Former presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and ex-Head of State, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), believes he stands a better chance in 2015 general elections. He is also of the view that a merger of more parties could sack the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Aso Rock in 2015. He offered reasons the CPC lost woefully in 2011 general elections.
Buhari had been meeting with National Leader, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and ex-Lagos State governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the ACN governors on a possible merger with the party. Both CPC and ACN leaders met on June 7 in Kaduna with Buhari and Tinubu at the head of the parley to fine-tune strategies for a possible fusion. They held similar talks in Lagos earlier. But Buhari said that though the merger is capable of sacking the ruling PDP, his worry was election malpractices. He said the CPC failed woefully in the 2011 general elections because it did not have enough time to get its act together. The party was registered about six months to the polls, he said. The party won only one state governorship election.
The former military Head of State said the CPC is liasing with other political parties other than ACN. He disclosed this in Lafia, Nasarawa State yesterday when he visited Governor Umar Al-Makura of CPC at the Presidential Lodge before he attended the wedding of former Works Minister Hassan Lawal. According to him, “Nigerians believe and we believe that the best way to dislodge PDP is for the opposition to come together. And certainly, we are talking, not only with ACN, but with other political parties.”
But Buhari who asked rhetorically, “But, the bottom-line is, can we get free and fair elections?” This is the constraint of CPC; free and fair elections. If we have free and fair elections (in 2015)“I think we will arrive home dry”, he said he attributed another reason why the CPC lost the 2011 elections to the registration of the party just about six months before the elections, adding that the process of getting it registered preparatory to the polls may have taken its toll on the party.
According to him, “between the time CPC was registered to the time the Electoral Act 2010 became effective to the general elections it was only five to six months” when the party had “to do its registration, congress, convention, primaries and go into general elections; that was the CPC’s constraint CPC.”
“And even within that time, we had to continue with discussions with ACN in particular about merger, so it was almost impossible to em…… I am not as pessimistic as you (media) are (on the success of the merger talks). I believe this time around it will work for us for so many reasons”, Buhari maintained.
Buhari, who cited reasons why he believes that CPC will win the general elections in 2015, said: “Firstly, I think the non-performance of the ruling party in all the governments they have and number two, the time factor; this time around CPC is ready and I tell you we have at least two years for hard bargaining (talks on merger and alliances with other political parties) and campaigning before the general elections.
“And I believe we are going to get it done”, he said. The former military leader, who had castigated the media severally, however, commended journalists for sustaining the pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to implement the subsidy probe report submitted by the House of Representatives Ad Hoc committee that investigated the subsidy regime. He said: “I will congratulate the press for doing pretty well by sustaining the pressure on the government to prosecute” those indicted by the report. According to him during his time as Head of State, the country was exporting about 100,000 barrels of refined products per day after satisfying the home market.
He referred whoever cared to cross-check the facts with the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Prof. Tam David West