ACN Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed
•Set up subcommittees on constitution, manifesto
•DPP shows interest
By Chuks Okocha, Muhammad Bello and Onyebuchi Ezigbo
A meeting of the merger committees of the opposition parties Wednesday failed to agree on the logo to adopt for their newly formed coalition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
At the meeting of the merger committees of the four participating parties — Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) — the parties were undecided on whether to include APGA in the process.
The meeting also resolved to establish three sub-committees with a mandate to conclude actions on a common constitution and manifesto within two weeks.
While the dispute over the participation of APGA lingers, the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) announced its intention to be part of the coalition formed with the aim of wresting power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 elections.
While calling for caution, the party leaders noted that the symbol of APGA should not be reflected in the logo of APC given the denials from the national executive of the party that APGA was not a party to the merger deal.
The merger committees, however, agreed to request the national leadership of the participating parties to hold special conventions to ratify each party’s decision to dissolve into APC.
The subcommittees are on constitution, manifesto and strategy.
The strategy subcommittee is to handle the registration of APC with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The subcommittee on publicity is made up of the publicity secretaries of the four parties involved in the merger.
Addressing journalists at the close of their deliberations Wednesday in Abuja, the ACN Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, said the merger committees had agreed to form subcommittees on the various critical aspects of the union to hasten the merger process.
He said the meeting decided that all issues relating to information management and dissemination would be centrally handled by the joint subcommittee on publicity to ensure uniform response.
THISDAY gathered that the meeting gave the two subcommittees on constitution and manifesto two weeks to submit their report, which will in turn be forwarded to each of the parties for consideration and ratification.
Also, each of the parties is to hold a special convention in the next one month on the receipt of the draft constitution and manifesto in order to formally authenticate the merger.
The coalition parties will as part of the process of the merger jointly approach INEC to submit their certificates of registration as a mark of the resolve and commitment to forge a united front.
It was learnt also that the subcommittee on party registration will work out the details for actualising the smooth registration of APC as well as understudy the electoral laws to ensure strictly compliance with the legal process.
Among party leaders who attended Wednesday’s meeting were Governors of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha.
The DPP said Wednesday that it had set up a negotiating committee to ensure its participation in the merger process.
Addressing journalists in Abuja after the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, the DPP National Chairman, Major General Bashir S. Magashi (rtd.), said the party, having analysed the present political development in the country, has resolved to close ranks with the other opposition parties to rescue Nigeria from the PDP.
He said the party decided to set up a merger committee to immediately enter into negotiations with other opposition parties and leaders of the APC.
Magashi, who spoke alongside other party leaders such as General Jeremiah Useni and a chieftain of the party in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru, said the committee was expected to report back to the party’s NEC within 21 days.