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For A Successful Merger: Attention Messrs Buhari and Tinubu

The emergence of APC, the genuine APC – All Progressives Congress, has shown that despite ethnic, religious and political backgrounds, strange bedfellows can actually become familiar associates.


The heartening element about the fusion of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN); Congress for Progressive Change (CPC); All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP); and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is that for the first time in its fifteen years of its existence (i.e. counting from when it was formed in 1998), the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) now wholly understands the connotation of the term 'Jitters'.


Frankly, the PDP has been too comfortable. Right from the outset, they have had it so good that at a point, one of them – lapsed (bleaching) national chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor – who I suppose is now in obscurity, got so carried away that he uttered the following claptrap: “I expect that every Nigerian will soon join the PDP. I don't care if Nigeria becomes a one-party state”. He then capped it by saying that: “We want to rule this country for the next 60 years and we mean it.” (http://www.nigerianbestforum.com/index.php?topic=1631.0). Ogbulafor made the statement at a dinner he held for newsmen in Abuja in April 2008, weeks after he spoke in same vein at a function: “The time is now and the place is here. PDP will rule Nigeria, whether they like it or not, for not less than 60 years.”


I am glad to inform 'Nnayi' that his band may not do more than just over a quarter of his imprudent prediction, as they would have been in power for 16 years by the end of the current administration. On a second thought, considering that the numbers sound alike, he probably might have said sixteen and not sixty.


The leader of the CPC, Muhammadu Buhari is a crowd-puller anywhere in the North - any day, any time. You need not share money or rice or salt, just tell people in that region that GMB is coming around and boom, you have a stampede to grapple with. Indeed, he is somewhat easy to sell as a consequence of his humble demeanor and ostensible incorruptible nature. For as long as I can remember, the only accusation successive PDP governments purport is the case of some briefcases intercepted at a local airport during the regime of the retired General; till date, no evidence to back up the claim. They also make unsubstantiated allegations that Buhari stole money during his headship of the Petroleum Trust Fund; an odd contrast to a 1998 report in New African, the world's biggest-selling English-language pan-African magazine which praised Buhari for his transparency in PTF, calling it a rare “success story”.


Again, I admire the leading light of ACN, the charismatic Bola Tinubu. His desire to see that the younger generation takes over mantle of leadership deserves is creditable. A methodical scan of numerous brilliant loyalists and protégés he has helped get into public office elucidates that an impressive eighty per cent were fifty years or below as at the time they stepped into office. The list comprise state governors, state and national assembly legislators, local government chairmen and councilors; significant to note that majority are doing exceptionally well.


I am not holding brief for them, neither have I argued that they are saints. However, thus far, one can clearly see that they appear to have ignored their differences in order to guarantee the success of the mega coalition. Educe that the idea of an alliance was mooted pre-2011 general elections. Although it did not get close to crack of dawn, the move demonstrated that such was possible in near future. As seen, the series of meetings held a few years ago eventually became a dais upon which the APC was not only conceptualized but also established.


In as much as one cannot skip the contributions of many other individuals from the four political parties that make up APC, it is evident that Buhari and Tinubu remain the major marksmen. Taking this into consideration, one hopes that the duo will not allow the fact that they are the nucleus of the yet-to-be-registered party, get to their heads.


Presently, some of the issues that have led to dissent include: composition and powers of the National Working Committee; National Executive Committee; the Board of Trustees; and structure of the Interim Management Committee at the federal, state and local government. It is not unhealthy for allied arms to differ on such matters; still, the people are not in the mood for excuses. This time around, they want this to work.


Already, names such as one-time Abuja Minister Nasir El-rufai, pioneer anti-corruption czar Nuhu Ribadu, Governors Babatunde Fashola, Adams Oshiomhole and Rochas Okorocha are in the wings as hypothetical presidential and vice-presidential candidates. Whether any of these men or others unknown will be presented in 2015 is a question that will be answered months to the D-day. But in all APC promoters do, they should totally discard egocentricity for all our sakes!


The onus on is on both men to ensure the opposition gets it right this time. If Buhari and Tinubu allow their ambitions to kill the aspiration of a vast number of electorate patiently waiting to witness the end of “Africa's largest party”, millions of people that have terribly suffered in these past 14 years will gladly wish them a safe journey to perdition.

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Articles by Wale Odunsi