Nigerian Biggest Opposition Mobilizes for 2027 as Atiku and Obi Discuss Unified Front

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Nigerian political actors are ramping up their strategies for the 2027 presidential election, with the opposition aiming to challenge President Bola Tinubu’s hold on power, mirroring his 2015 triumph over the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a significant show of unity, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party’s 2023 presidential candidate, Peter Obi, publicly revealed their recent meeting. Despite public perception, Sunday Vanguard reports that this was not their first discussion post-2023 elections, as the two have met multiple times, including in Dubai, to forge a united front against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Atiku emphasized the collaborative nature of these meetings in an interview with BBC: “It’s just a normal friendly meeting that we often have, particularly we in the opposition parties. Such meetings are healthy for Nigeria’s democracy and for the country’s interest.”

He affirmed the possibility of a merger to challenge the APC: “Yes, it’s very much possible. We can merge to achieve a common goal. So, it’s possible and nothing can stop it if we so wish to achieve that.”

The potential formation of a mega party is reportedly in response to perceived attempts to destabilize the major opposition parties. A top PDP ally of Tinubu has been noted for undermining the opposition from within, further fueling the opposition’s merger talks.

The Labour Party has faced internal challenges, but opposition leaders, including Atiku and Obi, continue to strategize. Members of the National Assembly from both opposition and ruling parties, especially from the North, are keen on the merger to strengthen their chances in the next election.

A Northern opposition senator explained, “The only way some of my colleagues believe they can win is to go through a mega party. This is because they know that since the election is going to be on the same day with the presidential, they fear that the sentiments against APC in the North will work against them.”

The APC is not ignoring these moves, particularly in the North. There are speculations about leveraging Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) to gain northern support. This has led to internal dynamics, including the vulnerability of APC National Chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje.

A source within the opposition noted, “They may want to use Kwankwaso to reach out to the northern oligarchy.” However, the rivalry between Ganduje and Kwankwaso could complicate this strategy.

The 2023 presidential election was one of Nigeria’s fiercest contests, with Bola Tinubu of APC, Atiku Abubakar of PDP, and Peter Obi of LP as the main contenders. Despite a low voter turnout of 26.72%, Tinubu emerged victorious, sparking legal challenges from his opponents that ultimately upheld his win.

As 2027 approaches, the opposition’s efforts to form a united front signify a determined bid to replicate Tinubu’s 2015 success and potentially reshape Nigeria’s political landscape.

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