Victor Umeh.

Victor Umeh, a senatorial candidate of the Labour Party (LP) says the coalition talks between his party and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has collapsed.

Mr Umeh, a former national chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) stated this on Tuesday while featuring on Channels TV.

Presidential candidates of the opposition parties, Peter Obi (LP) and Rabiu Kwankwaso (NNPP) had last month confirmed that talks were ongoing between them to team up and edge out the two major political parties in the country during next year’s general election.

On Sunday, Mr Kwankwaso said his party is offering Mr Obi the golden opportunity to deputise him since the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not look the way of the South-East geo-political zone where the former Anambra governor hails from.

Speaking to the broadcast station, Mr Umeh said the coalition talks involving the parties collapsed since June 15 but members of the NNPP are misleading the public into thinking negotiations are still ongoing.

“We are surprised at the recent media blaze by the members of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) to continuously suggest that they were locked in a negotiation with the Labour Party to have a partnership or arrangement where the two parties will work together in 2023,” he said.

“We are surprised to continuously see this, we had this discussion precisely on the 15th of June, more than three weeks ago. What necessitated the meeting was that the NNPP and LP working together will give a better opportunity for the presidential election to be won. And the two parties set up two teams.

“Myself, Julius Aboreh, the Labour Party chairman who led our team; Doyin Okupe went to that discussion on behalf of the Labour Party; while the NNPP put forward Buba Galadima, Abdullahi Baffa, former executive secretary of TETFUND, and Ladipo Johnson.

“It was a three-man team; we met for long hours, adjourned and we came back. When it became obvious that it had become a dialogue between a deaf and dumb person we called off the negotiation.

“It was on the 15th of June that the whole talks collapsed completely. The Labour Party has averted its mind from every other discussion with the NNPP.

“But these fellows have continued to give the impression that they are still in talks with the Labour Party. We couldn’t agree on the knotty issue of who becomes the presidential candidate. Will it be Peter Obi of the LP or Rabiu Kwankwaso?

“What they are saying is not in tune with the reality of things. If Peter Obi, who is being sought after, stepped down to deputise Kwankwaso, it would have been injurious to his reputation,” the former lawmaker added.