By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North & Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA—Nigerian opposition political parties and second term governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP are working from different angles to stop the second term aspiration of President Goodluck Jonathan, it emerged yesterday.
While the opposition parties are fine-tuning plans to crystallize into a single party in the first half of next year, the PDP governors are equally working to stop President Jonathan from achieving a second term for reasons Vanguard learnt, yesterday, were based on self-survival instincts.
Vanguard reliably gathered that unlike in the past when political parties opted for merger with their identities intact, the major opposition parties in the country were ready to shed their identities and confront the ruling party as a coalition.
Plan to form strong coalition to upstage PDP
The parties, which have been meeting frequently on merger talks, are said to have agreed to forgo their individual identities and work as a team toremove the PDP from the seat of power it has been occupying since the return of civilian rule in 1999.
The arrowheads of the new talks-Gen Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, have been strategizing along with other opposition figures to ensure the emergence of a mega party that can give the PDP a good fight in the next poll.
National Publicity Secretary of the CPC, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, confirmed to Vanguard that there was a concrete arrangement by the opposition to get its acts right with a view to showing the PDP the way out in 2015.
Fashakin explained that the opposition parties had accepted to fill the yawning leadership gap created by alleged failure of the PDP administration in the last 13 years to provide effective governance that could give hope to Nigerians by coming together to work for the nation.
All opposition parties will merge — CPC
The CPC spokesman said: “Yes, all the opposition parties will coalesce into a big party. We shall all lose our identities and probably our jobs after assuming the identity of the new party.
“The need to salvage the nation from the precipitous rulership of the PDP is the cause of the initiative. Hopefully, this will emerge early next year.
“Indeed, we have crossed the rubicon and our minds are set on the merger.”
Only on Wednesday, a chieftain of the All Nigeria Peoples Party and former Yobe State Governor, Senator Abba Bukar Ibrahim, had boasted that the major opposition parties were set to float a new party in March next year.
Ibrahim, who is a member of the ANPP’s Contact Committee for the merger talks, said: “Before March 2013, we are all going to reach an accord on the merger. From all indications, the parties are looking forward to forming a totally new party where all opposition parties would come together as one entity.
“The plan appears to be more popular than any other arrangement and I believe there is sufficient time to register a new party,” the lawmaker said.
Governors ready to stop Jonathan
The governors on their part, it was learnt last night while shadowing the merger talks, are also preparing to stop Dr. Jonathan from achieving a second term using their command of the majority of electors at the PDP convention.
Giving reasons for the determination of the governors, one source privy to the development said:
“It would be unwise for any of the governors to leave office with Jonathan still in power given what is turning out to be his ruthlessness. If the governors leave him behind, every one of them that has offended him would find himself in prison within weeks of Jonathan getting a second term,” a source working with one of the potential presidential aspirants still working in the shadows said yesterday.
The source disclosed that the governors like the potential presidential aspirants have decided to give the president a false sense of security and would only manifest themselves shortly before the presidential election.
Should the plan of the governors to stop the president in the PDP fail, they would then use the platform of the merged political party to confront the president in 2015.
The National Publicity Secretary of the ANPP, Mr. Emmanuel Eneukwu, expressed satisfaction with the way the opposition parties in the merger arrangement were carrying on with the plan, saying that it would help to achieve the desired political result.
PDP afraid of merger talks — ANPP
The ANPP spokesman noted that the merger talks were giving the ruling PDP sleepless nights because of “its monumental failure” to provide basic needs for Nigerians.
He said: “PDP has become very unpopular among Nigerians because they have not performed and President Goodluck Jonathan is busy giving excuses on that. Nigerians are tired of the failure of the PDP and are ready to join the new move to build a new Nigeria of their dream come 2015,” Eneukwu boasted.
But the PDP has dismissed the opposition in Nigeria as incongruent and incapable of upstaging it from power.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, said that the PDP was the only party that could bring about the needed development and unity of Nigeria.