By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The Labour Party (LP) has denied media reports that there is an ongoing merger arrangement with the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and his counterpart in the New Nigeria People’s Party(NNPP), Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.The National Secretary of LP, Umar Farouk, and Tai Obasi, media aide to LPstandard bearer, Peter Obi denied the report during a separate interviews with The Punch.The development is coming in the wake of media reports claiming that the trio of Atiku, Kwankwaso and Obi has opened a preliminary discussions on a possible merger with the aim raising a formidable team that can unseat the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu comes 2027.
Reacting, Farouk said that there was no iota of truth in the report, adding that much as the party respects the privacy of its presidential candidate to associate with anybody, he vowed that LP will never merge with any other political platform.
He, however, did rule out the possibility of an alliance.
“That is not true. I think it is the imagination of the writer. It has not come to us as a party. Whatever is going on, if at all it is true, Peter Obi is probably doing that as a candidate, which he has a right to do and associate with whoever he wants to associate with.
“But as a party, we are not thinking of a merger with any political party. And Labour Party will never merge with any party.
“Whatever the issue may be, we cannot take any decision until after the judgment of our election petition at the tribunal. But as a I mentioned earlier, count LP out of any merger with political parties. Alliance may be possible though,” he stated.
His sentiment was also shared by the LP poster boy’s media aide when he was asked to authenticate the media report.
While stating that Obi respects Atiku and Kwankwaso’s political ideologies, Obasi explained that that they prefer to await the final judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to retrieve their mandate.
“I don’t know of anything like that. Just like every other person, we are still waiting for the judgment of the tribunal. What’s the need for a merger without first getting the judgment? Are they merging as opposition teams or what?
“I really don’t think so. I have also heard my principal mention anything like that. My principal is someone who is very open and can interact on issues. Of course, we have respect for Atiku and also have the same for Kwankwaso.
“But those who are close to Obi know he has no enemy, except for those fighting him unnecessarily. He is a Nigerian who will always interact with any other Nigerian for the good of Nigeria. But with the level of margin, I can tell you that for now, there is nothing like the merger you talked about,” Obasi said.