By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) and New African Democratic Congress (N-ADC), a splinter group from African Democratic Congress (ADC), on Saturday, announced their merger as Advanced Republicans (AR) party.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the merger, which came three days after the formation of N-ADC, was the outcome of a meeting of executives of both parties late Friday night, ending at dawn on Saturday, in Abuja.
ADC members, who pulled out to form N-ADC, had explained that they did so because they did not want to be part of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) and that ADC leadership signed onto the alliance without consulting stakeholders.
The merger agreement was signed by National Chairman of APDA, Shittu Mohammed and N-ADC Interim National Chairman, Chief Precious Elekima, at the joint meeting.
In the merger agreement, whose copy was made available to NAN, the parties resolved to adopt APDA’s Constitution and manifesto for the new party, Advanced Republicans, until amended.
They also agreed that the Chairman of APDA would be the Leader of the new party, while the Chairman of the N-ADC would be his deputy.
Mohammed told NAN shortly after the signing of the agreement that the merger was the coming together of like minds and forces to rescue Nigeria in the 2019 general elections.
“For us in APDA, we believe that in order to take Nigerians out of wood, forces of like minds must come together.
“Ours is like minds, which have the same nationalistic ideology where Nigeria comes first – national interest before personal interest.
“Our interest is to see that Nigeria’s movement from nascent democracy to development democracy -democracy where we do not just talk about elections but about economic development, advancement in technology and welfare of Nigerians.
“Our concern also includes creating employment opportunities for the people and taking government to the grassroots.
“This is why today, you have the `marriage’ of N-ADC and APDA, both dissolving and fusing to work for the development of Nigeria.
“This is how other parties like defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) started and they got to the limelight. We believe that with this `marriage’ today we are taking Nigeria to a great height,” he said.
On his part, Elekima said the merger was between a political party with strong base in the South and another that is strong in the northern part of the country.
“This will transform into capacity to win elections. This is what happened in 1914 when the North and the South came together to form one Nigeria.
“Today a northern based party and a southern based party have come together to make a national party and that party will win elections.
“We are happy to say that N-ADC and APDA have agreed and our name will be Advanced Republicans. We have been able to fuse as one body and we will work together,” Ekelima said.
He said that the merger decision had been communicated to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for regulations of APDA details, adding that “INEC has graciously agreed that APDA should be changed to AR”.
Elekima said that AR when finally regularised and elected into power, would form community government that would address issues of restructuring and empowering the states.
“Our government is going to restore power to the states where governors will no more act as treasurers to the states.
“We are going to share the monies to various community governments so that development can happen simultaneously.”
He expressed confidence that with the coming together of APDA and N-ADC and their structures across the country, victory was certain for AR in 2019.
He explained that after regularizing issues with INEC, congresses and National Convention would be held to elect officers of the new party all levels.