Will A Stronger ACN Agree to Be Buhari's Wife?
It is no longer news that some opposition parties are working assiduously to see how they can dislodge PDP from power. Recently Tinubu boasted that the unified opposition will finish PDP in 2015. Meetings between the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) are taking place in Nigeria, Dubai and Ghana but the million dollar question is will the alliance work seeing as Buhari whose party, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) is the politically weaker of the two wants to play the dominant role and call the shots ?
For a start, the ACN controls all the six states of the Southwest except Ondo which may or may not fall into its hands depending on the outcome of the forthcoming Ondo Gubaernatorial elections. In the Southsouth the ACN also controls Edo state. On the other hand the CPC only controls one state, Nasarawa.
However, despite the political realities described above, the unbending Buhari is insisting on being the senior partner.
Also, not everyone in the ACN is interested in the merger as some see it as a personal frolic of Tinubu to further his own political nest. For instance, after the CPC announced that they were supporting Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state in his reelection battle, the comrade governor released a media statement the very next day rejecting any alliance with the CPC, a move that did not go down well with the Buhari camp.
Again, within the CPC all is not as united as the party is making out. The Buhari loyalists in the party are rather uncomfortable with the role that controversial former minister of the FCT is playing. Led by ultra Buhari loyalist, Buba Galadima, they believe that Elrufai who once described Buhari as "perpetually unelectable" in October 2010 is only using Buhari to position himself as a possible future Presidential candidate. On the other hand, there are those who think that Buhari (who us notorious for nursing a grudge) is only using Elrufai because it is convenient to do so for now but that he has not really forgotten Elrufai's demeaning insults on his person and at the appropriate time he would deal with the pint sized politician.
Also militating against the CPC is the fact hat the Northern establishment is not keen on a Buhari presidency. Many Northern aristocrats, like the Emir of Kano, remember the raw deal they suffered at the hands of Buhari when he was military head of state and are not keen to have a repeat performance. Also, the IBB political family are not comfortable with the idea fearing that Buhari may in his characteristic manner seek his pound of flesh against them should he return to power. It would be recalled that IBB kept Buhari under house arrest for years and when Buhari was released his bitterness led him to divorce his wife and that in itself is another story. And then finally on this note, even the party's only Governor, Governor Makura of Nasarawa state, has not been too close to Buhari. It will be noticed that he has not been very vocal n defense of both Buhari of the CPC and has not been enthusiastic about inviting Buhari to visit his state and commission projects as he would have been expected to do.
Moreover the people of the Middle Belt, of which Nasarawa belongs, have been alienated by the activities of Boko Haram and they see the terrorist sect, rightly or wrongly, as the core North's response to the loss of political power especially considering the statement by prominent Core Northern Muslims in the wake of the election that they would "make Nigeria ungovernable" for President Jonathan. The Middle Belt has borne the brunt of terrorist attacks over the past year.
Another problem faced by the CPC is that they do not really trust their Southern partners because of their experience during the last Presidential elections when several state chairmen from Southern states turned against them and declared after the election that CPC could not have defeated President Jonathan in their states because the party had no structures on the ground.
Furthermore, the CPC inner caucus does not trust Bola Tinubu who they see as a foxy politician who would betray them at the very last minute if it serves his personal interest. They cite the case of Nuhu Ribadu who they feel was abandoned by Tinubu when he needed him the most after he had reached a deal with President Jonathan.
But perhaps the greatest impediment to the alliance talks is the fact that many in ACN are afraid of losing their popularity if they merge with the CPC which is perceived wrongly or rightly as being anti South by the populace in the South. Many Southerners remember the post election violence of 2011 and the refusal of Buhari to condemn it and the statements from many CPC supporters which seemed to justify the carnage. Also, there is the belief amongst Southerners that the CPC knows more than it is telling about Boko Haram. ACN big wigs therefore fear that they may alienate their supporters if they form a league with the CPC.
For now, it is safe to say that it is not yet Uhuru for the much hyped alliance which some have tagged 'the axis of evil'