Vanguard (Lagos)

30 December 2012

Nigeria: Merger Talks Tear CPC Apart

The proposed merger of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and two other political parties is brewing tension in the camp of the former and is threatening to stall activities pursuant to accomplishing the merger objective - the two other parties in the merger talks are the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.

This is because a section of the leadership of CPC is not happy with the choice of the former deputy governor of Bauchi State, Garuba Ghadi, as Chairman of the CPC Negotiating Team to the Joint Negotiating Committee on the merger.

Indeed, Ghadi's choice by General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), national leader and presidential candidate of the party, is not going down well with the likes of Alhaji Buba Galadima, Secretary General of the party; Mustapha Saliu Bello, Deputy National Chairman; Sule Yahaya Hamma (Dr), General Buhari's Advisor; and Murtala Usman Aliyu.

The quartet, Sunday Vanguard learnt, held a meeting on Wednesday in Abuja where their concerns were tabled.

At the meeting, each lamented the developments in the party regarding the proposed merger with the consensus that the choice of Ghadi would not do the CPC any good because he was not particularly suitable.

Interestingly, it was also observed that "of all those who started on this political journey with Buhari since 2002, only Hamma and Galadima" remain in the leadership cadre of the presidential candidate's associates.

In fact, Galadima, who is one of the hardliners in the CPC, lamented that the Bola Tinubu-led ACN that have since hijacked the proposed merger succeeded in blackmailing Buhari into believing that without a merger, he can not become president of Nigeria.

At some point during the meeting, Galadima himself was blamed for the current turn of events in the CPC.

One of the participants insisted that Galadima's fishing expenditure for membership brought in all manner of characters "who have now turned their backs on him".

On the merger talks, it was disclosed at the meeting that "the planned political merger has rather and, unfortunately, brought them more crisis in the party and that the CPC is consequently divided".

Sunday Vanguard discovered that whereas Buhari and Prince Tony Momoh are on one side of the divide, the likes of Galadima, Bello, and Hamma are on the other side.

Galadima reportedly told the gathering that the planned Joint Negotiating Committee meetings of the three concerned opposition political parties would not immediately be on the issue of political merger as is being envisaged in some quarters.

According to him, the three parties would rather be discussing and concerned with the underlisted issues:

*Political power structure and sharing;

*Harmonization of the constitution and the manifesto of the parties involved; and

*Programmes and development plans while the concerned political parties would be in power.

While these preliminary arrangements are on, a new political party would be registered, after which CPC, ACN and the ANPP would eventually abandon their respective parties to join the newly registered party that would emerge, after which leaders and followers would align.

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