Prior to the merger of the legacy Parties to form the APC, I had neither come in close contact with Chief Bisi Akande nor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. When the idea of the merger, in the first instance between the ACN and the CPC (both defunct) was introduced to the CPC members, some of us initially opposed the idea, against the background of the collapse of the coalition talks between both parties during the 2011 Presidential election. We believed that the leadership of the ACN sold out to the PDP and therefore betrayed the CPC. On the other hand, the ACN had their own side of the story and arguments as to the reasons for the collapse of the coalition talks. The rest is now history.
After the 2011 elections, the CPC had set up a National Peace and Reconciliation Committee under the Chairmanship of Alhaji Adamu Bulkachuwa, to look into the issues leading to the loss in States considered by the Party to be predominantly CPC States. I served as a member of this Committee. The Committee later was disbanded and Zonal Peace and Reconciliation Committees were then set up to take care of the six geo-political zones. I served as Chairman of the South-West Zone. The CPC, as a result of the reports of the Peace and Reconciliation Committees from the six geo-political Zones, thereafter set up a Renewal Committee headed by Malam Nasril el’Rufai to reposition the Party towards the 2015 general elections and revisit the Party Constitution, Manifesto etc.
The argument put forward by some of us members of the Renewal Committee against the merger with the ACN was the advantage of our numerical strength from the 2011 general elections (12million votes plus) within a short period of setting up the Party before the 2011 elections. The CPC was in second position overall, behind the PDP in the Presidential election. However, superior arguments prevailed that one opposition Party, mainly regional based and with no national spread, will not be able to defeat the ruling PDP in a general election. Most of all, our leader, General Muhammadu Buhari had accepted to team up with the ACN leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu bringing a political synergy of the North-West and South-West voting strength together, as a formidable force against the PDP. The rest again, is now history. The birth and formation of the APC became a reality bringing into the merger the ANPP and a faction of APGA led by Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
The legacy Parties had to conduct Mid-Term Convention to get the mandate of party members to form the APC. The CPC Mid-Term Convention was in May 2013 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Hassan Muhammed Lawal. I was Chairman of the sub-committee on Protocol and Publicity. The Convention was highly successful judging from the mammoth crowd and the peaceful conduct at the Convention ground at Eagle Square. Chief Bisi Akande who was invited by the Party and was present at the Convention, we were told, remarked that, if winning elections is by followership, the Buhari factor and followership he witnessed on the convention ground, is evidence that General Muhammadu Buhari will be part of the winning team and ticket of the APC. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was unavoidably absent at the Convention as he was abroad at the time. Chief Bisi Akande relayed his observation to Asiwaju and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu requested for the DVD of the event. He (Asiwaju) was not disappointed with what he saw in the DVD.
Chief Bisi Akande we were told that before the CPC Mid-Term Convention, was not really an admirer of General Buhari because Chief Akande was one of the UPN Governors that was jailed during the military administration of General Buhari. Chief Akande had to put aside personal differences between himself and General Buhari for the success of the Party. Thereafter and at any subsequent Party functions and events, the two leaders became best of friends and are always seen happy together. For this singular act of maturity of Chief Akande, he earned my respect. (continued).