Sharp disagreement among the four parties merging into All Progressives Congress, APC, on various contending issues, on Monday, forced the hatching association to set up a 14-member committee to resolve the differences.
Membership of the committee was drawn from the Joint Inter-party Merger Committee, JIMC, which produced five members as well as the sub-committees, which produced three members.
The three members from the subcommittees are Audu Ogbeh, (Manifesto/Motto/Slogan/Message sub-committee); Segun Osoba (Constitution sub-committee); and James Ocholi, SAN (Harmonisation sub-committee).
Two persons were also brought in to represent three of the four parties in the merger talks.
The parties are the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; Congress for Progressive Change, CPC; All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
It was also gathered that the interest of the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP; and the Advanced Congress of Democrats, ACD; was also taken into consideration while constituting the committee.
Among the areas of disagreement which reportedly led to the setting up of the committee are the composition and powers of the National Working Committee, NWC; National Executive Committee, NEC; and the Board of Trustees, BoT.
Some of the attendees of the Monday meeting, which held at the Abuja home of ACN chieftain, Tom Ikimi, reportedly argued for stronger powers to be given to the convention of the proposed party above its NEC.
Another issue that split the meeting was that of the composition of the Interim Management Committee (leadership) of the association at the federal, state and local government level.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported exclusively two weeks ago that the association was considering two modalities in picking its officers, particularly, the protem officials.
One of them is that the choice of the interim officials and later the substantive ones should be based on the strength of each party at the National Assembly while the other is that it should be based on the number of votes each party of the merging parties garnered during the 2011 presidential and governorship elections.
According to a source at the meeting, the 14-member committee was mandated to harmonise all issues and report back on Friday. However, the meeting continued on Tuesday.
All the attendees at Monday’s meeting are expected to return to the Friday meeting to adopt common positions on all issues after which the parties will proceed to their respective conventions where their members will ratify them.
Although, the parties were originally given up till April 30 to conclude their conventions, there are indications that they will not be able to meet the deadline.
Only the ACN has fixed a date for its convention. Its spokesman, Lai Mohammed, said the event will hold on April 18 in Lagos, adding that it has already notified INEC about it.
The National Publicity Secretary of the CPC, Rotimi Fashakin, said that the party would hold its convention on May 11.
The ANPP, on its part, is expected to fix the date for its convention at its NEC meeting slated for Thursday this week, according to Emma Eneukwu, its spokesman.
However, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ANPP, Ali Modu Sheriff, told journalists after a meeting of the Board in Abuja on Tuesday that the party’s NEC will take final decision on its plan to merge with other parties on Thursday.
“We deliberated on the reports of the committee on rebuilding of our party and that of the merger committee. We are satisfied with what they have been doing. We are also satisfied with what our executives and leaders of the party across the country are doing,” Mr. Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State, said.
“Our NEC will be meeting on Thursday in Abuja and the stand of the party on the merger will be made available to members of the party and Nigerians.”
However, it is not clear if the APGA faction in the merger deal will hold a separate convention different from the one held in Awka, last Monday. The faction, to which the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha belongs, boycotted the Awka event. Mr. Okorocha led some members of APGA to the merger talks.