The national leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), has hinged his fate in 2015 to the proposed merger of his party with the Action Congress of Nigeria. Only after the merger talks are concluded and if he is chosen to become the party's candidate would he weigh the options before making his decision known, he said while fielding questions from reporters at the inauguration of the CPC's merger committee in Abuja.
"The new party will decide my fate in the 2015 general elections. It will be up to the party after being merged, whether I shall be given the ticket and then it will be left for me to accept or not," Buhari said.
He also revealed that the proposed merger by opposition parties may become real by June this year, all things being equal.
Buhari's comments came just as it emerged that the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, may not be part of the proposed merger; only the CPC and ACN are in the merger talks.
Speaking while inaugurating the 18-member merger committee of the CPC at the party's national secretariat in Abuja, Buhari charged the members to negotiate the best deal for Nigeria.
"The issue before you now and as you go into your negotiations is fundamentally one - that you will negotiate the best deal for Nigeria. It is essentially a matter of give and take. There is nothing sacrosanct about any of the issues you will be called to thrash out; but, of course, there is a bottom line, the outlines of which have been given in the committee's terms of reference.
"Your task is national. Petty personal interest should not stand in the way of a great opportunity to build and run a better Nigeria, which will happen once CPC and ACN come together," Buhari said.
Asked why he only referred to the ACN in his speech, Buhari said both the ACN and the CPC had already gone far in their initial merger talks and said ANPP may be negotiated with later.
Speaking to newsmen, however, a chieftain of the CPC, Chief Osita Okechukwu, said though the merger was open to other parties, the truth remained that General Buhari was sceptical of the ANPP as quite a lot of PDP loyalists were still in the party and therefore needed to be purged before real merger talks would be opened to it.
The CPC's merger committee is headed by former deputy governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Garba Gadi.
Gadi will be joined by Professor Tam David-West, Governor Tanko Al Makura, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, Senator Hadi Sirikaz, Chief Okoi Obono Obla and Owelle Oscar Udoji.
Others in the committee are Engr. Ife Oyedele, Osita Okechukwu, Chief Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Mrs Lucy Ajayi, Air Cdre Bernard Banfa (rtd), Engr. B. D. Lawal.
Dr Haruna Yerima, Mr James Ocholi (SAN), Alhaji. Adebayo Shittu, Prof Buba Bajoga and Dr. Osagie Ehanire.