By GABRIEL EWEPU
ABUJA — The new party coming from the merger of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, will pursue the restructuring of the country, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the CPC national leader said yesterday.
Speaking at the inauguration of the CPC merger committee in Abuja, Buhari said that a flag and logo for the new party which is expected to emerge in June this year have already been prepared.
The merger committee headed by former Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Garba Gadi, is expected to formalize ongoing talks with the ACN and other opposition parties on issues ranging from manifesto, party flag and logo.
Buhari said: “It is not impossible that the new party is presented to the people by middle of this year after signing the declaration. It should not take more than six weeks for the parties to pursue the matter within their own constitutional context to ensure that the issue is legitimated through the proper procedures and processes of its own organs”.
He said the party and the ACN were already pursuing the merger at an advanced stage as both parties are near perfection on every detail of the agreements between the two parties.
Buhari said there was a strong understanding and determination between the ACN and CPC to create a new party with a brand new logo and flag already designed, including all other paraphernalia of a political party already in place.
Buhari who was optimistic on prospects of the new party said: “The new party will root for proper federation as the basis of the union and for the governance of the country; and should therefore support the restructuring of the country. The 36-state structure of the country is simply not working; and it must therefore be rationalised.
“The party should root for democracy, rule of law and the entrenchment of a democratic culture in the country; and the foundation of the new party should be anchored on the recognition and acceptance that our cultural and religious differences are a blessing and a source of strength, and should not be a cause for disunity”.
“The new party should as a matter of topmost priority begin to tackle and plan for the creation of a new security architecture for the country and possibly for the entire sub-region, a development that may involve the creation of local security networks and the restoration of traditional intelligence gathering techniques to shore up a police force that has obviously failed,” Buhari said.
According to Buhari the new party will bring about new work ethic in the public service and accountability by every public office holder.
He assured Nigerians that the merger between the CPC and ACN is going to be a full fledged one, and not an alliance, because Nigerians expect a merger.
However, he charged the Gadi led 18-man committee on CPC merger talks to be focused and see their assignment as a national task as it is an opportunity to build and run a better Nigeria.
“Your task is national, the issue before you now and as you go into your negotiations is fundamentally one that you will negotiate at the best deal for Nigeria. It is essentially a matter of give-and-take: there is nothing sacrosanct about any of the issues you will be called to thrash out, but of course, there is a bottom-line the outlines of which have been giver in the committee’s terms of reference.
“We are not going into a battle; we are going into a friendly game with our brothers who desire for this nation what we desire for. You must always remember to negotiate with respect, understanding and decorum as befits people who are ready and genuinely desirous of merging into one tomorrow,” Buhari added.