The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has spoken on former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s involvement in the party’s third force movement.
The party which recently received ex-Information Minister Jerry Gana and former Education minister, Professor Tunde Adeniran stated.they had always adopted third force as a slogan.
On why the party chose ‘Third force initiative’ Hon. Alfa Mohammed, the National Publicity Secretary of the party in an interview with Punch said:
“I say the endorsement of Nigerians brought about third force movement, as far as the SDP is concerned, we have been using the words ‘third force’ all along. Even now, in some of our write-ups, our national chairman has continued to use ‘third force’, saying we are the third force.
“So, it is not because (former) General Obasanjo mentioned in the past few weeks that the words ‘third force’ are coming to the vocabulary of Nigerians. It has always been our watchword since the appearance of the SDP. But all the same,
“I would not say we don’t enjoy the backing of (former) President Obasanjo, though he has not come out openly (to express support for SDP). But I can confirm to you that at all the meetings that led to the emergence of the SDP as the adopted third force; some of the members of Obasanjo’s coalition were there.
“The National Intervention Movement — Dr. Jahlil Tafawa-Balewa; the South-West Coordinator of the NIM, Dr. Olu Agunloye, and so on — were there. Then, you have Sani Garba, who is a staunch member of the coalition; he was there. In fact, he gave the closing remarks.
“In Chief Obasanjo’s organisation, members were present and I think it won’t be wrong if I say that the organisation was represented at the endorsement ceremony of the SDP.
“The organisation has not made an open declaration but we have a lot of them coming. Very soon, when we are stabilised, one by one, the organisations will visit the party secretariat and make open declarations.
“It is a mass movement that we have now; the SDP has become like a mass movement in Nigeria. Since that weekend when the adoption took place, so many people have been trooping into this party. The traffic of new members has become so high and it has never happened in the history of Nigeria.
“They are defectors from different regions. This movement is about all the regions now. Another source of unity for Nigerians now would be the SDP. Nigerians will be united in the manner they are united during football (matches). The SDP’s quest is to drive Nigerians to the Promised Land.”
Mohammed further speaking on choice of Presidential candidate stated.the party has not gotten to that level.
“We have not gotten to that level, but we assure you that not only presidential aspirants, we will educate the delegates in all the primaries. We will educate every Nigerian that is involved in elections on the need to vote and elect credible and competent candidates because that is the first source of problems.
“When you elect people that are not competent, you run into problems. There are people who are already going around signifying interest, but we have not reached that level now. When the party is stabilised, everybody is allowed to aspire but the delegates will decide. We will offer a level playing field to everybody, but I can assure you that by the end of the day, we shall be guided by the imperative of credibility and competence in the choice of the leaders that will lead Nigeria from 2019. That is very important and I can assure that that is what will happen.
“There will not be sentiment this time around. Nobody will be elected based on sentiments. No! You will be elected based on your integrity and your capacity to perform,” he said.