While reviewing a new book titled, “Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria” written by Professor John Paden in Abuja on Monday, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, gave a historical account of how the ruling party came to being and brought to a sudden end the reign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to ThisDay, the influential APC chieftain provided a rare insight into the challenges faced by political parties that came together to form an alliance that produced the APC, which eventually ended the reign of PDP.
According to him, to defeat PDP, which had boasted it would rule Nigeria for 60 years, a political alliance had to be formed.
“In forming the ‘new’ party, we had three challenges. The first was learning the right lessons from the aborted attempt at political cooperation in 2011. Fortunately, both the ACN and CPC regretted our inability to conclude a pact in 2011.
“We agreed that there would be no recrimination over what did not happen before. We agreed there would be an intensified effort to forge the united effort that eluded us in 2011.
“In 2011, both parties wanted cooperation, but became stuck on whether that should take the form of an alliance or outright merger. This difference gave rise to another one, regarding how the vice-presidential candidate, who would run with the presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, would be selected.
“Despite the good-faith demonstrated in our attempt to resolve these issues, time ran out on finding a solution. In retrospect, we all were perhaps a bit too inflexible and did not realise the extent to which cooperation and flexibility were needed to establish the reform we all wanted.
“The result: Each party went its own way in 2011. However, the talks of 2011 would foreshadow the discussions beginning in 2013, which led to the successful merger forming the APC.
“Talks mainly between the CPC, led by Buhari, and the ACN, led by myself, later joined by the ANPP and the progressive wing of APGA, would go more smoothly and would reach the desired finish-line this time.
“There would be a merger and there would be a presidential candidate agreeable to all. A winning combination had been joined. It would give the PDP, which had boasted of 60 continuous years in power, more than it could handle.
“After the successful merger and the birth of APC, it was time to pick a flag bearer. At the Lagos convention, President Buhari emerged as the new party’s choice in a transparently, honest process.
“His speech to the convention was greeted with ovation, even by those who had opposed him. Then there was the sticky issue of selecting a running mate. After careful study and discussion, it was agreed that we should field a religiously-balanced ticket given the sensitivities of the moment.
“Based on this conclusion, the name of Yemi Osinbajo, renowned law professor and former Lagos State Attorney-general during my tenure as governor, was proposed as an excellent running mate.
“Osinbajo was also a pastor in the largest church in the entire country, and this would answer those who wrongfully tried to paint Buhari as intolerant.”
“Many of us invested ourselves, our hearts, bodies, minds and souls in this project for national salvation. Many did not want it to happen and fought to undermine the good we sought to accomplish.
“Many others straddled the sidelines, neither completely in nor completely out, but waiting to see how the prevailing winds might blow before making their moves.
“Muhammadu Buhari never wavered for one moment on this journey. Proving to be a focused leader, he acted with single-minded determination that showed no fear or doubt in the rightfulness of the cause we pursued.
“I know this for an unassailable fact because I was there with him, every step of the way, to fight against, what the realists told us, were insurmountable odds.
“Yet, our determination for reform beat their smart calculations. The desire for a better country was more powerful than their incumbent might,” Tinubu stated.
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