Major-General Muhammadu Buhari
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) yesterday offered to support the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) leader, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, should he emerge the candidate of a grand coalition being planned by opposition parties ahead of the 2015 polls.
It said backing Buhari was necessary for the success of the alliance to dislodge the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the next general election.
Buhari, who has been ambivalent as to whether he would contest for the presidency again after three unsuccessful attempts, had dumped the ANPP on whose platform he vied for the contest in his two previous bids.
After parting ways with his old party, he formed the CPC in 2010 and thereafter emerged its presidential candidate for the 2011 race.
ANPP National Chairman, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, told THISDAY in an exclusive interview that all those desirous of a change in the leadership of the country should rally round the opposition coalition to make it happen.
He said the party would be ready to support Buhari and other credible Nigerians as long as it is the consensus of the coalition parties.
“Who becomes the presidential candidate would come at the appropriate time and it is not what anyone will want to rush into. As for General Buhari, he is a man that has earned the respect of most Nigerians and we in ANPP will not hesitate to support his candidacy if he emerges as the choice of the coalition parties,” he said.
Onu's assertion is an affirmation of a similar position by the ANPP National Secretary, Alhaji Tijani Musa Tumsa, that the party would gladly yield its platform to Buhari in the next presidential election, if he so wishes.
Onu, however, said victory for the opposition coalition in the 2015 polls could only come under a free and fair electoral process.
He regretted that one major hindrance to the efforts of the party to win elections in the country has been the absence of free and fair elections.
He said without a transparent and credible electoral process, the efforts and aspirations of the opposition parties and indeed Nigerians who desire a change in leadership would not materialise.
“We are very interested in the issue of having a free and fair election, because if there is no free and fair election, it will be difficult for opposition parties to win elections and to form a government.
“Those who are in government will continue to act in a way that will prevent others from testing the will of the people.
“When the people elected through a free and fair process are in the office, then they would do well and will always remember that it is the people that put them there. They will be ready to use the public office for the common good,” he added.
The ANPP chairman stressed that the absence of free and fair elections had prevented the will of the people from manifesting through the elections and by extension has robbed the country of good governance.
On the state of affairs in the country, especially during its 52nd independence anniversary, Onu said though some remarkable achievements had been recorded, the last 13 years of the PDP-controlled Federal Government has witnessed low rate of development, while the poor implementation of national budgets has become a tradition of the ruling party.