Both ACN governors say it is dangerous not to register the fledgling political association.
The Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, and his Ogun State counterpart, Ibikunle Amosun, have warned the Federal Government and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of the danger in denying All Progressives Congress, APC, registration.
APC is the product of the merger talks among four opposition political parties – Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; Congress for Progressive Change, CPC; and a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
Delivering goodwill messages at the mid-term convention of the Congress for Progressive change, CPC, in Abuja on Saturday, Messrs Fashola and Amosun, both of the ACN, said it is in the best interest of the government and the commission to register the association, which is yet to apply for registration.
Mr. Fashola, recounted that in the history of Nigeria, there were many unconsummated merger of parties, but that APC is the one that has run the longest and therefore its quest for registration should not be scuttled.
The governor argued that a situation where only the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, would be in future electoral contest, would not help Nigerians.
“Some people called me to talk about INEC and the registration of APC. But I say it clearly not only must INEC act above board, it must be seen by all Nigerians to have done so.
“Let me say by way of advice – if our opponents want to scuttle this (APC) arrangement, it is not in their best interest to scatter this plan. For me the choice between the PDP and the PDP is not a choice for Nigerians.
“All of us who are here may not realize it that in the history of this country there have been many unconsummated mergers. This is the one that has run the longest as far as I know.
“So, for every member of INEC, from the Chairman to the most junior officer, this is a moment of history also for you. You (INEC officials) have a chance to write your name in history and say that during your tenure, the first political merger in the history of this country was consummated. History will reserve a golden place for you if you do so.
“I am aware that unfortunately some of the tragic ironies of our nation is that when people of authority control history they turn them back. Most of us who are here today are consulting history by our presence. We are showing that we will not turn our back.
“After we have delivered this merger it will be left for the people of Nigeria to choose which party, which ideology, which programme best express the vehicle for the realization of the aspiration. Whatever they choose then our job would have been done.”
Mr. Fashola criticised the PDP-led Federal Government over the national budget, saying “today we do not know whether we are operating the 2012 Budget or the 2013 Budget and therefore the goal post for power has started to change; the goal post for security is changing.
“The reason is simple: every serious public officer knows that the budget is the article of faith; without a budget nothing will happen. Therefore, Ladies and gentlemen, I congratulate you for your role in history,” he said.
He congratulated the CPC for rising up to be a critical arm of this platform for change.
On his part, Mr. Amosun asked the government and INEC not to prevent the registration of APC, noting that allowing competition determines the quality of a leadership.
“I want to tell the Federal Government or INEC not to prevent this merger from happening,” the Ogun Governor said. “It is the quality of leadership that will allow opposition and others to come and gather together and showcase what they have.
“At the appropriate time PDP will show what they have, APC will show their manifesto, they will show their programme. Let the good people of Nigeria determine the fate of all parties.
“We do not want backdoor interference. INEC should not listen to any interference from any quarter.”
Mr. Amosun congratulated the members of CPC “for making history today,” adding “This is another step towards the merger of all the parties into APC. With our determination, we are leaving nobody in doubt as to our genuine intention to make things work in Nigeria.”
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