There is tension in the yet-to-be registered main merger opposition party, All Progressive Congress, over distribution of offices.
The APC is a product of a merger between the Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Change, All Nigeria Peoples Party and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and it has an avowed mission to dislodge the PDP from power in 2015.
Already, sources within the APC on Sunday confided in our correspondents that there had been disagreements over the sharing of party offices among the stakeholders from the different parties.
Investigations showed that the CPC and the ANPP disagreed over the post of the National Secretary, which the former insisted must be given to it.
A source within the APC confided in one of our correspondents that, “the ANPP, specifically Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, wanted the position of the protem National Secretary but was schemed out.
“The CPC and the ACN conspired. The CPC insisted on the position of secretary or nothing. Those in the ANPP are not excited about this.
“There is also a proposal that the CPC in addition to producing the secretary will get the presidential slot while the ACN gets the chairmanship of the party in addition to producing the Vice-Presidential candidate.”
Shekarau was the ANPP presidential candidate in the 2011 elections and he has been one of the major forces behind the merger agreement.
The ACN, CPC and ANPP have already scheduled a meeting for this week to resolve alleged disagreements over sharing of offices.
National Publicity Secretary of the ANPP, Chief Emma Eneukwu, however said he was unaware of any such disagreement.
According to him, there is nothing to suggest that the ANPP has any disagreement with the arrangement made by the leadership of the APC.
He said, “I am not aware of this. I know of the arrangement that we have with regards to the constitution of the Interim Management Committee. If there is any disagreement, my party has not told me about it.
“But I know that there is an agreement that each of the three parties will produce one member each in the IMC.
“There are only three positions: Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, so there is no way one party can take two positions out of three.”
He noted that the desperation of those who are scared of the rising profile of the APC could be responsible for the spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation.
Speaking in the same vein, National Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, accused the PDP and some unnamed “jittery forces” of peddling the rumour about the disagreement within the ranks of the opposition on the sharing of offices.
He said there was no iota of truth in the rumour making the rounds that the ranks of the APC had been polarised because of this.
“That is the handiwork of the ruling party and those jittery because of the coming together of the opposition political parties under the banner of APC,” Mohammed said.
Asked about when the yet-to-be registered party would submit its application to the Independent National Electoral Commission for registration, he said that would be done “soon.”
The National Publicity Secretary of the CPC, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, said the main business before the proposed party at the moment was the issue of registration.
According to him, it is when the party becomes duly registered that the issue of the distribution of offices will come to play.
“It is when the issue of registration is settled that we can discuss other issues. Even at that, we recognise the fact that no sacrifice is too much to remove this indignity that the (President Goodluck) Jonathan administration represents,” he said in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday.
He also took time off to explain that the national leadership of the party was doing everything within its power to ensure that no loose end was left untied.
Fahakin said, “What we have done is that the national leadership of our party reasoned that, look, since we don’t have a template, even INEC doesn’t have a template to hand to us; you know the concept of merger is a novelty in this country.
“That is why everybody is looking at the Constitution and the Electoral Act, we are trying our best to ensure we get things right.
“For now, the National Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer of each of the merging political parties making a total of nine, have been saddled with the responsibility of writing to INEC.”
He explained that only political parties who had held their conventions and had agreed to the merger at this level were entitled to write INEC.
The ACN, ANPP and CPC are expected to write INEC, signifying their intension to merge this week.
In a related development, there are strong indications that APGA may not field candidates in the next set of elections in 2015.
This is due to the protracted crisis rocking the party. Informed sources within the factionalised party confided in The PUNCH that APGA’s internal crisis is not likely to end soon.
Chief Victor Umeh leads one faction of the party while Chief Maxi Okwu leads the other.
A leading member of the party and Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, has approached the leadership of the APC signalling his intension to drag APGA into the merger. [Punch]