THE four main opposition political parties in the country, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) on Wednesday formally merged and transformed to a new political party christened “All Progressives Congress (APC).
The formation of the new political party, which was announced in Abuja at a world press conference by the Chairman of the opposition merger committee, Chief Tom Ikimi, after several hours of closed doors meeting by the representatives of the four parties came barely 24 hours after 10 state governors on the platform of the opposition and their leaders met in Lagos on Tuesday where they perfected the merger plan.
According to Dr Ikimi: “we resolved to form a political party committed to the principles of internal democracy, focused on serious issues of concern to our people, determined to bring corruption and insecurity to an end determined to grow the economy and create jobs in their millions through education, housing, agriculture, indusrial growth and to stop the increasing mood of despair and hopelessness among our people.”
Chief Ikimi who was flanked by the representatives of the opposition parties went further: “the resolution of these issues, the restoration of hope, the enthronement of true democratic values for peace, democracy and justice are those concerns which propel us. We believe that by these measures only shall we restore our dignity and position of pre-eminence in the committee of nations.This is our pledge.”
He disclosed that the manifesto, logo, slogan, anthem and other relevant details of the new party would be made public soon while the group would immediately be heading to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to formalise its registration as a full-fledged political party in the country.
On the fate of the elected members of the four political parties at all levels of government, Chief ikimi said that nothing would happen to their seats, especially those at the state Houses of Assembly and National Assembly as the merger was allowed by the electoral Act.
On the claims in some quarters that the leadership of APGA was not part of the arrangement, Chief Ikimi dismissed the claims saying that the party was represented at the meeting by Senator Annie Okonkwo on the orders of its leadership.
Other signatories to the merger statement made available to newsmen are Chief Ikimi (ACN), Alhaji Garba Mohammed Sadi (CPC) and former Governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, all chairmen of merger talks for their respective parties.
In its reaction, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday dismissed as, no threat, the coming together of some opposition political parties to form the APC, as it described itself as the best player on the nation’s political turf.
The National Chairman of the party, Dr Bamanga Tukur, told correspondents after inspecting the new national secretariat building under construction in Abuja, that PDP welcomed strong opposition in the country as it would inspire the ruling party to work harder.
He said of the merger: “Beautiful. The more the merrier. Let me tell you. There is no polling booth in the whole Nigeria where you will not find one member of PDP.
We are the only party. That shows the acceptance. It is the party in government now that is in the majority. It does not mean that we want to be a party with no opposition. In fact opposition is a charge to action.
“People tend to believe that when they see people coming together…If they have the strength why do they come together, why do they come together?
“If you go for a contest, you have the striker. You know Lionel Messi? PDP is Messi (Barcelona football ace) in that contest. They (oppositions) are no threat at all. It is better, it inspires PDP to action. In that contest, tell them Chairman said PDP is the Messi.”
He said that PDP never believed that as a political party, it would exist in a one-party state, saying however that rather than the parties, it was Nigerians that should determine the political party system for the country.
“When we came to form PDP, we did not ask anybody we want one party state. Nigerians should really decide. It is the electorate. My job is to hand over this party to the owners, they are there, they are the ones to decide from the ward, local government to the state, to the zone and to the centre. PDP is the party that is steering the nation’s governance,” he said
On the new national secretariat, Tukur, who paid a surprise visit to the site along with some members of the National Working Committee (NWC), lauded the quality of work done by the contractors, confident that with the current pace of work on the project, “by the grace of God, in January 2014, this building will be ready.”
He assured that funding was available for the implementation of the project, as he revealed that international corporations were already lining up to secure space in the 12-storey building for commercial purposes.
Similarly, the FCT Labour Party chairman, Mr Adejobi Peter, on Wednesday, said only purposeful leadership could ensure Nigeria’s progress, not the planned merger of opposition parties.
He made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Peter, reacting to the endorsement of merger talks by 10 governors who won elections on the tickets of opposition parties, said the corporate existence of Nigeria was greater than aggregate interests of a group of individuals brought together by the inordinate ambition of wresting power.
According to Peter, Labour Party was not part of the ongoing merger talks, because similar exercises had never yielded any good result.
Culled from Tribune