Revelations have emerged that the leaders of some merging opposition political parties have decided that they should field former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari as their presidential candidate in 2015.
According to inside sources, the top leaders of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP) held meetings on the 30th April and 1st May, during which they concluded remained the most sellable presidential hopeful within the two parties.
Buhari had ran for the Presidency twice on the ticket of the ANPP, in 2003 and 2007, which he both lost. However, he had disagreements with the party, chiefly when the party refused to challenge the much-criticized 2007 elections and had joined late President’s Umaru Yar’adua’s Government of National Unity (GNU). He then started the CPC, on which he ran again in 2011, albeit unsuccessfully.
The CPC and the ANPP are merging with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and a faction of the All Progressives’ Grand Alliance to form the All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to challenge the 14-year hold of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party at the centre. When the merger is completed, the APC would be in control of 11 states, 31 out of 109 Senate seats and 113 out of 360 House of Representative seats.
However, sources say that the feud between Buhari and former Kano State governor and the ANPP presidential candidate in the 2011 elections, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau remained a challenge to the presidential challenge of the opposition.
Despite that, it is generally agreed that Buhari remained the strongest possible candidate, a fact admitted by even Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the ACN who recognized the fact that Buhari would give the opposition the popularity they sorely needed.
The sources also said that the leaders were wary of importing any aspirant from the PDP, as it would then imply that the new party was incapable of raising a candidate internally and such a candidate would become the leader of the party should he win the election.
“While commenting on the choice of presidential candidate for the planned opposition mega party, ahead of 2015, many of the leaders concluded that Buhari remains the preferred choice, and that Senator Bola Tinubu himself had contended that it is only Buhari that can give the opposition political parties the popularity they so much desire,” the source said.
He, however, stated that the leaders were concerned that Buhari’s feud with Shekarau could affect his candidacy.
“I can assure you, however, that many of the leaders are concerned and the leaders of the three merging parties have agreed to meet before the planned national convention of the CPC and ANPP to resolve the feud between the two Northern leaders,” he said.
Another cause of worry for the leaders is the unresolved feud within the CPC.
“We are worried that the CPC crisis is unending as the party remains factionalised. While the ANPP has its own problems, the situation in the CPC is bad. Senator Rufai Hanga has refused to be reined in yet,” a source said.
According to another source, despite the fact that Senator Tinubu had recently contacted the Hanga-led faction of the CPC, the situation has remained stagnant.
“I can confirm to you that Senator Tinubu recently met Senator Hanga, but I cannot confirm we have found solution, even though Tinubu had met with Buhari afterwards,” the source said.