NIGERIANS have seen enough mergers to understand them better than those who lead the moves.
The proposed All Progressive Congress, APC, has ambitions of “rescuing Nigeria from the iron grip of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP”.
Such narrow programme offers nothing concrete, meaningful. PDP, which currently controls 22 of the country’s 36 States, has 71 out of 109 senators, 211 of the 360-member House of Representatives, has run the country poorly on similar stance in its 14 years at the centre.
The merging parties – Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; Congress for Progressive Change, CPC; and a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA – will need to do more.
Nigeria’s history is replete with failed alliances and mergers. In the First Republic, the United Progressive Grand Alliance, UPGA, the National Council for Nigerian Citizens, NCNC, and the Action Group, AG, aligned against the Northern Peoples Congress, NPC. Individual ambitions of UPGA leaders ruined them. In the Second Republic, the Nigerian Peoples Party, NPP, Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, and the Great Nigerian Peoples Party, GNPP, formed the Peoples Progressive Alliance, PPA, to counter the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, this collapsed due to unresolved differences.
The 1999 presidential poll accord of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, which had swept the South-West, with All Peoples Party, APP that dominated parts of the North, failed too.
Nigerian voters are not as politically naïve as they seem. They know these mergers are not about good governance, but merely new platforms for accessing power, especially at the centre, where the juiciest chunks of the countries resources are located. Politicians are arming themselves for future elections, their future, with minimal interests in the welfare of the people.
What democratic practices exist in the parties proposing the merger? Are their governors concerned about the well-being of the people? Would a merger suddenly produce governments that care for the people?
Is the merger an alternative in form or format? Former mergers failed because the politicians could not agree on how to feather their interests within the subterfuge of being the new messiahs.
However, the arrival of the APC could broaden the debates on critical issues as the elections approach. How much more can APC do? Can it influence constitutional changes that could lessen encumbered governance?
APC can be a beneficiary of PDP’s miserable leadership if its own governors can tackle corruption, management of public resources, and execute projects that would improve lives. These could position it as an alternative.
The issue of the moment is the survival of Nigeria and her peoples – none of the politicians and their parties considers this important.