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2015: 12 governors endorse merger ‘to rescue Nigeria’

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Twelve governors have endorsed the merger plan “to rescue Nigeria”, it emerged yesterday.

Ten of them met at the Lagos House, Marina to seal their resolve for a new party, which, according to them, will save Nigeria by kicking out the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) are the major parties in the merger talks.

The surprise face at the meeting was Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, who was elected on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

Okorocha said the merger would prevent Nigeria from being turned to a one party state.

“The merger has become very necessary in order to save our democracy and the likelihood of turning Nigeria into a one-party state does not augur well for democracy. Therefore, I personally fully endorse this movement and this new merger, at least to rescue the nation, and we say we are on a rescue mission here and to make sure Nigeria gets better. The essence of this merger is to make Nigeria a better nation,” Okorocha said.

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola hosted the meeting, AC N governors – Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) were present at the meeting.

There were also Abdul-Aziz Yari (Zamfara), Kashim Shettima (Borno) and Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), who was represented by Senator Dejare Alkali – all ANPP governors – and Tanko al Makura (Nasarawa), who is of the CPC.

Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his Anambra counterpart, Peter Obi, telephone to endorse the talks. They had urgent state matters to attend to.

Fashola said after the meeting: “Well…scepticism is one thing; the commitment that we bring to the table will certainly override any scepticism. I am convinced that the full weight of 10 of us governors and many more who, unfortunately, could not make it today, is a much stronger force. The underlying reason is clearly how to make this country a better place. This is not the best that this country can have and we intend to deliver Nigeria’s best.”

Shettima, who read the communiqué of the meeting, said:

“As progressive and patriotic leaders of our people across party, religious and geo-political zones, we are extremely concerned about the state of the nation and we put our heads together in the interest of our people to deliberate on what can be done to rescue our country”.

“As governors, we fully endorse the merger initiatives already commenced by our various political parties and we will put our full weight behind these efforts. Nigeria is greater than all of us and we have a duty to make it work for our people and the future of our children yet unborn.”

Amosun said more progressive-minded Nigerians would come on board, once they see the sincerity of the merger plan.

“A lot of other people will come on board once they see our sincerity; that is why we are not taking this lightly. We are very determined and I am sure that with the support of all Nigerians, this merger will work.”

Yari is optimistic that the brains behind the merger will offer a better political option to what the nation has witnessed since the return to democracy.

“The objective is to fix Nigeria in the right perspective. It is a duty for all of us as leaders to drive our people right and we believe the PDP has done less, so we have the idea, the knowledge and we have the progressive ideas to move the country forward. So, if you say we intend to move the PDP out of power, yes; we are ready to do that.”

Fayemi said the merger is aimed at rescuing Nigeria from bad governance.

He said the representation from the various political parties and geo-political zones is a proof that the merger plan is aimed at nothing but rescuing the future of the country and its citizens.

The ANPP was rallying its members to back the plan yesterday.

Former Presidential candidate Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Chairman of the party’s National Rebuilding and Interparty Contact Committee, told party members at a meeting in Kaduna that the ANPP would not accept any pre condition for the merger.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that former Kano State Governor Shekarau and other ANPP leaders from the zone were in Kaduna to take a common stand on the merger.

He said the meeting was to aggregate the opinion of all stakeholders in the North west that would guide the party in taking a final stand on the issue, adding that the merger would not be an “Abuja round table affair”.

Shekarau said that the essence of the interparty contact committee was to receive the endorsement of party stakeholders and generate ideas that would strengthen the party.

“ANPP is presently undergoing transformation; if all opposition parties involved reach a successful conclusion, the ANPP with definitely be transformed.

“We would have had the interparty tour in all the states but because of the April deadline given by opposition parties, we have decided to have it in the four geo political zones, simultaneously today.

“After this, conclusion would be drawn on the way forward with all the opposition parties involved.”

Shekarau said that the ANPP would undertake a national survey to determine its strengths in each geo-political zone and on ways to fund its activities.

The former governor of Zamfara Senator Sani Yerima, dispelled the rumour that he had defected to the PDP.

He described the rumour as unfounded, saying: “I have been a pioneer member of ANPP since 1999 and I will remain in ANPP without doubt.”

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