Governor Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State on Thursday described the ongoing merger talks among Nigeria’s frontline opposition parties as normal, noting that alignments and realignments were simple political intercourse expected in every emerging democracy.
Governor Aliyu, who spoke in Abuja at the opening of a one day Pre-Implementation workshop for the 2012 Conditional Grant Scheme of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), maintained that such arrangements were necessary for the growth and development of our democracy.
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Aliyu who is also the Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) however said the merger of opposition parties in the country cannot defeat the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The Niger State helmsman said while he agreed no democracy can grow without a credible opposition, the PDP has become a national party that is rooted across the country and it would be difficult for the merger of the opposition to defeat the party even if all opposition parties were to come together.
"I agree that no democracy grows without a credible opposition, but let me say that the PDP is a national party that cuts across all sections of this country and has touched the lives of the people positively. So, it will be difficult for these four or even all the opposition parties to defeat the PDP at the polls in 2015," Aliyu said.
He said the current PDP internal crisis would strengthen the party, adding that the seeming disagreement among the party stalwarts was healthy for democracy, emphasizing that the party would come out stronger.
He said the PDP has done well for Nigeria in the last 14 years, especially in the area of projects and programmes that affect the life of the grassroots man.
"For instance," he said, "the MDGs office since inception has embarked on a number of critical projects in the agriculture, education and water sectors, which has led to the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger."