With the distribution of the leadership positions of the budding All Progressives Congress (APC) among its constituent parties, the jockeying for the leadership of the coalition of the nation’s opposition parties has shifted to each constituent party in the merger.
After protracted consultations, the opposition parties on Tuesday finally agreed on how to share the leadership positions among members.
According to the sharing formula, the APC chairmanship is ceded to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which will also get six other offices.
The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) gets the national secretary along with five other positions, while the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the third major partner in the coalition, has been given the position of the national treasurer, in addition to five other positions in the new party’s national executive.
However, in the ACN, the chairman of the party’s merger committee, Chief Tom Ikimi, is locked in the race for the APC chairmanship with ACN National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande.
It was learnt that Ikimi is, however, facing opposition from ACN leadership, which is wary of him given his antecedents.
THISDAY gathered that rather than Ikimi, the ACN leadership prefers Akande to lead the new party.
But the source said Ikimi was not giving up the race as he had been lobbying some governors to assist him in realising his ambition.
According to the source, Ikimi's ultimate goal is to become not the interim chairman of APC but to occupy the position in a substantive capacity .
In the ANPP, former Kano State governor and the party’s presidential candidate of the 2011 election, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau is working to outshine the Chairman of the party's Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
The two party bigwigs are said to be eyeing the APC BoT chair. The calculation is that since there appeared to be an unwritten agreement to cede the APC's presidential ticket to the CPC leader, General Muhammadu Buhari and with the ACN already having the national chairmanship of the new party, ANPP will be in a strong position to ask for the BoT chair.
The APC will continue its efforts at firming up preparations for APC registration today at a meeting of governors, national chairmen and secretaries of the opposition parties.
THISDAY gathered that the joint meeting, which would finalise the registration documentation and endorse the decisions reached on sharing of party offices, had to be move forward from Wednesday to allow parties to consult widely on the choice of candidates to fill their slots.
The joint merger committees of the opposition parties also ended their sitting Wednesday with an assurance that the ideals of the merger is on course.
Addressing journalists at the end of their meeting in Abuja, Ikimi said they had been able to establish modalities for forming the interim leadership of APC.
"Last year, the merging parties established merger committees in order to enable them actualise the desire to form a merger. I am pleased to report that we have made notable progress since we started meeting. We have been able to do what has never been done in our country and I dare say that there is hardly anywhere in the world established political parties could cede their identities and fuse into one," he said.
He said the successful initiative enabled the merging parties to hold their conventions, adding that by holding the conventions to approve the merger, the three parties have successfully merged.
"I want to announce to you that the work of the committee has come to an end today and that the committee may be called up to carry out any function in due course and as may be necessary,” he added.