AMIDST a wave of enthusiasm, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, yesterday, resolved to collapse into the proposed mega opposition political party – All Progressive Congress, APC.
The resolution adopted at the national convention of the country’s leading opposition party in Lagos came as major opposition politicians from within and outside the outgoing party, denounced activities of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDPThe convention in which 4,671 delegates were accredited was witnessed by thousands of other party members and prominent figures in the three other parties forming the APC- ACN, ANPP and CPC. The Onikan Stadium venue of the convention in central Lagos, was packed to capacity with a strong contingent of security men manning all entrances to the stadium and the nearby State House annex that normally houses President Goodluck Jonathan and his family while in Lagos.
The convention was witnessed by the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; the National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande; three of the six governors belonging to the party, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos; Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State. Governor Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, whose faction of the party is inclined to the alliance was also present.
The deputy governors of Lagos and Osun states respectively, Mrs Adejoke Orelope Adefulire and Mrs Grace Laoye Tomori; former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Segun Osoba; former governor of Imo State, Chief Achike Udenwa; former governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and former governor of Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu were also present as well as several members of the National Assembly.
From left: Aremo Osoba, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) Chief Akande, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Malla Nuhu Ribadu, Senator Lawal Shuaibu and others ACN, members at the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Convention held at Onikan Stadium, Lagos Island. on 18/04/2013. Photo: Bunmi Azeez
The National Chairmen of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC and the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, Prince Tony Momoh and Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, respectively, the two other parties involved in the merger plans were also present as well as the National Leader of the CPC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).
ACN formally adopts APC manifesto
Besides formally adopting the merger with the ANPP and CPC to form the APC, the ACN convention also resolved to adopt the manifesto and other insignia of the proposed party. Party enthusiasts were assured, yesterday, that the major symbol of the ACN, the broom which has been the hallmark of ACN campaigns across the country and especially in its Southwest base would also be the symbol of the new APC.
The party also yesterday ratified the expulsion of Alhaji Mohammed Shubair from Kaduna State for anti-party activities.
Opening the convention, yesterday, the National Secretary of the party and chairman of the convention planning committee, Senator Lawali Shuaibu hailed the occasion as a significant moment for the country’s political process, affirming that the party was at the point of no return.
“Never in the history of governance have opposition parties agreed to drop their egos for the purpose of salvaging the nation,” Senator Shuaibu said as he noted a history of failed mergers and alliances by opposition parties in the past.
Following him, the National Chairman of the party, Akande gave his last speech in a convention of the ACN.
There’s urgent need for change —Akande
While assuring that the merger was not meant to relegate the positions of its leaders and members, Akande assured that the merger was for the good of the country even as he asserted that the ACN, as a party, had succeeded above its means.
He said: “We must not entertain any weariness or surrender to sentiments or blackmail in this enterprise, mindful that merger is strange, new and unique in Nigeria and that the law did not envisage the ambush presently being placed on our ways. But we shall overcome. This merger has come to stay!
“The leadership of our great party after deep deliberations and consultations and in view of the current political reality is convinced that a merger is the way to go. We have threaded this path before. We are wiser, smarter and more prepared to make the sacrifices that this process requires for the sake of our country.
“This ACN Convention is not designed to relegate the position of its leaders and members. It is to make you a trail blazer, it is to make you the innovator, it is to make you the pioneer, it is to make you the ground breaker in a noble venture. This is the Convention of a great party, which is at the threshold of making history. I am pleased to declare this Convention open.”
He did not leave without hitting at the PDP for its perceived failures.
“In over 13 years that the PDP has been in power, not only has it failed to deliver on its promises, it has infected all institutions of state with its moral infirmity, aversion to the rule of law and entrenched monumental corruption never seen in the history of this country. Today, our country has become a society where the safety of life and property is at its lowest ebb and poverty level at its highest.
“Nigerians are waiting patiently but with bated breath, to see the successful outcome of the merger talks. We must never let them down. We must rise above pettiness and personal ambitions and put the greater interest of this nation over any other thing, for this is the only guarantee, to salvaging Nigeria from the precipice.”
A storm is brewing—Tinubu
Following him, Tinubu urged Nigerians to be part of history just as he berated the ruling administration for its failures especially in providing security for the citizenry.
His words: “History is asking something bold of us, those who hear must respond to its call because history is impatient. If we tarry or waste time, if we fail to act as the situation requires, history will still move forward and write its verdict and that verdict will be unanswerable by us.
“We have come to the place that things must change or we shall sink. God forbid, we will not sink. For the nation to continue as if it constitutes nothing, calls for an invitation for doom. Such a fate, we shall not accept.”
Speaking further, the former governor of Lagos State said: “The way Nigeria is governed must change and change dramatically and our logo will be ‘change’. Nigeria must be a secured nation that helps the weaker countries. Instead, today, we are besieged on all sides. Boko Haram falls on our people in the North, MEND and militancy is in the South, kidnapping and robberies surround the nation as if we are now a training ground for criminal misconduct.
“That is unacceptable, that is no leadership, that is not the way to do things. We must not accept mediocrity. Nigeria is rich in natural resources, Nigeria should set the agenda for the African continent. Today, opposite is the case.”
He warned that a political storm is brewing and that it would blow away those who believe in rigging.
“This convention portends the coming of a great political change, a storm is brewing, don’t be frightened by this storm. The storm for us is a positive storm and a positive wind. This storm will blow away those who believe in rigging.”
Following Tinubu, the National Legal Adviser of the party, Dr. Muiz Banire proceeded to coordinate the votes on merger and adoption of a new name for the party.
The motion for the ACN to collapse into the APC was moved by the National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Inua Kari from Gombe State, while Mrs. Tonia Anwam another delegate from Ebonyi State seconded the motion.
Citing relevant sections of the party’s constitution, Kari moved for the “Approval of merger with other political parties and groups” and “Approval of new name, All Progressives Congress with acronym APC (and) Approval of new constitution, manifesto, flag, logo, slogan etc.”
After the overwhelming ratification of the motion to collapse into a new party, Banire, moved another motion for the adoption of the new name, logo, flag, constitution and slogan for the new party and his motion was seconded by Kenneth Ubani from Rivers State.
Both votes were overwhelmingly carried by acclamation
JD:Well,it appears the final move towards the merging of the political parties to form the APC has started,albeit on a faulty note.the sheer lack of planning that characterized the initial attempt and the crying of wolf over nothing,really has shown that politicians in Nigeria might jolly well be the same meaning it is not yet uhuru for us as a country.for instance the politicization of the presidents visit to Ogun,which by sheer providence coincided with the presidents visit leaves much to be desired.the trivia that the ACN got into over the matter shows that those directing affairs at the top level of the self assumed political parties might not have the maturity and savvy to lead a country in the 21st century.ancient action group political tactics don’t work that way anywore