Why APC Must Seek Alliance with Estranged PDP Members – Nasir El-Rufai
The interim deputy publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Nasir El-Rufai, has stated that the need for an ”incremental change” made it inevitable for the opposition party to seek alliance with strong and willing politicians across the country.
The former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory made this known at the ongoing 15th edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival, LABAF, during a discussion focused on his book, The Accidental Public Servant.
Mr. El-Rufai was responding to a member of the audience who was critical of the recent visit of APC leaders to some members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
The national leaders of the APC had, in the last two weeks, being on a tour of some states ruled by the PDP, taken advantage of the myriad of crises tearing the PDP apart by visiting the party’s leaders in order to woo them to the APC.
”If APC runs for an election without this relevant alliance, we will get as many votes as Gani got,” said the vocal politician in reference to the 2003 general election, when human rights activist, late Gani Fawehinmi, pulled a disappointing 100,000 votes.
Mr. El-Rufai noted that the late Mr. Fawehinmi had massive goodwill from the people and was detained over 30 times, yet, he could not command a political fight against the ruling party. He also referenced a similar alliance formed against former military Head of State, Sani Abacha.
“The G18 was formed by northern leaders who felt the fight against Abacha must be seen to start from his backyard (the north), and in alliance with the ongoing clamour by leaders from the south, such as Afenifere.
”G18 were all enemies before (but) they managed to push the envelope and reach out across the Niger to fight Abacha; this is what led to the founding members of the PDP,” he said.
Mr. El-Rufai lamented that in 2013, the nation was back to that era. He added that it was, therefore, necessary for leaders, who wanted to save the country, to come together.
”Political parties have become the cancer that is destroying the country. That is why leaders are coming together to form APC. Ten years ago, Bola Tinubu and co were just happy about their control of the southwest, but they decided to take a quantum leap to join the central move because they realised that if we have a wrong president, it will wrongly affect their region.
”The country would run better if the president had less power,” he noted.
Age not barrier for good leadership
Mr. El-Rufai also spoke about the allegations that APC was bereft of ideology.
“It is not about ideology,” he said, “but that people that care must put aside their differences and make the choice to fight the status quo.
”Problems that afflicted the ACN (Action Congress of Nigeria) will not affect the APC, and if that should happen, Nigeria would be better for it.”
The ACN and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, had attempted to merge, days ahead of the 2011 presidential elections, but the merger talks collapsed.
The same member of the audience also criticised the age of the leaders of the opposition party – a national leader of the APC and presidential candidate for the CPC in the 2011 election, Muhammadu Buhari, is 76 years old while former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu, is over 60.
Mr. El-Rufai, however, replied that ”I believe that when the best of old people is combined with the dynamism of the youth; this is what will propel any nation to greatness.”
He expressed his admiration for Chinese leader, Mao Tse-Tung, who, Mr. El-Rufai said, came into power at 74 and led China’s economic revolution.
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