2019: Atiku, Kwankwaso, Tambuwal, others jostle for NIM (3rd Force) endorsement

Posted by Atika Ebong | 9 April 2018 | 6,048 times

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Ahead of its final shortlisting of presidential aspirants for the 2019 elections, several frontline presidential aspirants from the northern part of the country are already intensifying lobby of the leaders of the Grand Political Coalition of Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), otherwise known as the Third Force.

The lobby, competent sources disclosed, became intensified at the weekend following media reports about the ongoing process of shortlisting presidential aspirants for the 2019 elections by NIM — a story which was broken by News Express.

A close source said the moves by these top politicians to get the support of NIM and its coalition partners had started following the successful launch of NIM Grand Coalition in Abuja on March 21, which raised the membership of the movement to over five million Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) holders spread across the country

News Express has it on good authority that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who recently declared his intention to contest for the presidency in 2019, reached out for consultations with NIM leadership through his strong political associate, Senator Seidu Kumo. This was said to have started during the Abuja launch of the Grand Coalition. Atiku, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was said to be greatly impressed with the disposition of some of the leaders of NIM Grand Coalition from the northern axis.

The Wazirin Adamawa is said to be relying on the fact that his advocacy for restructuring of the country, which is also one of the cardinal points of NIM, will resonate with majority of Grand Coalition members and will get him the desired endorsement from the movement.

Atiku is also said to be banking on the closeness of another confidant of his, Professor Maxwell Gidado, who is said to be very close to some leading activists in NIM to get the movement’s nod.

Another presidential hopeful from the North, former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, is also said to have been trying to make inroads into NIM through Engineer Rabiu Bichi, a former Secretary to the Kano State Government and current spokesman of Kwankwaso political group.

Kwankwaso, a heavyweight of the ruling Al Progressives Congress (APC), is said to have reached out to NIM leadership through Bichi, to offer himself for screening, banking on Bichi’s vast political experience and reach.

Another presidential aspirant who has been making subtle advances to NIM is Governor Aminu Tambuwal. The serving governor of Sokoto State is said to have already opened consultations with NIM leadership through a member of the top echelon of the movement, using one of his aides who has strong influence within the Nigerian civil society and radical wing of NIM.

This special assistant to the governor is currently arranging consultations between Tambuwal and key leaders of NIM, a meeting which is likely to hold any time soon.

News Express reliably gathered that these three major presidential contenders are also banking on their war chest to get the nod of NIM, a body presently seen as the beautiful bride of the 2019 politics.

The three northern politicians, if considered by NIM, will swell the ranks of the presidential aspirants currently being shorlisted by the movement. These include Colonel Abubakar Umar (Rtd.), Dr Abdul Jalil Tafawa Balewa, Dr (Mrs) Oby Ezekwesili, Mr Fela Durotoye, Dr Thomas Wilson Ikubese, and Dr Sina Fagbenro Byron, among nine other presidential aspirants.

Our search of NIM website www.ninng.org reveals that the site is already agog with activities on the screening exercise, with the coalition’s members eagerly nominating their preferred candidates for the 2019 elections.

When News Express called NIM Head of Publicity, Hajia Barr Fatima Bako, to comment on the development, her line was unavailable.

Approached for comments, Mallam Nasser Kura, Deputy Director General of NIM Grand Coalition, said: “It is not a secret that presidential aspirants have been reaching out to the movement, and our doors are wide open for consultations to enable us assess everybody ahead of the 2019 elections. We have also thrown open NIM website for members to nominate their candidates of choice.

“We are trying to screen as many credible aspirants as possible with the aim of endorsing at all levels candidates who meet NIM's stringent standard at the end of the day.

“NIM's focus is not on individuals but on ideology and our warped political system. NIM's interest is Nigeria as our collective project.

“For instance, NIM is not pro-Buhari or anti-Buhari and government but we are pan-Nigeria as well as pro-Nigeria. NIM wants the best for the country and our people, and that’s all. So, we are ready to back any candidate(s) who meet NIM revolutionary criteria. All NIM is after is to move Nigeria away from the old exploitative order and give it fresh breed ideological political newness in 2019 and beyond through our ballot-based PVC revolution of the Nigerian youth and women, among other vulnerable in our dear country.”

Source: News Express

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