ACN, ANPP, CPC forge ahead with merger talks

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May 29, 2012 by Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja 

Mr. Rotimi Fashakin

If President Goodluck Jonathan changes his mind to contest the 2015 poll, he will be meeting a joint candidate of the three leading opposition parties in the country.

The Action Congress of Nigeria, the All Nigeria Peoples Party and the Congress for Progressive Change, The PUNCH, learnt on Monday were forging ahead with the talks to merge before the 2015 presidential poll.

“Between now and then (2015), I am telling you that it is either we have one party or there will be credible alliance where we would present one presidential candidate in order to make sure that the Peoples Democratic Party does not rule this country forever. And that will happen by the Grace of God,” a former member of the House of Representatives and the CPC governorship candidate in the last election in Jigawa State, Alhaji Farouk Aliyu, told The PUNCH in Abuja.

Aliyu who spoke to our correspondent after a press brieifing by the CPC at its headquarters, said the desire to make the alliance or the merger work was the reason why the three parties started their meetings on time.

The CPC candidate is also a member of the negotiation/consultation team of the party.

He said it was wrong to accuse the CPC’s presidential candidate, Major-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), of discussing the alliance with the other major opposition political parties alone.

“About this alliance, I have been part of the meetings and I can tell you that Buhari didn’t go there alone. I was part of the meetings and thank God we started early and we have three years ahead,” he said.

The National Chairman of the ANPP, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has also expressed similar hope that the alliance would work.

Onu said this was the only way the opposition could defeat the PDP in any election.

The precursor of the ACN, Alliance for Democracy; and the All Peoples Party, now known as the ANPP had a similar alliance during the 1999 presidential election but their joint candidate, Chief Olu Falae, of the AD was defeated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP.

In the months preceding the 2011 poll, the ACN and the CPC had a failed merger/alliance talk to present a joint candidate against Jonathan.

Political critics say the 2011 alliance talk failed due to the selfish aspirations of members of the parties involved.

Onu confirmed that talks were ongoing among the opposition parties on the modalities of the proposed alliance or merger, but said it was premature to disclose the details now.

“It (the discussion) is ongoing. It is too early to start telling you the modalities, but I can tell you that we are serious about it and that is why we started meeting early,” he said.

Asked where the party’s presidential candidate or the alliance candidate would come from among the six geopolitical zones, he said discussions on this had not been reached, adding it would be premature to dwell on such issues now when election was still about three years away.

Also on Monday, the CPC said it had lost confidence in the ability of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to conduct free, fair and credible elections in the country.

The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, said Jega had shown some traits that indicated that he would always be answerable to those that appointed him.

“As it is now, we don’t have confidence in Jega. He has shown that he is desired to favour and be answerable to those that appointed him,” Fashakin said.

Fashakin insisted that in order to prevent rigging, the party would continue to advocate what he called “the harshest punitive measures against electoral offences.”

He said when Buhari said that there would be violence if the votes would not be allowed to count in 2015, some people were angry.

He said, “Away from the thuggish stance of a former President, elections should never be a matter of “do or die”. Rigging, in itself, is an act of violence against a people, because it removes from them the sovereignty over the Nation state.”

But the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Olisa Metuh, said the party was not disturbed by the proposed merger. He said the PDP would always defeat the opposition because of its wide acceptability by Nigerians.

He said that even when there were three major political parties in the country, the PDP triumphed.

“If they like let them merge and become one. We will always defeat them. They will attempt to come together but later scatter. We are not afraid of them. PDP is a national party that is acceptable to the majority of Nigerians,” he told our correspondent on the telephone on Monday

Meanwhile, a former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has called on the leadership of the PDP to erase zoning from the party’s constitution.

Abubakar, who stated this in his message to Nigerians on the occasion of the country’s Democracy Day celebrations, said the PDP must take another look at its constitution and come clean with Nigerians on the issue of zoning and power rotation.

The umbrella socio-political organisation in the northern Nigeria, Arewa Consultative Forum, on Sunday said the North was blackmailed into accepting the rotational presidency adopted by the PDP.

The ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, said that the North was blackmailed into the politics of power shift rotation and zoning during the constitutional conference of between 1994 and 1995.

He spoke at a briefing by the group in Kaduna.-Punch

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Posted by on May 29 2012. Filed under Action Congress of Nigeria, All Nigerian Peoples' Party (ANPP), 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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