Former Yobe State Governor and member of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim has said that the deadline for merger plans by opposition parties to form a new mega party ahead of the 2015 elections is March 2013.
Bukar made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja while speaking on his Mo Ibrahim African Exemplary Grassroots Leadership Quality in Africa Award on "Poverty Alleviation and Desertification Programme" being the only Nigerian among 10 other winners across the continent.
While saying the ANPP, ACN and CPC are leading the talks, he also said APGA and Labour Party have also shown interest.
"The ACN has appointed their team, ANPP has appointed and I am part of the committee, we have met several times here, we have toured North Central, where we met our supporters in Lafia, we went to address them and they all cheered us over what we are doing, we were in Enugu South/East Nigeria for a whole day, we are going to go to visit other zones.From all indication people want a totally new party, Governor Rochas's APGA is also talking to us, we are hoping part of Labour will join us and we will form a new party.
"Our party gave us the deadline of March 2013 to ensure the merger is concluded. I cannot predict the outcome for now, but what appear more popular is get a new party, there is sufficient time to do that. After all, all this groups were together before, it was through fragmentation that we became what we are today, so it is not difficult for us to come together again, whatever reason we had then to break, we can now rewind everything and find our ways back as one family, we can come back together again," Bukar said.
When asked on who the presidential candidate would be after the merger, he said, "In politics, who get what is always important, but the most important thing for now us now is not who gets what but for us to get together, merge, get a new arrangement, under which anybody can look for whatever he wants, or on the other hand we can say if the whole group that there should be zoning, we would go with the zoning formula that will be on a permanent basis but the most important thing to pursue now is the merger.
"Since we are all now in opposition and we have been calling ourselves members of the progressives, we are going to join hands with some others groups that are on the other side, the conservatives to confront the PDP. I feel it is healthy for our democracy, to have at least two strong political parties. I am convinced that this experiment will work this time around.
"Remember, everyone involved in this merger plan have gone through it in the past and have learnt lessons from the failed attempts and have also known how their views and ideas have suffered all these years. I believe the ideologies of the opposition groups are quite different from that of the PDP which is more of conservatism; whereas the ideology of members of the opposition parties is progressive in nature."