Opposition governors who met in Lagos on February 5 and unanimously endorsed a merger plan ahead of 2015 will meet today in Maiduguri in continuation of their series of meetings towards actualising the plan. The governors and their parties have already agreed to register a new political party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), under which platform they plan to dislodge the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Today’s meeting is expected to discuss developments after the Lagos meeting, Daily Trust learnt. Governor of Zamfara State, Abdul’aziz Yari (ANPP), yesterday arrived in Maiduguri in company of some of his commissioners and advisers. The advanced parties of some of the governors also arrived. Those expected at the meeting include the five governors from the Action Congress of Nigeria-controlled states viz; Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Abiola Ajumobi (Oyo) and Rauf Aregbesola (Osun).
The sixth ACN governor, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State who was absent at the Lagos meeting is expected at the Maiduguri meeting today. Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha (APGA); Nasarawa State Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura (CPC); Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari (ANPP); Yobe State governor Ibrahim Gaidam (ANPP) and host governor Kashim Shettima (ANPP) will also be part of the meeting.
Daily Trust observed that preparations for the meeting had gone far at the government house in Maiduguri where the meeting is expected to hold. Secretary to the Borno State government Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jidda is chairing the committee set up by Governor Kashim Shettima to ensure the success of the meeting. A member of the committee who spoke to our correspondent last night said: “The essence of the meeting of the governors in Maiduguri is to concretize the solid foundation the opposition governors have laid.
The ultimate goal of the APC is dislodge the PDP by 2015 and entrench a virile democracy”. After a four-hour closed door meeting at the Lagos House, Marina on February 5, host governor, Fashola, said the meeting was “essentially about the concerns on Nigeria and the way forward,” adding that key decisions were taken at the end of the meeting. He dismissed insinuations that the merger plans would die before arrival, saying the drive behind it would produce some of the best hands the nation could boast of.
Reading the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, Governor Shettima said the governors reviewed the situation in the country and resolved to endorse the merger initiative with a primary intention to fix Nigeria. He said, “This must be done as progressive and patriotic leaders of our people across party, religious and geopolitical zones. “We are concerned about the state of the nation and in the interest of our people we deliberated on what can be done to rescue our country. “As governors, we fully endorse the merger initiatives already commenced by our various political parties. Nigeria is greater than all of us and we have a duty to make it work for our people and the future.”
Governor Yari said the brains behind the merger would offer a better political option to what the nation had witnessed since her return to democracy in 1999. He said, “The objective is to fix Nigeria in the right perspective. Go and ask many people outside here whether they are happy since 1999 till date. It is a duty for all of us as leaders to drive our people right and we believe the PDP has done less.
“We have the knowledge and progressive idea to move the country forward, so if you say that we intend to move the PDP out of power, yes we are ready to do that.” Governor Okorocha said the move would prevent any chance by the government at the centre to turn the nation to a one-party state.