ACN/CPC alliance talks collapse

T he proposed alliance between the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has collapsed, THISDAY can report today.

This followed the inability of both parties to reach a final agreement on common candidacy for the presidential poll.

ACN leaders, including Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, are pushing for the party’s candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, to be the candidate of the alliance, but CPC leaders believe Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has a greater chance of defeating President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the presidential poll.

ACN leaders are canvassing that Buhari, as the older of the two, former head of state and member of the Council of State, “should give way to a member of the new generation to lead the country”.

“Buhari is 69 years old and will still be ruling Nigeria in his 70s if he wins the election,” a senior party official told THISDAY last night. “It is more advisable for him to support a younger person. He should hold Ribadu’s hand and endorse him for the polls. Ribadu is just 50 years old.”

Already, Ribadu is making quiet negotiations across the country in an effort to build what he calls “a team of champions”, hoping to benefit from the fallouts from the PDP primaries.

He is also working on forming “a coalition of reformists”, including Mallam Nasir el-Rufai and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to draw up a new vision for Nigeria.

ACN yesterday said it was “ready, able and willing” to form the next central government, a statement interpreted to mean the party would go alone.

The new posture of ACN came on the heels of an apparent twist in the alliance talks taking place in Abuja without any further progress.

The two parties had earlier agreed in principle to field Buhari as their joint presidential candidate but at the rescheduled meeting meant to formalise the pact and to pick his running mate in Abuja, the parties could not decide on who the vice-presidential candidate would be.

One of the knotty issues was the platform on which Buhari would run, with ACN pushing for its own platform, while CPC was worried that the Chief Bisi Akande-led party was not a household name in the North and this could affect the fortune of Buhari in the election.

THISDAY gathered that there was an initial setback when representatives of the two parties could not easily agree on modalities for pushing ahead with the joint presidential candidacy, but rather had to roll back negotiations on virtually all the areas that had been covered. 

According to the scheduled meeting plan, both parties were to have rounded off their talks by yesterday during which they were to brief members of the public on the outcome.

But by late evening yesterday when the meeting came to a close, there was still no concrete resolution on most of the key issues.

However, a member of ACN told THISDAY last night that the delay in wrapping up the talks was a deliberate ploy by the parties to keep their opponents guessing till the last minute.

He said since INEC had granted all parties up till Saturday to submit their candidates for the elections, the alliance parties would want to throw in a joker by announcing their position on the last day.

Meanwhile, apparently worried by the impact the prolonged alliance talks were bound to have on the minds of the electorate, ACN yesterday debunked insinuations that it was shying away from contesting the presidency on its own.

In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, he said a newspaper headline to the effect that it was not keen about winning the 2011 presidential election took the comments he made in an interview in Ilorin, Kwara State, out of context.

”Our party, which has been growing in leaps and bounds, is undoubtedly the most prepared to offer Nigeria the leadership it so desperately needs at this time to move to greater heights. It is therefore untrue that we are not ready to contest and win the presidential election in April,” he said.

On the ongoing alliance talks between the ACN and other parties, the ACN spokesman said his party is not just a beautiful bride, as it has been described in many publications, but a possible husband.

”With every respect to the other parties involved, our position in this relationship (with other parties) is that of a superior partner, considering how far we have come and the impact we have made in the several states under our control,” Mohammed said.

He said while the ACN would not shy away from contesting the presidency on its own, it is also not averse to teaming up with other parties that share its core values and aspirations, including the provision of good governance, principled and committed leadership as well as ensuring life in abundance for all Nigerians.

”Those deluding themselves in their erroneous belief that our party is not ready to take the centre stage in 2011, and steer Nigeria away from the current path of ruination to which it has been put by the PDP in the past 11 years, will be shocked in April, when Nigerians will overwhelmingly use their votes to propel us to power at the centre,” he said.

In the meantime, Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), personal lawyer and associate of  the presidential candidate of the CPC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), has resigned his membership of the party, citing lack of internal democracy.

Ahamba, who played a key role in the formation of the party, announced his resignation from the party and withdrawal from partisan politics at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday.

According to him, he decided to quit the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and join in founding the CPC because of differences within the leadership of ANPP.

“Faced with irreconcilable differences with the leadership of the ANPP, I and others presumed to be of like minds left the ANPP to form the CPC. 

“In forming the CPC, the ideas were lofty, the expectations high and the objective unambiguous. Most of us believed that at last Nigeria would witness an ideologically-based party,” he said.

Ahamba added that they formed the CPC believing that internal democracy was possible.

According to him, it is only when a party is able to manage its internal democracy that it can hope to instil same in the national polity. 

“But unfortunately, the presumption of discipline, integrity and transparency as the foundation of the party has been largely rebutted and the whole objective betrayed,” he declared.

Ahamba said that after considering the extensive departure from the original set goals and having critically evaluated the events within the party in recent times, he decided to resign from active politics effective January 25, 2011.

 “I have stepped aside from active politics and returned to my law chambers in the absolute sense,” he said.

Ahamba noted that he felt betrayed as his intension to run for the chairmanship position of the party was thwarted by the leadership of the party, which had on the eve of the national convention of the party zoned out the position of the national chairman of the party from the South-east.

He said that there were no personal misgivings between him and Buhari.


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Posted by on Jan 27 2011. Filed under Action Congress of Nigeria, CPC (Congress 4 Progressive Change), Party Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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