Will the Merger Work?


Although there are still skepticisms about the workability of the recently announced merger of opposition political parties, proponents of the association insist that it is the best way to rid the nation of the Peoples’ Democratic Party

|  By Augustine Adah  |  Mar. 4, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

MIXED reactions have continued to trail the recent merger of some opposition parties namely the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC,   the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP and a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA,  which  gave birth to All Progressive Alliance, APC. While some persons condemned the new merger because of some inherent lapses in its formation, others described it as the best thing for the  nation’s democracy.

Attahiru Bafarawa
Attahiru Bafarawa

One of the opponents of the merger is Joseph Ambakederimo, national chairman, South-South Elements Progressive Union, SSEPU, who dismissed the merger as a ruse. Ambakederimo, who is also the executive director, Nigeria Rebirth Initiative, stated that the merger would not stand the test of time because of the greed of Nigerian politicians.

“Merger is not new in Nigerian politics. We have seen some alliances in the past that worked but there is a difference between alliance and merger. Political parties have merged before and we saw the fallout. They have just formed All Progressives Congress, APC, I don’t see how far they can go, ” he said.

According to him, greed which has become the bane of our political firmament would jeorpadise the current move by opposition parties to take over power from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. The Ijaw born social activist, picked hole in the way the merger arrangement was unveiled to the people of the country. “They have not come out with the manifesto or ideology of the party yet. We haven’t seen the logo and we know that before 2015, there will be a crack,” he said.  He also criticised the opposition parties in Nigeria for lacking focus and going to sleep after losing elections.

Similarly, Ayodeji, a social critic and human rights advocate, described the coming together of some of the political parties as nothing more than an attempt to further their political nest and not to give the people the needed good governance. “The coming together of the  opposition parties made up of the treasury- looting political elite into the proposed APC, otherwise known as association of political conmen/women, reminds me of a period in the 1920s when five organised crime families, Cosa Nostra/Maffia of New York, came together and established what they called ‘The Commission’, in order to better regulate and coordinate their joint criminal enterprise, reduce in-fighting amongst themselves, and present a more united and stronger front against the authorities and the Maffia families based in other cities of the US and those based back home in Sicily,”. Ajayeoba said.

Ayodeji Ajayeoba
Ayodeji Ajayeoba

Kayode Ajulo, executive director, Egalitarian Mission, also shared the same view that the caliber of people behind the current merger showed that personal interest would truncate the arrangement. Even among its own fold, the fear that the new merger may not succeed is emerging. Attahiru Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto State, and member of the merger committee representing the ANPP, said that the merger would work if only personal interests would be buried by the leaders involved. He insisted that for the new merger to work, internal democracy must be observed in the process.

But Tunde Oseni, a political scientist, does not believe that the new merger would be thwarted by personal greed and interests. He said that opposition parties in Nigeria had learnt their lessons and would not mishandle the present opportunity. Oseni said the coming together of the opposition parties was long overdue. “The emergence of the APC is healthy for a robust political setting in Nigeria,” he said. On the failure of the merger group to unveil their manifesto and logo of the new party on the day it was announced to the world, the political scientist stated that it was the right thing to do. However, he explained that a committee set up to handle that would soon complete its assignment. He also said that even though the manifesto was not released, what should be expected from the new party is not different from what opposition parties have been clamouring for. Among other things, they have been agitating for restructuring and true federalism, which the ruling party has been shying away from.

Tam David-West, a professor of virology and member of the merger committee representing the CPC, explained that what the opposition parties had agreed on was how the new party would usher in true democracy for the country. He described what the opposition parties have been doing as political party integration and not a merger and that it should not be expected to fail like the previous attempts.

The professor argued: “When people write and say that political alliance or merger has never worked in our political history, it is true. But the difference is that when you say political merger, it means that party A, B, C merge or form  an alliance but party A, B, C still exists. They only agree to work together. But when you say integration, A, B, C would form another party which is called party X, and they would never exist again. When there is a merger or an alliance,  you  will still have A, B,C on the ballot papers, but secretly, all of them have agreed to work together. But when they integrate into another party called party X, it means on the ballot paper, only party X would appear and not party A,B, and C. That is the difference. The former minister of petroleum also said that what necessitated the merger was the desire to save the country from the maladministration that the nation has suffered under the PDP, and that it was time to move the country forward.

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