This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news.
On Thursday, 10th May 2018, former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo announced his pressure group’s decision to collapse the Coalition for Nigeria’s movement (CNM) into an existing political party.
In a bid to reshape the electoral map of the country ahead of 2019, Obasanjo announced the integration of CNM into the African Democratic Congress (ADC), one of Nigeria’s 67 political parties.
What is the CNM?
The CNM emerged as a movement in Nigeria shortly after Olusegun Obasanjo, in January 2018 wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, deeming the President unfit to run for a second term in office.
The CNM, whose members include business professionals, politicians and academics, presents itself as a third force against the two largest political parties in the country - APC and PDP.
The movement, which now has 3 million members, aims to increase political participation and make stakeholders in governance accountable to the electorate.
Why are Nigerians confused about the move?
When ex President, Olusegun Obasanjo registered officially as a member of the coalition earlier this year, he made it clear that it was to promote good governance and had no political affiliation.
“I am happy to be a member of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement which is a movement for good governance. This is the commencement of our popular and grassroots association. The membership will be free to collectively decide on whether it will become a political party and if it decides to transform itself and go into partisan politics, I will cease to be a member.” - Olusegun Obasanjo
Obasanjo’s dramatic change to merging the group with a political party after promising not to do so is a puzzling move.
What do we know about the ADC?
The African Democratic Party is a registered Nigerian party with headquarters in Nyanya, Abuja. The party was registered in 2006 and stood for elections in 2007 with Pat Utomi as its presidential candidate. The party also participated in the 2011 and 2015 elections.
Also, the ADC is not forming an alliance with just the CNM, as many other political parties are working with the ADC to present one candidate for election in 2019.
What does the Opposition think?
Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) does not seem to be worried about the coming together of opposition political parties and third party forces.
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Bolaji Abdullahi said the APC believes that Nigerians appreciate its effort in driving the country forward:
“Like I have said over time, we are practising a multi-party democracy and in this kind of system, it is the more, the merrier. As for parties coming together, they are welcome. We have no reason to feel threatened because we are confident that Nigerians appreciate the credible leadership the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration has provided.” - Bolaji Abdullahi
Details about the alliance are still foggy as joint meetings with stakeholders are still going on. While it is likely that this alliance will change the course of things during the 2019 elections, a lot of Nigerians seem to have their reservations about Olusegun Obasanjo.
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