A mega party that hopes to defeat the ruling PDP in 2015 was born yesterday. Three major parties have now crossed the final stages for the formation of the All Progressive Congress (APC): the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) set the stage a few weeks ago in Lagos when it dissolved into the APC; yesterday, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) held their last conventions to give way for the full emergence of the APC.
The parties’ attempts in 2010 to work together for the electoral defeat of ruling PDP were unsuccessful. All their differences were sunk yesterday.
In Abuja, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in the 2011 presidential election, Pastor Tunde Bakare, moved the motion seeking approval of the convention for CPC to merge with ACN and ANPP to form APC. The party’s national legal adviser, Abubakar Malami, seconded the motion.
Another motion conferring powers on the BoT or the national executives of the CPC to take decisions or actions on issues that may arise after the convention and before the merger is effected without resort to the convention was moved by Sule Yahaya Harma, CPC member from Kano State and BoT member. It was seconded by Owelle Oscar Udorji, a CPC member from Anambra State. The exercise signified the end of CPC as a political party and its eventual fusion into the APC.
Addressing delegates at the convention, Buhari said the federal government lacked the competence to tackle the current insecurity in the country. He said that if we were to survive as a country, the vicious circle of violence that has engulfed Nigeria must be brought to an end.
Buhari stressed that the patience of the country had been severely tried and stretched to its limits. He called on Nigerians to explore opportunities to save the country from its present state of insecurity. Said he: “I would like all of us here and across the country to reflect on the seriousness of the security situation in the country.
Some areas of the nation are virtually war zones in a country supposedly at peace. Whole local governments in some states in the North-East are no-go areas to representatives of constituted authority. Marauders of every description armed to the teeth with all manner of sophisticated armaments roam the national landscape with total and murderous impunity. The patience of this nation and the various communities within it has been severely tried and stretched to its limits. And there is no end in sight.
“Anarchy is knocking on the door of many sections of this country and the federal government has not demonstrated that it has the good sense to understand what is going on, or the competence to check it. The nation is hopelessly adrift. But, if we are to survive, this vicious circle of violence that has engulfed this nation must be brought to an end; and we implore the National Assembly to take the lead in this quest for peace.
We must explore every opportunity to save our country. This is a historic moment when several different political parties have resolved to come together to change Nigeria for the better and stop the mindless drift that has been going on for the last fourteen years.
‘’We must understand and accept that we are here gathered to make history or forever stand accused and condemned by it. We must seize this opportunity that calls for patriotism and sacrifice; it is time to sacrifice everything — time, resources, ambition and ego for the greater good. We should carry this process through to a successful conclusion, and leave our legacy and footprint on the history of Nigeria.’’
Also speaking, the CPC national chairman, Prince Tony Momoh, said the PDP had given democracy a bad name in Nigeria and the new party was out to redeem the image of democracy and give Nigerians good governance. He said the party would deliver Nigerians from the stranglehold of corruption, violence, lawlessness, poverty and unemployment.
National chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN Chief Bisi Akande, in his solidarity speech at the convention, said: ‘‘That the CPC and ANPP are holding their national conventions the same day though in different locations to, among other things, endorse the ongoing merger process, barely three weeks after the ACN had done its own in Lagos, underscores the unquestionable commitment of the progressive Nigerian leaders to re-direct and reposition the politics and governance in this country.”
Akande said the parties have embarked on this historic journey because they want to be recorded positively on the side of history.
‘’We have heeded the Macedonian call of our people and we have set sail on an irreversible course to contest and assume power at the centre. Our undying quest to refocus and, possibly, to re-fix this massively endowed but hugely debased country has made us set aside our individual interests for a larger national one. For every PDP’s year of the locust, we are offering, in exchange, a new regime of prosperity, fiscal discipline, security and a more emancipated society.”
He quoted Helen Keller: “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision.” Lagos State governor Babatunde Fashola called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to live above board and not allow it to be used by politicians to scuttle the planned registration of APC. He urged INEC to provide every lawful facility and conducive environment for the merger to be consummated.
Some of the dignitaries at the CPC convention included ACN chieftain Chief Audu Ogbeh, ACN BoT member Chief Tom Ikimi, Alhaji Musa Gwadabe, ACN BoT member Chief Segun Osoba, ACN national publicity secretary Lai Mohammed, former speaker of the House of Representatives Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, Senator Solomom Ewuga, former military governor of Lagos State Brig-Gen. Buba Marwa, Senator Chris Ngige, and Ogun State governor Ibikunle Amosun.
Politics without opposition is vain – Onu
The national chairman of ANPP, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has said the opposition is necessary for a healthy and enduring democracy in Nigeria.
Onu, who made the observation yesterday in a speech during the ANPP national convention in Gusau, explained that politics without opposition is like business without competitors.
He said that imposing one political party on the citizens of a country often degenerates into a disaster which, he added, could be learnt from the sad experiences of some Arab nations as well as countries now facing crises and other social disasters resulting from denial of transparent democratic justice.
Onu cautioned that unless “we as a nation agree to strand firm for a change from the existing reign of confusion, injustice, selfishness and focus-less leadership of the ruling party, the nation is likely heading towards similar situation, but I am optimistic that we cannot allow this kind of situation to erupt in this country.
A total of 6,054 delegates from the 36 states of the federation and Abuja attended the event.
The accreditation of the delegates which began at around 9.30am, lasted for three hours at the Zamfara Trade Fair complex.
The host, Governor Yari Abubakar, who was also the chairman of the ANPP national convention, warned the PDP of the danger of denying APC registration.