The National Publicity Secretary of the Congress of Nigerian Political Parties, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, tells OZIOMA UBABUKOH that the PDP is jittery over the planned merger by the opposition
There is fear that the much awaited merger among the Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Change and All Nigeria Peoples Party, may hit the rocks due to controversies over the name and symbol of the new party. How will this be managed?
Let me start by saying that the merger among the three parties will close the door of uncertainty in Nigeria. Also, you cannot because of miscarriage shut the door against future pregnancy.
But one of the political parties in the merger talks is maintaining that it cannot change its name and symbol, as a precondition for the merger…
As a member of the Congress for Progressive Change’s Merger Committee, one can confidently state clearly that the resolve of member parties to close the door of uncertainty unwittingly created by the ineptitude and corruption of Peoples Democratic Party leadership at the federal, state and local governments in the last 13 years cannot be dampened by simple issues like name, logo or symbol.
The resolve might be strong as you said, but mundane issues may becloud the merger…
Kindly allow the tripartite committee to first meet formally to deliberate and conclude on the merger before listening to the propaganda of the PDP leadership who are scared stiff by the commitment of members to the merger. In fact, the tripartite committee on merger has not been officially convened and one then wonders at which meeting the issue of name and symbol was discussed. Please do not allow the propaganda of the PDP and their wish to rule for 60 years without performance to bog you down.
Are you saying that the merger committee has not met?
To the best of my knowledge, there has not been a formal meeting of the committee. There have been informal meetings of progressive patriots who are worried about the dangerous slide of Nigeria into a failed state. There have also been the informal meetings of the leadership of the political parties, which gave birth to the merger committees in the first place.
PDP has severally maintained that they are not afraid of the merger because it will fail. What are the chances that other factors like who becomes the presidential candidate will not kill the merger?
As I said earlier, there exists the passion, the urge and the commitment to salvage our dear country from sliding to a failed state and to vote out the PDP- a party with an uncanny philosophy of ‘Food is Ready’ and motto of ‘Share the Money’ anchored on a nebulous economic policy of government having no business in business. To vote out PDP and its stranglehold on Nigerians is the credo of the merger. We need regime change.
People are worried that the merger seems to be concerned only with take-over of power while the manifestos of all the parties are the same
The regime change we seek is not just change of baton and business as usual, far from it. We sincerely believe that government has to invest our unprecedented oil revenue in critical infrastructure, social services and creation of jobs. It will be a great disservice to Nigerians for us coming to power to wait for godot, the Chinese, and other magicians PDP used. This does not mean that we cannot partner the private sector or the Chinese, no, we need them, but our sole purpose is to drive the development of critical infrastructure and the private sector will follow.
PDP has elaborate network across the country, how can the merger over-run such apparatus?
Yes the PDP has a large network across the country, and that’s why we are coming together – ACN South, CPC and ANPP North. It is more than a match in terms of nationwide network. Don’t forget that a faction of All Progressive Grand Alliance and other progressive forces are waiting for the baby to be delivered. The granite coalition will be largest party in Nigeria, if not Africa.
How will the new party match the PDP war chest?
For us, elections in liberal democracy are benched on the referendum of the incumbent, not necessarily on money politics. There is no sane society or electorate that reward a non-performing government. Nobody can tell us that the people of Bayelsa State will vote for President Goodluck Jonathan, when the only thing he can point at is a federal university, not the refinery he promised them.
Will former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, be your presidential candidate while former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, will be his running mate?
The Buhari I know is more interested in building a granite coalition of patriotic forces capable of presenting an alternative platform, a people-oriented, disciplined and broad-based machine which will vote out the PDP and salvage the country. His personal interest is not paramount in the move to vote out the PDP, same is applicable to Tinubu.