Jan 28, 2013

2015 merger talks: Ribadu, El-Rufai may emerge as presidential candidates



As preparations heat up for the 2015 presidential election, opposition parties in merger talks are currently searching for a young Northerner with a pan-Nigeria disposition that would spearhead the affairs of the nation.

This is just as the merger partners are currently in talk with the Congress for Progressive Change Presidential candidate in 2011, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to drop his ambition.

Investigations revealed that the opposition parties might eventually settle for former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, and the Action Congress of Nigeria presidential candidate in 2011, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu for the big task.

Whoever emerges must be able to take on President Goodluck Jonathan or any other politician that would be the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2015.

A top member of the CPC, who pleaded anonymity said: “We are working on a plan B. If Gen. Buhari does not contest, the parties will shift attention to younger candidates.

“Our search will be extended to non-politicians, including young technocrats from the North. El-Rufai and Ribadu will be among the pool of candidates who will be screened.”

It would be recalled that the former Head of State had after the 2011 elections vowed not to run for the office of the presidency again after having contested three times and failed.

But at the inauguration of the CPC merger committee on January 16, 2013, the former Military General said the outcome of the merger would determine whether he would or not run for presidency in 2015.


Report had it earlier that the Kastina-born politician might drop his presidential ambition as parties in the merger had an initial understanding that leaders must be ready to make personal sacrifices for the success of the merger.

Such a sacrifice, it was gathered, might see Buhari dropping his presidential ambition, if it would thwart the merger plan.

A close aide of el-Rufai, who wouldn’t want his name mentioned said: “There have been various speculations. There was a report that there was tension between Gen. Buhari and el-Rufai. There is nothing of such.

“The former minister is concerned with the success of the ongoing talks among some opposition parties.”

A member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, had said the merger plan by opposition parties would not stop the PDP from emerging victorious in 2015 elections.

Also, a top member of the PDP, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu described the move as one that would neither pull PDP down nor succeed.

“As a democrat, I should sound a note of warning; I have read recently about the coming together of some political parties. They are not coming together on the basis of ideology. They are coming together because they are afraid that unless they gang up, PDP will win the elections in 2015. This is a wrong political calculation.”

However, the parties involved in the merger have earlier accused the ruling party of frustrating their plan.

The parties alleged that the merger plans had pushed the present government into putting up tactics that will dent the image of key members of the oppositions.