by Emmanuel Oladesu, Group Political Editor
The gathering was historic. The agenda was in the national interest. There was no hypocritical commitment. How to salvage Nigeria was the uniting factor when 10 governors met in Lagos to give their backing to the proposed merger of like-minded opposition political parties yesterday.
Their resolutions created panic in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which had boasted that it would loom large on the trembling polity for the next 60 years. Observers contend that the shape of the new platform that will challenge the PDP is emerging. It is broad based and representative of the six geo-political zones. Therefore, it will have a national outlook. Judging by the intellectual and political bent of its leaders, the proposed platform will also be a mega party of ideas that will draw strength from its welfarist programmes and ideological superiority.
If there is no sabotage, the country’s political structure may also change, ahead of the critical 2015 polls. The alliance, accord, fusion or merger may restore two-party system in the country and stem the tide of indiscriminate defections. With the success of the on-going merger talks , other mushroom parties which are not in any secret alliance with the PDP may join the fold.
It is a signal that progressives are preparing for a rescue mission. Ordinarily, this threat to the PDP should ginger President Goodluck Jonathan to gird his loins and perform. But, it is doubtful if his administration can make any difference because the party that gave birth to the government lacks a programme of action.
For the leaders driving the merger, it is a challenging period. Indeed, time is running out.The proposal is beautiful on paper, but the implementation may be laced with hurdles. The opposition parties are only united by similarity of ideas, vision and mission, but they are not parties of equal strength. They need to make extreme sacrifice. The masses they are fighting for also expect them to be less inflexible and more condescending. Moles will definitely be set against them, but they can be easily identifiable. Statesmen in the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and other groups are expected to jettison personal interests in favour of the lager, collective interest of the group, in particular and Nigeria, in general. Politicians should realise that, if their personal agenda or interest crumbles, they would still be accommodated within the broader interest.
The key to success is this: the alliance leaders should learn from the lessons of previous failed attempts at evolving a formidable opposition bloc capable of wresting power from their conservative rivals at the centre.