This Day (Lagos)

13 February 2013

Nigeria: 2015 - Opposition Parties' Govs Mobilise for APC

Opposition party governors under the aegis of the Progressive Governors' Alliance (PGA) Tuesday resolved to commence the mobilisation of Nigerians towards the 2015 general election with the formation of a six-member committee to coordinate the sensitisation of Nigerians on the new merger arrangement.

The zonal contact committees which were formed at the end of the governors' meeting, have six state governors drawn from the six geopolitical zones as the coordinators.

The zonal heads of the mobilisation committee include, Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State (North-east), Nassarawa Governor Tanko Al-Makura (North-central), Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari (North-west).

Others are the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha (South-east), Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, (South-south) and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi (South-west).

Tuesday's meeting which was hosted by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, at the Lagos Lodge in Abuja, had 10 opposition party governors in attendance, including Ekiti, Oyo, Borno, Edo, Lagos, Osun, Imo, Ogun, Nasarawa State governors.

Addressing journalists at the end of the over three-hour meeting, the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, said the governors have expressed their support for the choice of APC as the name of the merger party.

He said the new party captured the spirit and vision of the opposition coalition's intention to redress the decay in the country.

"We are pleased with the name, All Progressives Congress adopted by the merger committee because it captures the spirit of cooperation and compromise that we espouse and it underscores the imperative of rescuing Nigeria from decay.

"The overwhelming public support that has greeted the announcement of the merger compels us to announce the establishment of the zonal contact and mobilisation committees headed across the six geopolitical zones by Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State (North-east), Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura (North-central), Zamfara Governor, Abdulaziz Yari (North-west), Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha (South-east), Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole (South-south), and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi (South-west)," he said.

Speaking on the task before the committee, Al-Makura said they would mobilise support for APC across political, social, religious, ethnic and professional interest groups in the country.

He urged Nigerians to understand and to see the new opposition coalition initiative as a credible process to deepen democracy and national renewal.

Fashola on his part said the issue of whether the merger will be a reality has been laid to rest with the formation of APC.

"The number of governors present at the meeting shows clearly our commitment to the merger, and I think in the history of country this is the first time it is happening. Last week we were talking about the possibility of forming a merger party, now it is a done deal," he said.

On his part, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, said his commitment to the opposition coalition was total, adding that he was ready to give it all in order that the new merger party realises its aim of becoming a potent alternative to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He said: "It better for small fish to have the ocean to swim in rather than having big fishes struggling in small rivers."

Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, explained that the issue of when the merging parties are going to fix their convention will be decided by the party organs through their respective contact committees.

According to him, the committees are already working out the details and it would not be long before the parties go public with their next move.

The Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, who despite his party's objection to the merger attended Tuesday's PGA meeting, said he represents the real APGA in the merger arrangement.

"Let me say emphatically that APGA is in the merger talk and we have our little challenges and we are just trying to sort out about who are the APGA-APGA and APGA PDP.

Okorocha said by the time the crisis in APGA must have been sorted out, it would be clear the direction the party is towing.

Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Tuesday reacted to the APC and the setting up of the group's contact committees, explaining that APC is a coalition of politicians driven by individual ambitions and not national unity.

He told THISDAY that the PDP is a national party where at least seven out of 10 Nigerians are members PDP.

According to Tukur, "PDP is a national party and is visible in every ward and polling units in the country.

"PDP is a national party that has the capacity to hold Nigeria together. Let the APC tell Nigerians their stand on issues of national unity. As I said earlier, Nigeria's unity is not negotiable. What is the APC stand on the unity of this country. What is the manifesto of APC and on issues that bind us together. Let the APC tell Nigerians what they stands for.

"Don't worry, this is not the first time Nigerians are hearing about merger. Let elections come and everyone will see the problems within them. They will be torn to rags because of ambitions.

"PDP is a united party, even when we disagree, we are able to reconcile our differences because of our belief in the unity of Nigeria as an indivisible entity. Go to the states and see what the PDP governors are doing. This is not mere propaganda."

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