THE much-touted merger plans by the opposition parties in the country to give the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) a tough time was yesterday given a boost with the presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, assuring Nigerians that the merger talks would succeed.
Shekarau, a former governor of Kano State gave the assurance at the South-West meeting of the National Rebuilding, Inter-party Committee on Merger Plans of the party yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
According to the Chairman of the committee, the three leading opposition parties - Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the ANPP have gone half way in their agreements in view of the high level of commitment they have been putting in to ensure the merger plans come to fruition.
Shekarau said that the merger move was not just about dislodging the PDP because of its name, but to be able to come up with a party that will offer good governance which the PDP allegedly lacks.
"This idea is not about merging to dislodge the PDP but to provide good governance. We just don't want to dislodge the PDP; it is about its policies and programmes. For instance, Obasanjo introduced the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) and forced states to adopt it. But Yar'Adua, his successor, abandoned it and started seven-point Agenda. Again, Jonathan, who is also a PDP member jettisoned that and introduced the Transformation Agenda. The merger is about dislodging people who do not understand Nigeria, people who are inconsistent and people who run disjointed programmes and policies.
"So, it is a new party, programmes and a new identity. It is a serious matter. We will agree on a common focus", Shekarau said.
Disclosing that the three leading opposition parties were at an advanced stage in their discussions, Shekarau stressed that the merger would work.
According to him, what has been happening on the political scene since independence have been alliances, explaining that this is a true merger that will see current parties fuse into a new party that will be a solid platform to win the election.