Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: 2015 Elections - Buhari Visits Tinubu

Former head of state and leader of the opposition Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) General Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday met with the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in Lagos.

The opposition leaders were scheduled to have an all-night meeting at the residence of the ACN leader, it was gathered.

This is the first time after the breakdown of merger talks in April 2011 that Buhari would be visiting Tinubu.

Though details of the meeting were sketchy as at press time, sources close to both General Buhari and Tinubu informed LEADERSHIP that the meeting was in line with the stance of the opposition to commence early preparation towards the 2015 elections if they are to defeat the ruling PDP.

"You may recall that both Buhari and Tinubu have repeatedly called on the opposition to commence early preparation with a view to forming a strong alliance that will wrest power from the PDP," a source stated.

"As you know, our past experience has shown that late commencement of talks of any sort, be it merger or alliance, adversely hampered the actualisation of a workable alliance among the opposition.

"Therefore it is in line with this agenda and the need to actualise the formation of a formidable alliance that would defeat the PDP that the opposition leaders have started contacts among themselves."

Tinubu had, in an interview with LEADERSHIP, stated that the failure of previous attempts by opposition parties in Nigeria to form a working alliance, especially during the 2011 general elections, was due to late commencement of talks among them.

The ACN leader remarked that, in spite of past difficulties, the opposition was now poised to wrest power from the PDP in 2015.

"The principal reason why we did not succeed in the past was the lack of spirit of compromise," Tinubu said.

Before the 2011 elections, the ACN and the CPC failed to seal a merger deal which many believed could have been a game changer.

Tinubu also revealed that experience had taught the opposition to start early. "We will unite to the shame of the ruling party," he said.

Also, recently, General Buhari disclosed that his relationship with Tinubu started during an effort by the opposition to come together under the aegis of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) with a view to bringing the opposition players under one banner.

"I have worked with him closely on the NDM, which was an amalgam of opposition leaders who tried to move forward the process we initiated before the 2007 elections to bring the major opposition players under one banner ahead 2011 elections," Buhari said.

The former head of state noted that although the NDM did not succeed in its stated objective, "I strongly believe that it opened a window of opportunity of cooperation for opposition forces which must never be shut if our people are to get out of the evil grip of those who do not mean well for Nigeria".

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