2015: Govs endorse opposition merger
About 10 governors from opposition political parties involved in the on-going merger talks for a mega party rose from a closed meeting in Lagos yesterday with a resolve to flush out the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015.
The governors who affirmed their support for the merger plans regretted what they described as the rampaging one-party system in the country as represented by the PDP.
“It is not good for the nation’s hard earned democracy,” the governors noted.
In a swift reaction, the PDP described the meeting of the opposition political parties as a “welcome development.”
Addressing journalists after the meeting at the Lagos House Marina, the governors who spoke through Borno state Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, explained that they are concerned about Nigeria and that they are determined to chart a way forward.
According to Shettima who read a communiqué from the meeting, “We, the governors of Borno, Ekiti, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun , Oyo Osun, Yobe and Zamfara states, rose from a meeting at the Lagos House Marina today (yesterday) Tuesday, having reviewed the situation in our country and we resolved that to rescue Nigeria is a task that must be done.
“As progressives and patriotic leaders of our people across party, religious and geo-political zones, we are extremely concerned about the state of the nation as we put our heads together in the interest of our people to deliberate on what can be done to rescue our country.”
Also speaking, the Imo state Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, said there was no room for skepticism over the merger plans arguing that as governors and leaders of the political parties involved, all the machinery would be put in place to realize the objectives.
As Okorocha put it, “the merger has become necessary in order to save our democracy and the likelihood of turning Nigeria into a one-party state.
“It does not augur well for democracy, therefore I fully endorse this movement and this new merger at least to rescue the nation and we say we are on a rescue mission here and to make sure Nigeria gets better.
“The essence of this whole merger is to make Nigeria a better nation.”
Lagos state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, in his contribution said that, “skepticism is one thing; the commitment that we bring to the table will certainly override any skepticism. “I am convinced that the full weight of 10 governors and many more who unfortunately could not make it today, is a much stronger force.
“The underlying reason is clearly how to make this country a better place, this is not the best that this country can have and we intend to deliver Nigeria’s best.
His view was not different from that of the Ogun state Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who assured that a lot of other people will come on board once they see the sincerity of those driving the process.
“That is why we are not taking this lightly as we are determined and I am sure that with the support of all Nigerians, this merger will work,” Amosun said.
And for the Zamfara state Governor, Alhaji Abdul-Aziz Yari, “the move is to fix Nigeria in the right perspective.
“The People’s Democratic Party has become something else and if we as opposition say that we are right and you as journalists and many people outside there, go and ask them whether they have been happy since 1999 till date or not.
“So, it is a duty for all of us as leaders to drive our people right and we believe the PDP has not done enough.
“We have the idea, the knowledge and we have the progressive ideas to move the country forward, so if you say that we intend to move the PDP out of power, yes we are ready to do that.”
Also present at the meeting were, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, Senator Abiola Ajumobi of Oyo state while Senator Degere Alkali represented the Governor of Yobe state.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, who reacted to the development however warned against what the party referred to as, “overheating the polity or inciting Nigerians to violence.”
According to him, “it is the belief of the PDP that everything should be played according to the rules of the game.”
Efforts by the opposition political parties to merge began last year with the National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP], Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, insisting that it would go a long way in addressing a number of problems confronting the nation.
Another member of the ANPP who is a member of the party’s contact committee, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, said recently in Abuja that the opposition parties would ensure that a new political party from the coalition talks emerges by March.
According to him, “before March 2013, we are all going to reach an accord on this merger, that is the deadline for the coalition materializing.
“From all indications, the parties are looking forward to forming a totally new party where all the opposition parties will come together as one entity.”
Revelations emerged yesterday on how the proposed merger talks between the Special Negotiation Committees set up by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), could not proceed owing to the demands by members of the committee that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), should be part of the talks.
Peoples Daily gathered from a source in the committee that Senator Chris Ngige, who is a former Governor of Anambra State, and a current ACN Senator, moved the motion, which was unanimously adopted by other members of the committee.
Similarly, the opposition governors met yesterday in Lagos over the planned mega party that would dislodge the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015. It was also learnt that Rochas Okorocha, of APGA also attended the meeting in addition to other ANPP governors.
Another source who preferred anonymity, said it was because of the presence of these APGA and ANPP governors in the meeting that gave rise to the demand that their parties should be part of the merger talks, such that whatever that is agreed will be binding on all the opposition parties.
Meanwhile, the meeting in Abuja is billed to continue tomorrow, in the residence of one of the co-chairmen of the merger committees.