By Chioma Gabriel, Deputy Editor
Whatever hope left over a possible alliance between the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, evaporated with each side holding tenaciously to its own presidential candidates ahead of the April elections.
Both parties had thought that where merger failed between them, alliance would work out and were indeed working towards its implementation. The alliance, according to a source, was almost through with the choice of a presidential candidate and his running mate.
Said one source: “The CPC had been basking in the hope that a new alliance would produce Buhari as the sole presidential candidate of the CPC/ACN alliance which would ease out the ambitions of Nuhu Ribadu and Tunde Bakare, the presidential candidate of ACN and the CPC Vice-presidential candidate respectively but that was not to be.
The fact that CPC is a new party made the ACN insist that General Buhari contests the primaries on the platform of ACN, the same platform used by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to contest presidential election in 2007 but Buhari was not to be at ease with the control of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on the party whom he perceived to be eyeing the Vice Presidential slot.
“General Buhari was not comfortable with the likelihood of Tinubu as his running mate. He would not want a Muslim/Muslim ticket despite attempts made to convince him that Tinubu is a liberal Muslim since his wife is a Christian. The former Head of State also would not want what happened to him in All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, to happen to him again. He felt ANPP betrayed him. He reasoned that ACN, just like CPC is a regional party and does not want anything to hinder him in the polls .
“General Buhari refused to participate in the ACN primaries also because he did not want his chance to be jeopardised by the likely choice of other presidential aspirants like Nuhu Ribadu, the former Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and Attahiru Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto state who were contenders in the presidential race on ACN platform. So, to ensure that nobody fooled him, he insisted on the CPC ticket It was at this point that ACN decided to do its own thing while both parties hoped to meet again by way of alliance”
Saturday Vanguard gathered that what prompted ACN’s choice of Nuhu Ribadu over Attahiru Bafarawa was the belief that it would be easy to convince him to quit the scene for Buharii should the planned alliance eventually work out. Moreover, Attahiru Bafarawa, came late to the ACN as a presidential candidate because he was delayed by a trial for N15 billion corruption arising from his tenure as governor of Sokoto State
Another source said replacing Ribadu would not have worked out because the former EFCC boss had earlier refused to sign the clause in the nomination form that he could be changed if the party deemed it fit. But they eventually, worked out a situation which led to Ribadu dropping Sunny Ugochukwu, an academician for a banker, Fola Adeola as running mate.
“The truth is that the inability of both political parties to resolve their internal issues dragged on until INEC’s deadline for the substitution of candidates expired and nothing was done except ACN’s change of its presidential running mate. It was strange for leaders of ACN to have continued to negotiate with Buhari’s team after both Buhari and Ribadu have emerged as presidential candidates of their parties.
At this point, I doubt if any agreement could be worked out as the elections are just weeks ahead and the candidates are campaigning vigorously. From the way Ribadu is going, it is obvious he is not leaving anything to chance. It was even alleged that Buhari and Ribadu had discussed the matter face-to-face where Buhari allegedly asked Ribadu to rescind his presidential ambition so that he, Buhari would fly the ACN/CPC ticket but Ribadu allegedly declined.’.