Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd)
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Ibrahim Shuaibu
The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has barred its National Leader, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), all members of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) and National Executive Committee (NEC) from being part of its delegation to negotiate with other opposition political parties towards forming an alliance ahead of the 2015 general election.
The party’s decision is coming just as the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) National Chairman, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, unfolded plans by the planned opposition alliance to adopt zoning for the 2015 elections.
A source said at the weekend that the decision to exclude Buhari and others from the merger negotiation was part of the resolutions reached during the last NEC and BoT meetings of the CPC.
THISDAY gathered that the CPC’s decision was taken in order to avoid a conflict of interest and to allow other party members play active roles in the merger negotiations.
“We have resolved that none of BoT or NEC members will be a member of our merger committee to prevent a conflict of interest. We felt that since the committee’s final report on the merger negotiations would be tabled for discussion and approval by the two bodies, their membership of the committee will not be fair,” the source said.
Based on the latest decision of the party, both Buhari, the National Chairman of the party, Prince Tony Momoh, and other national officers of the party will no longer be part of the negotiating team to actualise the opposition coalition.
The source said the meeting of the BoT also agreed on modalities for reconstituting the merger committee, which will comprise two members from each of the six geopolitical zones.
According to the source, representation of the party at the ongoing opposition merger talks have led to intrigues, leadership squabbles and is almost threatening the exercise.
THISDAY learnt that the sudden emergence of a former Minister of Federal Capital Territory ( FCT), Nasiru el- Rufai, to lead the initiatives for the talks did not go down well with some party members regarded as conservatives.
The aggrieved members, it was further learnt, opposed el-Rufai’s role, insisting that the mandate given the former minister as chairman of CPC Renewal Committee does not extend to negotiating with other opposition parties.
The conservatives, led by the party’s National Secretary, Alhaji Buba Galadima, were said to have preferred a former Buhari Presidential Campaign Director, Sule Hamman, to preside over the merger committee.
Following the heated debate at the party’s NEC meeting over whose interest is best protected in the merger talks, it was resolved that none of the present leadership of the party would be nominated as members of the merger committee to give room for a fair and unbiased appraisal of the final report of the committee when it is ready.
However, as CPC considers the composition of its negotiating committee, Onu, at the weekend, expressed optimism that the merger talks among the opposition parties would succeed this time around.
While speaking on the merger talks among opposition parties during an audience phone-in programme anchored by the Federal Radio Corporation over the weekend, he also said the parties might consider an alliance if merger did not work.
The planned alliance, Onu added, would incorporate zoning into the procedure to field candidates in the 2015 elections.
‘‘My party believes in coming together with other opposition parties. Efforts are on in talks among the parties. It has never happened before that three years before the general election, the opposition in the country are talking about merging. We believe because of this, and God’s help, we will succeed. I want to assure Nigerians that this time the merger will work with the help of the Almighty.
‘‘Our goal is a merger, in the case it is not actualised, we shall form an alliance. We are not against any political party or individual. We are only working so that the country should play a major role in the world as it is naturally endowed to be respected. In short, the nation is our first consideration in all that we do.
“The ANPP believes in zoning. We uphold it; it is in our constitution. At the right time, there will be zoning for the offices in which we will field candidates in the 2015 elections,” he said.
Onu said zoning would be a key aspect in the constitution of the coalition.
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the CPC in Katsina State, Alhaji Mamman Abubakar Dan-Musa, has also expressed the confidence that the merger talks with other parties, especially the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), will herald a new political phase in the history of Nigeria.
According to him, “with the proposed merger with the ACN, Nigerians will witness a new phase of politics in the next dispensation.”
Dan Musa, who spoke with journalists at the weekend, said the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had remained in power since 1999 due to lack of credible alternative.
“With the proposed merger of opposition parties, no rigging or electoral fraud will henceforth go unchallenged,” he said.
26TH NOV 2012...
Ebonyi Suspends AG, Two Others for Improper Dressing
CAPTION: Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ben Igwenyi (photo file)
The Ebonyi State Government at the weekend suspended the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ben Igwenyi, and two other commissioners for improper dressing.
This was contained in a statement made available to journalists by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Onyekachi Eni.
The statement said the other commissioners were Mr Hyacinth Ikpo, Culture and Tourism and Chukwuma Nwandugo, Works and Transport.
According to the statement signed by Governor Martins Elechi, the suspended commissioners are to proceed on three months suspension for improper dressing to a state banquet.
The state banquet was in honour of the Society for Gynaecologists of Nigeria.
The statement also said the affected commissioners had been barred from attending any official government function within the period of their suspension.
It said their mode of dressing should conform to the attitudinal change policy of the administration.
The statement said the commissioners wore jean trousers and T-shirts to the banquet.
“The state will not tolerate any form of indecent dressing from any of its officials; the attitudinal change policy must be imbibed by everybody.
“There is no ‘sacred cow’ in this administration,” the statement quoted Elechi as saying.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Elechi had been critical about the mode of dressing by members of the State Executive Council.