Indications have emerged that the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Political Change (CPC), led by Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd)respectively, been able to come to an agreement on the sharing formula for the emerging political marriage. This is said to be responsible for the renewed vigour towards the formation of a grand opposition party in time for the 2015 polls, as the lack of an agreed power-sharing plan delayed the take-off of the party throughout 2012.
It was confirmed that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of the merger had been rejected by some leaders of the CPC, based on what they called ‘Buhari’s blind agreement with the ACN’.
However, Buhari, speaking at a Board of Trustees meeting, said that the opposition parties were sure of forging the coalition before the 2015 elections.
This also comes on the heels of huge resentment among Buhari’s trusted loyalists in the CPC, many of whom secretly accuse the former head of state of yielding to ACN propaganda that without a merger, opposition parties would be unable to survive 2015.
Indications reveal that not only has the CPC and ACN leadership agreed on the sharing of party and political offices, but also that Buhari might have tacitly given indication of withdrawing from the 2015 race.
It is said that he and Tinubu have agreed to play the godfather role to the emerging party and would search for a younger person to lead the party in the elections.
However, other sources say Tinubu is planning to contest the presidential elections, and he would also consider being running mate should he lose the race for the ticket of the proposed party.
It is also discovered that all might not be well with the merger effort, contrary to what is being claimed publicly, as there are still personality clashes among key personalities which is causing the merger effort hitches.
Investigation shows that there are still divisions within the opposition parties on how best to go about the merger, as well as factions which are suspected of working actively for the ruling party.
It was also gathered that the merger has set Buhari and former Minister for Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai on collision course as the Buhari camp believed the minister is planning to run for the presidency even before Buhari had come to a decision regarding 2015.
Despite the fact that el-Rufai has repeatedly denied a presidential ambition, members of the pro-Buhari camp have accused him of planting structures and creating alliances towards a run for the presidency.
This in-fighting came to the open in Abuja on Wednesday when Buhari approved and inaugurated the CPC merger team in the absence of el-Rufai or any of his allies being included, contrary to the original plan which had el-Rufai as the leader.
Although no official reason was given for the exclusion of el-Rufai, source within the party have confirmed that traditional Buhari allies have deep-seated suspicion of new members of the party, especially those that joined from the PDP, among whom el-Rufai is a leading figure.
Meanwhile, it appears that the CPC has more than its internal crises to grapple with as indications show all is not well between General Buhari and his former party, the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP) over his merger plan.
It was learnt that the General has a preference for a merger with only the ACN which led to his direct statements on the relationship with the ACN.
ANPP leaders in Abuja said they were unhappy that the General cited only ACN as the merger partner, despite the fact the ANPP and APGA were also involved.
An ANPP leader said that long before the CPC inaugurated its negotiation committee, the ANPP had gone far in its merger plan, meeting with ACN leaders in Ibadan and APGA leaders in Enugu.
“We are even more involved in the merger than CPC. But the General is still holding grudge against the ANPP. He believes he was pushed out of the ANPP,” said an official at the ANPP secretariat.
Buhari is said to be particularly displeased with the selection of former Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekarau as the head of the ANPP negotiating team. Shekarau was fielded as the presidential candidate of the ANPP after Buhari’s exit, earning him a place in the General’s bad books.
Details of the sharing formula adopted by the opposition parties have also emerged, with sources confirming that the leaders have now adopted the contentious MOU. This is reported to be the focus of discussion at a meeting earlier this week in Abuja.
Insider sources disclosed that five key positions are for sharing at the federal level among the partners namely president, vice president, Party chairman and senate presidency.
Each of these key positions will be zoned to the merging parties which will now nominate their candidates. Similar approach is reportedly planned for the state level.