CPC/ACN Alliance: The Last straw to break PDP's back?
At the close of count and the declaration of the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan as the flag bearer of the PDP in the April polls last Thursday January 13, 2011, it became clear to the opposition political parties that they will need to brace up for a gargantuan fight. The scenario is clear and not any different from 2003 when Atiku, the man who challenged Jonathan to a distant second position, shouted himself hoarse all over the country to install his former boss Obasanjo for a second time in power. PDP, it would be recalled, through the voice of Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, its deposed former chairman, vowed to rule the country for the next sixty years. Also, as in 2003, Chief Tony Anenih, former chairman of BOT of PDP sounded a similar warning recently in Asaba that there is no vacancy in Aso Rock in 2011. He followed this statement with an even more stringent warning to the southern delegates never to vote for any candidate beside their own, President Goodluck Jonathan. Therefore, if the ruling party detest internal democracy to create space for other contestants within its fold, how do we trust, in spite of the rhetoric, that it will allow for a level playing field and deliver a free and credible election in April, 2011?
With this haunting reality steering the opposition political parties in the face, it is certain that the road is already laced with mines, and the only way out is for the parties to look inwards and bend backwards to come up with an acceptable and formidable alliance to wrestle power from PDP. It is with this in mind that I see great prospect for achieving this seemingly impossible task in the proposed CPC/ACN alliance. Although not holding power in any state and barely one year old, CPC has created positive impact and sympathy in the minds of multitude of Nigerians, especially across the stretch of the north and beyond. The ANPP under whose flag General Muhammadu Buhari contested the 2003 and 2007 massively rigged presidential elections no longer seemed a trusted platform to carry on the struggle of delivering the Nigerian people from the suffocating shackles of PDP, having immersed itself into the PDP government in the bare deceit called government of national unity. Therefore, it is not unexpected that as soon as Buhari left the party, his sympathisers and supporters left with him to pitch their tents with CPC. Indeed, it is as a result of the party's association with General Muhammadu Buhari, who has been given a unanimous nod to fly the party's flag in the presidential election that CPC has incredibly prospered in so short a time. Buhari's support has remain phenomenal and is well received everywhere across the country especially among the mass of Nigerian people who have been deprived, pauperized and completely denied the means of decent living as a result of twelve years of PDP misrule. Buhari, for the truly deprived masses of Nigeria, has come to represent the symbol of hope and a beacon of honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability, equality and social justice; virtues which are absent in the polity today. By every standard of measurement, Buhari has had a fair share of opportunity in life, beginning with military command postings, through to his appointment as governor, minister, and finally as Head of State. In all these, he has distinguished himself as a selfless, hardworking, principled and incorruptible leader. His most recent land mark achievement remains the PTF, which story and contribution is still being felt till today. It is thus not surprising that in politically active states of the north such as Kano , Katsina, Kaduna , Bauchi , Niger and Nassarawa, CPC has become a household name and its support is increasing by the day.
The other party which is equally receiving large following as CPC is ACN. By the last count, the party now has four states- Lagos , Edo , Ekiti and Osun- under its control, no thanks to the political acumen and sagacity of one of its founding father, Chief Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos state. Tinubu has proved himself over time as a consistent and principled politician whose contribution to the improvement of the human and critical infrastructures of Lagos is a point of reference. He fought epic battles with President Obasanjo as an active opposition state governor over several issues including the withheld Lagos local government funds. His many recent successes which include the takeover of Ekiti and Osun states from PDP, shows Tinubu as a dogged fighter and the emerging political leader of south west Nigeria , edging out the duo of Bode George and Obasanjo. Although its impact is restricted formerly to the south western states, ACN is gradually making in-roads into northern states by the day, with a legion of politicians vying for various elective positions under its banner.
In the coming days, it will be increasingly clear the extent the ruling party can go to consolidate its hold on power. The just concluded PDP presidential primary is a clear signal that the incumbency factor cannot be wished away. In fact, for the serious opposition political parties, the fear of the incumbency factor should be the beginning of wisdom. The opposition parties must take the assurances of the provision of a level playing field and the conduct of a free, fair and credible election with a pinch of salt. They must go the extra mile to demonstrate that they will not accept anything short of these assurances. But do they have the muscle to do this when many of them seemed like age grade or community associations than political parties? Have they thought over the gargantuan task of wrestling power from an incumbent government that is not willing to wish the power away? Whether or not they think of these, Nigerians are desperately looking for a glimmer of hope, a distant help to come and break this vicious circle of hopelessness, poverty, insecurity, unemployment, extreme plenty in the midst of extreme want. In the coming days, we look forward to the formalisation of alliance between CPC and ACN- these two parties sure hold the ace to the much awaited emancipation of the Nigerian people from the inhibiting, even debilitating chains which ties them down these past twelve mournful years. CPC/ACN alliance is the much awaited change that Nigerians have been waiting for. History beckons these two great parties to be flexible on certain points and to come out and announce their blossoming into that truly mega party to put back smiles on the faces of Nigerians, north, south, west and east.
Truth is the ruling party fears this alliance and will do everything possible to scuttle its realisation. The two parties share so many things in common compared to other parties. Both parties are gaining more supporters in droves who genuinely believe in the principles and philosophy guiding them. Both parties are people oriented- have the mass of the Nigerian people as its target for comprehensive social welfare programme and the entrenchment of social justice. Both parties have nominated two great Nigerians- Buhari and Ribadu- to fly its flags in the April presidential elections. For these political parties to believe in these two great Nigerians who don't have millions of naira and dollars to spend on delegates goes to show that they have set out to demonstrate a difference, a change and truly, a breath of fresh air in the way politics is played in Nigeria. So, these two parties have so many things in common than they have against each other. Nigerians are waiting patiently, obstinately to this unmistakably divine alliance. In this alliance will emerge the leader not ruler, the servant not master, the Noah who will steer the Nigerian ship to safety from where it is precariously held?
Maikudi Abubakar Zukogi can be reached at