by Stanley Azuakola
For the second time this month, governors of opposition controlled states, with the exception of Ondo and Anambra, met again on Tuesday. This time the meeting held in Abuja.
So many things have happened since they last met just about a year ago: The name of the new party has been announced, APGA has dissociated itself from the merger (even though Gov Okorocha of APGA had something to say about that in the meeting), and thousands of opinions, editorials, analysis, posts and tweets about the new party has been written.
The governors were more sure-footed during yesterday’s meeting. They even had a name – The Progressive Governors’ Alliance (PGA).
At the meeting, they announced the establishment of APC Zonal Contact & Mobilisation Committees in the six geo-political zones. Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Geidam is the head of the committee in the Northeast; Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari is the head of the committee in the Northwest; and Nasarawa Governor Tanko Al-mukara heads the committee in the North Central.
In the Southeast, the Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha would be in charge; Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole is in charge of the Southsouth zone mobilisation; while Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti leads the charge in the Southwest.
According to Gov. Almakura, the committee “would mobilise support for the party across political, social, religious, ethnic and professional interest groups.”
Then he listed the priority areas for the new party. “Given the desire of Nigerians for change, our party will undertake to facilitate radical social, economic and political reformation of the country. Our programme priorities shall be agriculture development, job creation, free education, affordable healthcare, infrastructural development, adequate power supply, eradication of poverty and corruption and rapid technological advancement and industrialisation.
“We shall pride ourselves as social democrats that are committed to organize our society based on the values of justice for all and individual freedom where everyone needs are fulfilled.”
Gov. Oshiomhole, who was not present the last time the governors met, endorsed the first meeting as well as yesterday’s. He said:
“I am a believer in democracy, and I believe that for Nigeria to move forward and flourish, you need to have alternative, viable platform. So, I am fully convinced about the need for this merger and I have found out that for all of us who want to deepen democracy, we have to agree that when the opposition is factionalised , we are not about to bring the kind of platform that we need.
“So, there is no question about my conviction and commitment and I believe that most Nigerians who accept that there is no alternative to democracy will agree that we do need to create a viable alternative platform, which this represents.”
On his part, the Imo State governor who has looked very isolated following the denial of involvement by prominent APGA members said: “Let me state emphatically that APGA is in the merger. And APGA is in the merger talk. And we have our little challenges and we are just trying to sort out who are the APGA- APGA and APGA-PDP. The APGA-APGA is already in the merger talk.
“And I also want to say emphatically that if CPC, which ought to have been a regional batch , ANPP and ACN have agreed to come together for a bigger mega party, APGA cannot be an exception. So, you must see this as the collective responsibility of all parties – to form a formidable party that can face the test of time , come 2015. So, at the end of merger meetings, you will see that APGA is fully in the merger.”
Gov. Fayemi spoke about the delay in announcing a logo.
He said: “Just as Governor Oshiomhole mentioned, our parties have a merger committee that is working on all those details. We are, of course, not outside of that process. We are very much in it. We are suggesting our own ideas to them and we are fully in the picture. Members are there who represent the collective interests of the governors at the party.
“And the duty of announcing when to have the national convention and the identity of the new party, the logo, the symbol, flag, the manifesto, office and the constitution depends on our party. Once the merger committee finishes the arrangement, they will be the ones to announce.
“ It will be wrong on our part as governors to be the news to announce that to you. This does not mean that we are not aware of the process. We are fully involved in it but we are not the ones saddled with the responsibility to make that announcement.”