The National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said the 2015 general election will be a contest between the progressives as represented by the opposition coalition party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dominated by conservative elements.
Onu's prediction came just as the chairman of the ANPP merger committee and former Kano State Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, said four more political parties have indicated interest to join the APC.
Speaking while receiving the interim progress report of the Re-building and Interparty Contact Committee yesterday at the party's headquarters in Abuja, Onu said the APC would clearly show that there is a difference between the ruling party and the progressive coalition party.
He said by the time the manifesto and logo of APC is released, it would be clear the difference between the new party and the ruling party, PDP, which is as clear as daylight and darkness.
"When the 2015 contest comes it will be between the conservatives and the progressives and when the people make their views known, it will be clear which of the two they prefer," he said.
He said ANPP was very committed to ensuring that all major opposition parties come together to work.
According to him, although some people have said that the merger may not succeed like past ones, what we all know is that what we are doing presently had never been done before.
Onu said this is the first time a merger efforts would start from the time of the election and this is the first time parties which have many things in common are coming together to challenge the party in power.
He said the merging parties had identical ideological leanings and faulted the view of some critics who have said the merger will not succeed because it is a marriage of strange bed fellows.
Onu assured Nigerians that once the APC is registered, the party would not disappoint them, adding that the party will protect the interest of the ordinary man.
"We will put the interest of ordinary Nigerians in the affairs of governance because this is what has been causing problem in the country's governance," he said.
Re-iterating the points made by Onu, Senator Bola Tinubu, who spoke in Kaduna, during a consultation visit to former Head of State and chieftain of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Gen Muhammad Buhari, affirmed that the APC had come to stay.
Tinubu who spoke with journalists shortly after a closed-door meeting with Buhari in Kaduna said he was optimistic that the merger would work.
"I am here just to consult with the general on the new merger the APC, that has come to be.
"The merger will definitely work out this time around, I have been very consistent about it, it is only through strong determination and commitment and the sacrifice of the people, it is not only about us or an individual. You have a lot of speculations going on this time around, they have even chosen our presidential candidate for us and all of that."
According to him, "some people are already scared of the unity of purpose that is coming up in the country," adding that the opposition parties are committed to democratic principles and values for the country and to rescue the nation
He stressed that the merger is not about any individual, but about the national interest.
"It is not about Buhari because if he wants money from the government, he will always get it, but he stands for the truth and the masses and the redemption of our democratic value, justice and progress, and all these are the things that we need to harness," he added.
Shekarau, who presented the progress report to the NWC said beyond the four parties that being mentioned in the merger, "the committee is in receipt of four other parties that have written to express their interest to be part of the process."
He explained that the ANPP committee was set up on October 6 to carry out the assignment of ensuring the rebuilding of the party structure at the state and local council offices.
The committee is also to ensure the mobilisation of funds to be able to reposition the party structures. Another essence of the tour is to generate and recruit as many more members of the party as possible and to enter into discussion with other parties which are willing to merge with the ANPP or even individuals who are to join forces with the party to create a viable alternative to the ruling party.
He said the committee was broken up into three sub-committees, one headed by the Governor of Zamfara State. The subcommittees were to reach out to all former members of the party who are willing to come back. They are to also attract new members into the party.
He said the subcommittee has been able to develop membership bank of prominent Nigerians. Senator Modu Sherrif was given the responsibility of seeing to the rebuilding of the party structures. The third sub-committee headed by Shekarau was mandated to interact and negotiate with other opposition parties and civil groups on possible alignment of forces for the 2015 election.
In the area of rebuilding the party, he said, the committee had had to rely on an already compiled report by the Board of Trustees (BoT) with which Shekarau disclosed that new sub-committee were to commence a zonal tour of all the six geo-political zones to sensitise the members of the party on the assignment of the committee.