Nigeria’s Key Opposition Party Approves Merger Plan
Action Congress of Nigeria, the country’s main opposition party, approved a plan to merge with two parties and a faction of a third ahead of the elections in 2015, an official said.
ACN, as the party is known, will fuse with the Congress of Progressive Change, the All Nigeria People’s Party and a splinter group of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, Chairman Bisi Akande said today at a convention in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital. The new party, All Progressives Congress, will challenge President Goodluck Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party.
“We’ve come to the conclusion that in the face of current events in Nigeria, a merger is the way to go,” Akande told cheering party supporters. “We will alter the national political platform with the APC.”
The two biggest parties in the merger are ACN, whose governors control most of the country’s southwestern states including Lagos, and the Congress for Progressive Change, led by the north’s biggest opposition figure, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous state and biggest oil producer, is almost evenly divided between a mainly Muslim north and a largely Christian south. Buhari lost to Jonathan in the 2011 presidential election, garnering the most northern votes. Jonathan is the third PDP president since 1999, when more than 15 years of military rule started by Buhari ended.