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Buhari, Tinubu, Govs, others vow to sack PDP in 2015

By Austin Oboh and Ekene Okoro, Lagos

Leading opposition chieftains, including Bola Tinubu of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), their state Governors, and other stakeholders for the umpteenth time on Thursday fired warning shots at the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), saying its time was up come 2015.

They spoke at the Onikan Stadium, Lagos, where the ACN held its final National Convention to pave way for merger with some other opposition parties to form a new party, All Progressives Congress (APC).

At the convention 4,761 delegates of the ACN ratified the dissolution of their party to go into merger with the others.

The other parties expected to hold similar conventions are the CPC and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

A section of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is also part of the merging parties.

The ACN convention attracted Governors of Osun, Edo, Ogun, Lagos and Imo states, together with political stalwarts from all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

National Legal Adviser of the ACN, Muiz Banire, presided over the ratifications in which the delegates were asked to show their support for or against the motion by raising their hands.

Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were also present at the proceedings.

But the convention could not vote for ratifications of appointment of national officers for the APC.

However, delegates approved a motion for the present national officers of the various merging parties to conduct the process at a later date.

Tinubu at the convention was full of thanks for the party representatives that ensured the APC came to fruition, saying it would signal a new dawn for a people and country in search of change in the way they have been governed in the last 14 years of democratic rule.

“We have gathered here today to put an end to national corruption, we are resolved to bring a new Nigeria to our people. Our people have had enough of excuses; the current trademark of the government is to throw empty words and no action at our problems.”

He said the government of the PDP at the centre has over the years shown no regard to the sufferings of the masses, choosing instead to put the interest of a few elite above the people.

He said their reign in power has seen the rise of kidnapping, armed robbery and the deadly activities of the fanatical sect, Boko Haram, with the government helpless.

The former Lagos State Governor said the situation “is unacceptable, it is not leadership and we must not accept mediocrity. Nigeria is rich in power and resources, but today, the opposite is the case.

“Before, it was known as a government of slow motion, now it's a government of no motion at all.”

On his part, Buhari noted that the successful merger was a continuation of what the ACN and the CPC started in 2011, saying the APC represents the change Nigerians have longed and yearned for.

He expressed optimism that the APC will save the nation from further descent to a state of chaos, urging members of the party to mobilise from the grassroots and ensure that APC stops the PDP from power come 2015 elections.

“We are determined to go all out to make it possible. We also hope that other institutions, including the INEC, the civil service, the judiciary will play their role, so that 2015 elections will see a hitch free transfer of power from PDP to APC,” Buhari added.

Presidential Candidate of the ACN in the 2011 elections, Nuhu Ribadu, adding his voice, said the event had seen the dawn of a new Nigeria.

“This journey we have started today will take us to Abuja come 2015. We are on a journey to change Nigeria, it is time to fight corruption to a standstill, the time has come.”

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, said what the merger brings was not just a contest against the PDP, but “an alternative voice, a voice of equal rights and a vehicle of equal propensity to the mythical power of the ruling party.”

He charged INEC to rise above all odds and dispel rumours making rounds that it (INEC) was working for the PDP.

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, who stormed the convention with his cabinet members, said hope has finally come for Nigeria with the APC.

“We can finally smile. The lack of power we saw yesterday, the lack of unemployment and the corruption we face we would see them no more.

“I am not a prophet, but let me prophesy, in 2015, the nation will decide and victory will be the portion of APC.”

His Osun counterpart, Rauf Aregbesola, said the victory of the merger would signal the celebration of the end of unemployment, darkness and injustice in Nigeria.

But he urged the people to rally round the new party, saying its first test will be the Anambra governorship election in November.

“The APC must take over Anambra State, we need to start the change from there. A change has come and we must rally round it.”

ACN chieftain, Audu Ogbeh, urged members of the APC to “participate, help to formulate policies and ensure the policies are implemented.”

He added: “We must wake up from our slumber, join the train and take up responsibility. The change we yearn for is here”.

ANPP National Chairman, Ogbonnaya Onu, boasted that, “By 2015, the PDP will become the opposition because the APC will be in power.”

He said the nation was in a mess because of the misrule of the PDP, adding that Nigerians have endured enough heartache for 14 years.

“APC is a credible alternative; it will work for the masses and put the interest of the people first. We would make sure no one is above the law, this is the vision of the party,” Onu said.

George Akume, a Senator from Bunue State, assured the delegates that the PDP would soon be in the opposition, adding: “We are witnessing the deconstruction of the PDP by the PDP.”