The National Leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Major General Muhammadu Buhari, has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of being in an unholy alliance with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
Speaking at a stakeholders’ interactive meeting with elected representatives of the party in Abuja yesterday, Buhari said Nigerians are tired of bad governance and corruption and that the only way to put an end to the malaise is for the opposition parties to join forces to oust PDP from power.
The former military head of state said the country is presently in the grip of a bad government whose only intention is to hang on to power by all means.
He further accused PDP of desperation to hold on to power by hook or crook, adding that the ruling party may have every reason to ignore any political alliance or merger because it already has INEC, the police and the judiciary on its side.
“The country is in the grip of a bad government whose only purpose is to retain power by hook or crook; preferably by crook. PDP does not need a merger or alliance; they are already merged and are in alliance with the police, INEC and judiciary, with access to NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) and pension funds.
“The country is tired of PDP, we are tired of oppression, corruption and impunity,” he said.
Buhari, who expressed satisfaction with the progress of the merger talks so far, urged party members not to allow personal and petty interests to becloud them from the broader national interest.
He said the leadership of CPC has resolved and is determined this time around to consummate the partnership.
Buhari said the CPC Board of Trustees (BoT) met last Saturday and decided to form eight committees to fast track the merger. He singled out the Registration Committee as one of the most important because it is through its efforts that the party will gain more members.
“Our party is at the doorsteps of a historic opportunity to alter the political landscape of Nigeria. Our move to link and merge with ACN and subsequently with other parties, which have broadly similar philosophies, namely good governance, is on the verge of success.
“When we sit in negotiating sessions our strength will be in our numbers. We should negotiate hard but always have the ultimate goal in mind.
Personal and ethnic interests should always take second place to broader national interests,” he said.
While directing his attention to the elected members of state and the National Assembly, Buhari urged them to be proud of being the genuinely elected representatives of their people.
“You did not use the police to intimidate voters; you did not use INEC staff to inflate your votes. You won in spite of all attempts by government to rig you out.
“How many in the PDP can say that; very, very few. You can therefore hold your heads high, regard yourselves as genuine representatives of constituents. You are true sons of democracy; your position is even more important than party officials and party leaders because you are the face of CPC,” he said.
Buhari said every member of CPC should regard himself or herself as being among the team that would work towards dislodging the PDP.
He also spoke of the importance of registering more members into the party, adding that this would help strengthen the party’s position in the merger process.
The National Chairman of CPC, Prince Tony Momoh, told the party faithful that turned up in their numbers to be ready to embrace change in the affairs of the party as a result of the merger initiative.
Speaking about the post-election protests within the party, Momoh said the party had given enough room for dialogue and reconciliation with aggrieved members and that now was the time for the party to move ahead.
Governor of Nassarawa State, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, who briefed the gathering regarding the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors’ Forum and its activities, said the forum has since impacted positively on the achievement of the goals of the merger.
He said the APC has so far exhibited uncommon patriotism, unity and zeal in supporting the opposition coalition movement.
Al-Makura said the opposition governors have resolved to work relentlessly not only to ensure the success of the opposition merger but also to work towards an APC victory at the polls in 2015.
He said the APC governors having met twice, are set to reconvene again at a venue to be disclosed later to make further inputs in the constitution and manifesto of the new party.
One key member of the CPC repositioning team who was conspicuously absent from the stakeholders’ meeting was a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai.
Although, el-Rufai was billed to make a presentation on a party funding strategy and its constraints for the opposition, he was seen at the opening of the event.
Among the CPC leaders who participated in the one-day retreat included former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Masari, Sule Hamam, Brig. General Buba Marwa (rtd), Alhaji Ishaku Ibrahim, Senator Solomon Ewuga, serving CPC senators and members of the House of Representatives.