Nigeria’s former Head of State, and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 elections, retired General Muhammadu Buhari says the formation of the new opposition party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), is geared towards mobilising Nigerians for 2015.
General Buhari told journalists in Abuja that the focus of the new party is to have a strong opposition force in the next general elections.
The Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi also describes the merger as a rescue mission.
Nigeria’s four main opposition parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) – have announced their merger to challenge the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 election.
PDP Congratulates Opposition Party
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has congratulated the opposition parties for their successful merger and formation of a new political party, the All Progressive Congress (APC).
In a press statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, the PDP said as the biggest party in West Africa, it welcomes the development as an indication that the nation’s democracy has come of age and is deepening.
The statement added that with the formation of the APC, the PDP and indeed all Nigerians expect to see robust debates on the economy and other issues of governance.
“We congratulate the opposition for their successful merger and the formation of the All Progressive Congress. This is yet another victory to our democracy. It shows that our democracy has come of age. We hope that from now we will see robust debates on the economy and other issues of governance,” the party said.
The party charged the opposition to use the vehicle of their new party to challenge PDP elected and appointed officers to debates on government projects and achievements so that at the end of the day, Nigerians will benefit from the nation’s political developments.
The PDP, however, said as a ruling party that is committed to the stability and development of the country, it will not dwell on the shortcomings of the merger arrangement but will continue to focus on the welfare of the people.
Merger Will Not Affect PDP – Gov. Abdulfattah
In the same vein, the Kwara State governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed has stated that the new party poses no threat to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Speaking on a monthly programme called ‘Governor Explains’, Governor Ahmed noted that it is normal for political parties to form alliance, adding that the ruling party is not threatened but would rather become stronger as a result.
Governor Ahmed called for the formation of ideologically driven political parties to enhance the country’s political and democratic system.
Also reacting to the allegation by the opposition that he plans to waste the state’s resources to purchase aircrafts for the Aviation College, the Kwara State Governor explained that the Federal Government is to facilitate an export-import loan from China spanning 25 years for the purchase of the 15 aircraft, for the training of pilots to meet international standards.
He stressed that the government will not touch the loan as the Office of the Vice President will collaborate and take delivery of the aircrafts which will be delivered to the school.
The Niger State governor and member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Muazu Babangida Aliyu has also lauded the merger by opposition parties. He said that a strong opposition is what the nation needs at this time.
Opposition Lawmakers Back Merger, Warn PDP
However, opposition lawmakers in the House of Representatives have sounded a clear warning to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), saying the merger of opposition parties signal the emergence of a new dawn for the country.
After a short meeting, the lawmakers said they want to confirm their support for the merger to give Nigerians confidence that help was on the way.
The lawmakers also stated that they have been working together as a united opposition on several bills as seen in the emergence of speaker Aminu Tambuwal, against the wishes of the PDP and the executive.
They called on President Goodluck Jonathan to quickly sign the 2013 Budget into law, as allowing the parliament to override his veto is not a good way to foster good legislative executive relationship.