Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: INEC Frustrated ACN/CPC 2010 Merger - Buhari

Former Military Head of State and Presidential Candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), has finally open up to the reason why the first proposed merger between his party and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the build up to Presidential elections in 2011 failed.

He said, "We tried the merger in 2010 with ACN which had the majority and clout in the South-West. We set up two committees that involved our lawyers, technocrats and those that matter which led to the emergence of the new party then and the logo which we presented to INEC but they said it was late."

The former President who was speaking at a live programme of a Kaduna based television station, Desmins Independent Television (DITV) monitored in Kaduna, said "unless the opposition parties come together as one, there is no way we can restructure Nigerian democracy."

"We have not reached the issue of who will get what or vie which position for now. The issue ahead of us now is to form a single party. There are lots of conditions set in the electoral act of 2010 with regards to forming a new party.

"So we have to be fully prepared by bringing our logo, flags and things like that. So we have not got to issue of contestants let us agree to merger as one then other issues can come later. So our party's motto is equity while PDP use power to the people," he said.

The former head of state noted that "Nigerians are good in cheating, especially when he has power. That is what government is doing. During election, thugs are sent to come and snatch ballot boxes or to scare people away and later fill the boxes with already thumped ballot papers.

"We believe that there will be no credible election without having a strong opposition political party that will challenge PDP.

"At present PDP has about 23 states, including the central government. The police, judiciary and all government workers all belong to them.

"All Nigerians know what happened with regards to PHCN at the National Assembly, that of Petroleum and the Pension Scam - these events should have made Nigerians to come out to say to PDP that you are responsible for this atrocities being committed in this country.

"If we did not get a strong party that will challenge them they will end up sharing all the country's wealth into private pockets. This is why we believe that a strong opposition party will do well in that regards. Politics is all about credible election and it is the only way out of our democracy which we all believe in.

"Our mission or manifesto is to see that the citizen's feel secure any where they are. They can move at any time of the day without being afraid of anything. This is what peace is all about.

Another thing is wealth creation whereby people particularly youths have something doing either in industries including those still in schools.

"The PDP has been tested for almost 13 years now. That is why we the opposition parties decided to come together to ensure that there is a credible election in this country. We are very much sure that with a credible election, we are going to defeat them so as to provide goodies to our people.

"We know by the time we succeed, bringing a government that will give priority to security and things that affect the people of the country and we have a credible election we will succeed in this country," said Buhari.

On the issue of his ambition to contest the next election, the General said, "many people especially from my party are really disturbed. The joyful thing is that I didn't say I quit politics. I will never quite politics as far as I live. I only said that I will not present myself to contest but my party members said they want me to remain in the race. But I said the new party will follow due process in selecting candidates' right from ward level to National level."

"Since I am in the new party as a member, if after consultations they included me among their aspirants I will not reject their offer. This is what I want people to know.

"I want people to be patient with what we are doing now. They should allow the merger to succeed first. I am sure the new party leaders will know those that are relevant and saleable to Nigerians electorates. I don't want people to be too much disturbed about my political ambition. I will only abide by what my supporters say.

"We must be patient with ourselves as a people. I believe in Nigeria now that we are about celebrating centenary after 100 years of being together. We must be patient with one another irrespective of tribes and religious affiliations.

"We believe by the time we have good government in place we will provide jobs and security to our people. We understand Nigeria; we understand the problem facing Nigeria. We believe with good government in place the abundance of wealth and human resources God blessed this country with will be put into use for the benefit of the people," Buhari further said.

The former President added that "some people painted me wrongly during the past election that I am an Islamic extremist. All these were lies attributed to me and those who did that shouldn't have done it because I was a soldier by profession."

"70 percent of soldiers in Nigeria when I was in the service were Christians and those under my Platoon never accused me of discriminating against them on religious and tribal basis," he noted.

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