HOW FAR CAN ACN, CPC ALLIANCE GO?
Plans for a mega party
In the past year, politicians from some leading parties like the Action Congress of Nigeria(AC N), led by Bisi Akande, the All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP), formerly led by Muhammad Buhari's Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), Attahiru Bafarawa's National Democratic Movement (NDM) led by Mustapha Tanko, Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA) led by Olu Falae, Prof. Pat Utomi, Lateef Jakande, Chief Supo Shonibare and others were working together to form a mega party that could beat the PDP in this year's election.
When the plan was still in the works, Shonibare had confidently told Daily Sun that there was no way the plan for a mega party would fail going by the caliber of people involved and their determination to 'restore' sanity to the country by ousting the PDP.
'Considering the pedigree of the people involved in this plan, Nigerians should be assured that it will sail through and we will defeat the PDP in the 2011 elections. We are going to form a formidable party where all our structures will be collapsed into one and we will present one presidential candidate with our combined forces' he had said. Even though the plans looked promising at the beginning, observers were skeptical that the political ambitions of the proponents of the party will come in the way of the plans.
It was learnt that the parties that were formerly involved in the plans had agreed to adopt the AC which later changed to the ACN as its platform. The conditions by which the agreement was going to take off, it was also learnt, was if the AC changed its name entirely, its headquarters, elected officials and carry out new registration for members.
The ACN's refusal to the conditions may have stalled the plans and made it difficult for other parties to merge with it. But while the plans were still ongoing, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar defected from the ACN to the PDP), and Buhari, who was a chief proponent of the mega party formed the Congress for Progressive Change(CPC).
The reason for their defection was to contest the 2011 presidential elections, and for people like Bafarawa and Utomi who remained, many believed that their political ambitions also stalled the process.
Utomi has registered the Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP) on whose platform he will contest the presidential elections.
ACN and ANPP's proposed alliance
When the plan for the mega party failed, the ACN and ANPP began another alliance talk. The plan was for the parties to liaise and present a common candidate for this year's presidential elections.
ANPP's National Chairman, Ogbonnaya Onu, had told newsmen that the ANPP and the ACN were in an alliance talk and when it was concluded the result will be made public. 'We are having alliance talks with the ACN and the plans are still underway. If any arrangement is reached, we shall inform the public' he had said.
If that plan sailed through, it would have been the second time the ANPP (formerly APP) would be entering into an alliance with another party. It will be recalled that in 1999, Onu had won the APP presidential primaries against the likes of Harry Akande, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and Bode Olajumoke. But in order to present a common candidate, the leadership of the APP entered into an alliance with the Alliance for Democracy (AD) of which Olu Falae was its presidential standard bearer.
However, after some party arrangements, Onu was dropped for Umaru Shinkafi who became the running mate to Falae in the 1999 presidential elections.
Falae lost to former president Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP.
It is however not clear why the ANPP/ACN talks did not sail through.
ACN and CPC alliance
With the collapse of the ACN/ANPP alliance talks, the AC N started another alliance plan with the Buhari-led CPC.
The South-West chairman of the CPC, Mutalib Badmus, had confirmed this to Daily Sun during the party's Lagos State primaries.
His words: 'We are working on an alliance where the ACN will produce the vice presidential candidate and the CPC will produce the presidential candidate. We want to do it this way because we believe that Buhari stands a very strong chance in this year's election and he is the one Nigerians will vote for.'
While CPC was pushing for Buhari to emerge on the platform of the alliance, it was learnt that the ACN leaders were pushing for its presidential standard bearer, Nuhu Ribadu who is younger to fly the flag for the alliance while Buhari serves as his running mate.
The inability of both parties to reach an agreement on the choice of a common presidential candidate may have thwarted their plans for an alliance.
And the alliance crumbles
'The reason for alliances between political parties is the need to build viable opposition in the country if democracy is to survive. And such arrangements can only thrive where there is honesty and unity of purpose. It should be devoid of personal ambition if it is to survive'. These were the words of Balarabe Musa, former governor of Kaduna State.
This assertion is not far from the truth. The last political alliance in 2003 between the PDP and AD which was to ensure Obasanjo retained power in the South-West saw the PDP sweeping the South-West states where AD was in control except Lagos. That experience left bitter memories in the minds of the members of AD and the party never recovered from the loss.
Analysts argued that Buhari, who has contested the presidential elections in 2003 and 2007 will not concede the opportunity to run again to anyone. The alliance talks collapsed. Indeed, Buhari on Monday picked Pastor Tunde Bakare, the General Overseer of Latter Rain Assembly and the convener of Save Nigeria Group (SNG) as his running mate for the elections on the CPC platform.
Yinka Odumakin, the spokesperson for SNG and the Media Adviser to Buhari told Daily Sun that the General was going to pick someone with the right credentials as his running mate. In a statement he made available to Daily Sun, Odumakin said Buhari's decision was to 'put the best feet forward'.
Buhari will be contesting the elections on the platform of the CPC, which brings to an end the possiblity of ACN and CPC fielding a joint candidate. Meanwhile, Ribadu has intensified his campaign and is said to be making negotiations on forming a group of experts that will draw up a blueprint for the development of the nation.