of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Wuse 2, Abuja on Monday afternoon, no member of the party's national Exco was willing to speak to NEWSLEADER on record about the APC-UPP alleged deal. But an NWC member of the APC who does not want to be mentioned for obvious reasons, confirmed the inter-party arrangement.
He told NEWSLEADER that: "Unofficially, we in the APC have been told, but these things are things you consummate properly. When the time comes, the APC will welcome any political party that shares in the vision and ideology of our party. We will definitely work with any progressive party that has the same ideological perspective with the APC. Even the Bible has said that two or more can work together if only they agree! Therefore, APC's doors are open to any political group or individual that chose to drive this country to progress with us.