By NBF News
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National Publicity Secretary of ACN, Lai Mohammed, who gave an insight into the merger talks during a visit to Media Trust Corporate Headquarters, said General Buhari appeared not ready to succumb to any arrangement that would tamper with the CPC arrangement.

According to him, though ACN has better structures on ground, it was however ready to concede the chairmanship as well as the presidential slots to the CPC if the merger sails through but General Buhari declined the offer.

'He (Buhari) insisted that ACN should eclipse into CPC but we feel this is not in tandem with the reality on ground because we (ACN) have better structures than CPC. We have two governors, senators and several local government chairmen and councillors. So why should we operate on CPC platform?' he said.

He said even though General Buhari would be difficult to sell in some parts of the country, the likes of  former Lagos State governor, Bola Ahmed  Tinubu, and the former Anambra State governor, Chris Ngige as well as the Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole among others are ready to form a coalition for Buhari had the merger succeeded.

He said talks with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar could not go further as he insisted on returning to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stressing that there are rooms for more talks with other like minds.

He also denied reports that the party has concluded arrangement to field the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Nuhu Ribadu, as its presidential candidate, saying for now Ribadu is not a card carrying member of the party.

He said the national convention of the party would hold in the first week of November to elect its presidential candidate for the 2011 elections.

Commenting on the preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct the 2011 elections, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the choice of January may not be feasible because INEC is yet to award contract for the purchase of equipment for the review of voters' register.

He said the commission needs at least 15 weeks to come up with a comprehensive voters' register needed for a credible elections.

According to him, INEC needs at least 10 weeks to get supply of the 120,000 units of data capturing machine required, three weeks to conduct registration and another two weeks to integrate data for final compilation of a credible voters' register.

He said the challenge is for INEC to ask the National Assembly to suspend the operation of the new constitution to enable it have more time to conduct free and fair elections.

He said seeking the suspension of the new constitution is necessary because the country cannot afford to invest N80 billion and have the process aborted.

Mohammed also told Daily Trust that the party is not interested in the zoning debate that has dominated political space in the country, saying that as a PDP affair, zoning or no zoning shouldn't be a national issue.