Chief Tom Ikimi
• Constitution, manifesto to be ready in two weeks
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Aisha Wakaso in Minna
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has unfolded a seven-point agenda upon which it plans to hinge its manifesto ahead of the 2015 general election.
The yet-to-be registered opposition coalition party said the committees on constitution and manifesto would, after due deliberations on the draft proposals, submit their reports not later than two weeks.
THISDAY learnt that the constitution drafting committee would be headed by Chief James Ocholi, while the manifesto committee is to be chaired by a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who is now a stalwart of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
As part of their proposed action plan, APC chieftains said the party would diversify the country's economy and pursue the seven-point cardinal development initiative to provide qualitative education, uninterrupted power supply, full and gainful employment, affordable local fuel, healthcare and food.
The party said it would also take definite steps to eradicate corruption and insecurity.
While rolling out the terms of reference at the formal inauguration of three subcommittees on constitution, manifesto and INEC-Legal and constitutional compliance, the ACN Merger Committee Chairman, Chief Tom Ikimi, said APC's target was to design a manifesto that would be distinct from those of other parties and which would address the plight of ordinary Nigerians.
He explained that part of APC's intention is to create strong party organs and safeguards that would ensure party supremacy while reflecting social democratic philosophy and ideals.
“Apart from defining clearly the philosophical/ ideological content of APC clearly distinguishing it from the other party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), you are to fully reflect on the social, economic and political situation in the country on the plight of the generality of our people, urban and rural alike, youth and women,” he said.
Ikimi said the constitution committee had been mandated to prepare a robust and defendable constitution that would stand the test of time and serve to deepen the nation's democracy.
According to him, the subcommittee is to identify sustainable revenue sources for the party and design an elaborate membership recruitment system that would ensure a credible membership record nationwide.
Members of the subcommittee included: Chief Niyi Adebayo, Chief Segun Osoba, Dr. Chris Ngige, Chief John Oyegun, Senator J. Akpan Udoedehe, Abdullaziz Yari Abubakar, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Alhaji Gambo Magaji and former Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa.
Ikimi said the subcommittee on the party's manifesto should give special attention to seven core areas of education, eradication of corruption, uninterrupted power supply, full and gainful employment, affordable local fuel price, healthcare, mass housing and agriculture.
He added that the subcommittee should go beyond mere semantics and state in clear terms how the party intends to integrate the youths and women in national development process.
Members of the manifesto subcommittee included: Ogbeh, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Chief Achike Udenwa, Mr. Osita Okechukwu and Prof. Tam David-West.
With regards to the mandate of the Subcommittee on Legal Matters and Registration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ikimi said members of the committee were to examine all legal issues relating to the process of merger of political parties and provide guidelines on how parties in the merger talks could ensure full compliance with all relevant laws.
The subcommittee is to liaise with INEC and all other relevant agencies to ensure a smooth consummation of the merger.
Membership of the committee includes, Borno State Governor Kashim Ibrahim Shettima, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Admiral Lanre Amusu, Chief Solomon Edebiri, Ahmed Rufai Yerima, Mr. James Ocholi, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla and Chief Martin Agbaoso.
Meanwhile, Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has said that the formation of the APC will put the PDP on its toes and make the party to work hard towards winning the confidence of the people.
Aliyu said in Minna yesterday while inaugurating the reconstituted state executive council that he was happy with the merger because he was concerned with the growth of the country and the growth of democracy.
According to him, if there is no strong opposition, the PDP will take the people for granted, adding that when the PDP members know there is an alternative, they will adjust in the way they run the party.
“When one particular person is allowed to continue to do a particular thing, he will think he is everything but when he knows he has an option, he will adjust. I urge all PDP members to sit up and do well, if not, we will all be taken aback.
“We should not take the fact that we have been winning elections from 1999 till date for granted and if care is not taken, we will be surprised,” he said.
He challenged the PDP to go and work on how to compete for the minds, hearts and attention of the people and win back their confidence.
Six new commissioners, the Secretary to the State Government, the Head of Service, Chief of Staff and his deputy and six special advisers were sworn in by Justice Amina Wambai who administered the oath of office and oath of allegiance on the new members of the council.