The Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, has said that its founder, National Leader and former presidential candidate, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari has no intentions of dropping his 2015 presidential bid.
“There is no truth in the statement that Buhari would step down. He will make himself available for the 2015 election if he is accepted by the new arrangement. If he is not accepted, as a democrat, he will not force himself on the party,” the party spokesman, Rotimi Fashakin said in a chat with our correspondent.
Fashakin said the two-time All Nigeria Peoples’ Party, ANPP presidential candidate was electable and the CPC wanted him to contest the 2015 poll.
The CPC, ANPP, Action Congress of Nigeria and the All Progressives Grand Alliance are currently in a merger arrangement that will culminate in a new party named the All Progressives Congress.
The merging parties say that the new party would provide them with a strong platform on which to confront the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party that has held the centre since the start of the Fourth Republic in 1999.
Fashakin said that Buhari’s high electoral value would make him acceptable by the APC.
He said, “Many people do not understand the average northerner. The majority of these people are in the rural areas. These are the people that Gen Buhari is popular with. The general belief is that Gen Buhari is adjudged as a leader.
“There are not many of these northern elements that have the kind of popularity that Gen Buhari has. The electoral value of Gen Buhari is never in doubt. It is a fact. He has created a niche for himself.”
Fashakin explained that the CPC wanted the septuagenarian former head of state to contest the 2015 polls because they had confidence in his ability to bring transparent leadership in the country.
“The truth of the matter is that Buhari is a man with amazing and remarkable character. He is a dependable leader in terms of service delivery,” he said.
The new party has also been drawing comments from other politicians, such as the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur who told journalists in Abuja on Tuesday that ambition will tear the APC to rags.
“Don’t worry, this is not the first time Nigerians would hear about merger. Let elections come and everyone will see the problems within them. They will be torn to rags because of ambitions.
“PDP is a united party. Even when we disagree, we are able to reconcile our differences because of our belief in the unity of Nigeria as an indivisible entity.”
Also, the House of Representatives member representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency of Anambra State on the platform of APGA, Victor Ogene has said that the new party does not guarantee a president from the South-East. He also said that APGA was not dead, and some politicians were wrong to think that APC would ensure the enthronement of a president of Igbo extraction.
Speaking in response to the expressed interest of his fellow party member, Senator Annie Okonkwo, he said the leadership of the party should not be confused with its national chairmanship, as the absence of one does not distract from the powers and functions of the other.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, therefore, Governor Peter Obi remains the national leader of APGA.
Meanwhile, the governors from the four parties fusing into APC met on Tuesday in Abuja and rolled out the programmes for their new party.
The governor of Nassarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura who spoke on behalf of the ten governors, said the governors were delighted at the APC name adopted by the merging parties.
He said, “Our programme priorities shall be agricultural development, job creation, free education, affordable healthcare, infrastructural development, adequate water supply, eradication of poverty and corruption and rapid technological advancement and industrialization.
“We shall pride ourselves as social democrats that are committed to organize our society based on the values of justice for all and individual freedom where everyone’s basic needs are fulfilled.”
He called on Nigerians to understand the governors’ call and view the formation of the new party as a credible process to deepen democracy and national renewal.
The governor also disclosed that the overwhelming support that greeted the announcement of the merger had made the governors to establish Zonal Contact and Mobilization Committees across the six geo-political zones.
The committees are headed by Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Geidam (North-East); Al-Makura (North-Central); Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari (North-West); Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha (South-East); Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomole (South-South); and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi (South-West).
Other governors who attended the meeting which was held at the Lagos Governors’ Lodge in Abuja were Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.