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AC: FEAR GRIPS ASPIRANTS OVER CHANGE OF NAME

By NBF News

Palpable fear has gripped elective office seekers on the platform of the Action Congress (AC) as the party is set to change its name next week to accommodate other political platforms of like minds. The new name, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) will take effect from Monday, August 9 at the non-elective National Convention of the party in Lagos while the elective convention has been slated tentatively for Edo State, sometimes in September.

The fears, according to Daily Sun findings stemmed from the fact that negotiations would be entered into by all the platforms that would team up to form the new arrangement. The arrangement, Daily Sun learnt would entail the sharing and re-distribution of offices, both elective and appointive, across the country.

A top chieftain of the party who spoke on the condition of anonymity said; 'the new arrangement will even begin with the new Executive Committee that will be put in place immediately after the change of name.'

A source close to the leadership of the party also confided in Daily Sun correspondent in Osogbo, the Osun State capital that 'some of the aspirants who have already started mobilising for their ambitions would be asked to drop their aspirations for newcomers as every member of the new party would be considered as equal partner, equal founding and pioneer member.'

Daily Sun however gathered that although the AC might be the 'senior partner' in the new arrangement, slots would be allocated and conceded in accordance with the strength of the contributing parties in their areas of operations.

For instance, former governor of Sokoto State and leader of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa might be allowed to nominate candidates for his catchment areas while former Head of State and leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Gen, Muhammadu Buhari (retd), might be given the free hand to nominate candidates from his area of strength.

Another chieftain of the party from Kwara State, who did not want his name in print also explained that 'in Lagos State for example, the Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA) might be allowed to nominate candidates for the Central Senatorial District where its governorship candidate in the 2007 election, Mr. Jimi Agbaje resides.'

National Publicity Secretary of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Mr. Michael Popoola Ajayi, who confirmed that his party is part of the new order however said that 'the issue of aspiration has not come up yet.' He explained that 'the issue at hand is to first consolidate the new party before talking about individual aspiration.'

Alhaji Lateef Raji, Chairman, Lagos State chapter of the AD disclosed to Daily Sun that 'the two factions of the party, (Chief Mike Koleosho and Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa factions) have come together' saying 'both sides have seen wisdom in closing ranks to form a formidable platform that would be strong enough for them to win elections.'

The two AD factions were present at a parley in Ibadan last week where all the former AD governors like Chief Bisi Akande, Alhaji Lam Adesina, Chief Segun Osoba, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu were in attendance.

Although the AD spokesman, Ajayi said the issue of aspirations is not yet on the agenda, Daily Sun reliably learnt that there are behind-the-scene manoeuvres towards pairing General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as presidential candidate and running mate respectively.

At the state level, a governorship aspirant from one the South west zone confided in Daily Sun that 'although the race will be thrown open to every interested aspirant, there might be consideration for Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State and Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State for obvious reasons.'

But another source stated emphatically that ' the birth of the new party would sound the death knell of all the separate parties that come together to become one, the field would be thrown open for every contestant to try his or her own luck without any form of hindrance.'