If things go right, what its proponents call a mega party should be in place by March. This is part of efforts by opposition political parties to rally under one big umbrella to put things right in a country desperately in need of salvation.
It is a welcome idea because the PDP, even to some of its die-hard supporters, has failed to live to expectations. The party has failed to get it right since it came to power in 1999. What is more, the internal crises within the party, both at the national and state levels, are unhealthy to the continued survival of the nation. Pity is that, the last attempt by the main opposition to come together was painfully aborted. Nigerians watch with bated breath to see how if the latest attempt will work out.
While Nigerians wait, leaders of the main opposition parties have started giving their ideas of what they hope to put on the table during the merger talks. Similar issues aborted the last talks. But there is a difference this time around as those involved have not started hard-line position on individuals. The raging debate, the last time, mainly centred on which personality, between General Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Ahmad Bola Tinubu, was going to fly the flag. So far, the politicians must take the credit of sidetracking that needlessly contentious issue. Good luck, however, if the debate over General Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu is raised and allowed to truncate the current efforts. We shall soon return to this matter.
Even if the merger talk is not bogged down by the choice of a presidential candidate, the issues already being raised by the politicians are short-circuited fuses waiting to explode. Some leaders of the ACN, clearly the single main opposition party are going into the talks on the strength of numbers. The party controls five states and therefore would want other parties to dissolve into their party or it be given the presidential slot. This cannot be dismissed as idle talk. On its part, the CPC which controls one state is looking at the credibility and experience of its candidate, General Buhari. Outside self-serving reasons, even the bitterest critic of General Buhari will agree with Asiwaju Tinubu who once described General Buhari's life as an open book. Then some leaders of the ANPP, a party which has a major stake in the merger talks though not part of the original idea believes their voice must be heard being the oldest of the three major opposition parties. By introducing the chronological angle, ANPP leaders probably did not want to be seen to be competing with ACN over numbers as the ANPP controls two states less than the ACN. But they have succeeded in doing exactly the opposite of what they intended to do by throwing in the chronological angle. In any case, from being AD to AC to adopt its present name, the ACN is as old as the ANPP.
So, what is the fuss all about? Why are Nigerians desirous to see the back of a clueless administration? To salvage Nigeria, right? If salvaging Nigeria and pulling her away from the precipice are patriotic duties and engaging enough for Nigerians to dissipate energy on, one wonders whether Nigerians are on the same page with politicians. Else how does the issue of a flag-bearer abort a beautiful idea? Why should politicians put the real issue under the table to waste precious time on pedestrian issues? What, by the way, is in a name and how does it count in salvaging a bad situation. If names really matter, today's Nigeria should be the luckiest country in the world because cluelessness and ineptitude at the highest level of governance would have been banished since 2011. It is wrong to assume that what is being said is a thumb-down for political horse-trading. No! After all, horse-trading is one of the main ingredients of politics; it makes politics interesting and those who are good at the game will readily admit that politics will not be what it is without trading in horses. Problem though is that, more often than not politicians make politics a dirty and cumbersome game when they engage in horse-trading even when there are no horses.
Talking about saving Nigeria! Both General Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu are great Nigerian patriots. Both men enjoy some reasonable level of credibility and feature prominently on the short list of those who have done the unthinkable to ensure the continued survival of the fatherland. They are effective mobilizers of men and enjoy grassroots support. These and many other impeachable qualities have opened both men to bare faced lies and untenable allegations by unformed and clueless compatriots. Both men are also massively experienced politicians and administrators who owe no cupboards not to talk of storing skeletons in them. Hand over Nigeria to either of the two and he will clean what has now become Nigeria's Augean stable. It is in the light of this and the fact that Nigeria is in desperate need of a credible and far-sighted leader that many Nigerians believe both men need a prominent space on the political stage. This, for equal measure, is why people cringe from the idea that both men rest their ambitions. Considering the exigencies of the moment, therefore, can the unfolding effort to salvage Nigeria be meaningful with General Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu playing very prominent roles with neither of both men flying the presidential flag of the proposed mega-party? There is a long list of alternatives but, for now, can equally credible men like Lagos state action governor, Raji Fashola, former Lagos state governor, Buba Marwa and former thief-catcher, Nuhu Ribadu, fit the billing under the wise counsel and guidance of General Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu?
These are vital and legitimate questions which both men, in their characteristic humility, should break no sweat in answering and, considering the dispensability of man, should resolve. The questions are landmines which the opposition politicians will bring their best skills to navigate as they jaw-jaw.