Remarks by General Muhammadu Buhari at the Inauguration of the CPC Merger Committee

Remarks by General Muhammadu Buhari at the Inauguration of the CPC Merger Committee at the CPC National Secretariat Utako on Wednesday, January 16,2013 – I would like to welcome all of you to this very important gathering , and would like to begin by apologising  to all of you for the short notice given. And for people like

Owelle Oscar Udoji and others like him who have virtually been detained here
and who have had to cancel engagements overseas in order to be with us here for this
event, the apology is double.      After my full and sincere apology, I would like
to congratulate you on your appointment.  You are all selected and appointed to
serve on this important committee because of the trust and confidence the leadership
of this party has in your ability, competence and integrity to work with sincerely
in the best interest of the CPC but the people of Nigeria who have always voted-and
will again vote-for change.                         The issue before you now and as
go into negotiations is fundamentally one-that you will negotiate the best deal for
Nigeria.  It is essentially a matter of give-and-take : there is nothing sacrosanct
about any of the issues you will be called to thrash out;of course, there is a
bottom line the outlines of which you have been given in the committee’s terms of
reference. Please study these and let these be your guide as you sit to negotiate.
Your task is national.  Petty person interest should not stand in the way of a great
opportunity to build and run a better Nigeria, which will happen once CPC, and ACN.
But remember: we are not going into battle; we are going into a
friendly game with our brothers who desire for this nation what we desire for it.
You must remember to negotiate with respect, understanding and decorum as befits
people who are ready and genuinely desirous of merging into one tomorrow.  As we
sadly know, the nation is once again at a crossroads, stumbling from one disaster to
another, simply because its leaders lack unity of purpose; and, even if they
sometimes look like coming together this has never been marshalled into a coherent,
irresistible force by the opposition.  But the opposition itself has not able to get
its act together because it is not united.  In Nigeria today therefore, unity of the
people, unity of political parties, and unity of opposition-is no longer an option.
It has become a national importance.                  And thankfully, everyone is
finally coming round to accept the necessity for it. Right now, so strong is the
belief in unity as seen in the merger of our two parties that the sentiments
expressed on both sides sound as if the two parties may merge on their own even
before their representatives reached  the roundtable.  The sentiment today is a
merger between the ACN and CPC, not an alliance or an electoral understanding or any
thing of the sort.  What Nigerians want, is merger and that is what you are going to
negotiate and bring home to them. And luckily, you already have on the ground to
work on, because much ground towards unity has already been covered in previous
abortive attempts.  For instance , there is already in existence an un executed
understanding between CPC and the ACN for the creation of a new party with a brand
new logo and a new flag already designed and all other paraphernalia of a political
party put in place.               All these should be dusted up and built upon so
that we do not waste valuable time revising ground that has already been covered.
Your committee should go back and pick up matters from there. At the risk of
sounding overly too optimistic , I may suggest that you should be able to finish
your work in six weeks, at the end of which the CPC and CAN should be in a position
to sign a declaration of intent to fuse their into two parties  into one.
After signing the declaration, it should not take more than another six weeks for
the parties to pursue the matter within their own constitutional context to ensure
that the issue is legitimated through the proper procedures and processes of its own
organs. And from there will be a matter of crossing the t’s and dotting the i ‘. It
is not impossible by the middle of this year.  And when it is, the new party should
root for a proper federation as the basis of the union and for governance of the
country, and should actively support the restructuring of the country.  In part,
this is because the 36 state structure of the country is simply not working; and it
must therefore be rationalised.  The party should root for democracy, rule of law
and the entrenchment of democratic culture in the country; and the foundation of the
new party should be anchored on the recognition and acceptance that our cultural and
religious differences are a blessing and a source of strength, and should not be a
cause for dis unity.   The new party should as a matter of top most priority begin
to tackle and plan for the creation of a new security architecture for the country
and possibly for the entire sub-region , a development that may involve the
recreation of local security networks and the restoration of traditional
intelligence gathering techniques to shore up a police force that has obviously
failed. And with regard to public service, the new party should press for the
adoption of a new work ethnic that will bring lost glory and greater accountability
back to governance.         As you are all, no doubt aware, our goal is to effect
merger between two parties-a merger that will win this election and create a new,
stronger, more truly democratic, proper, Federal Republic and change the attitude
and thinking of our people. And with this, ladies and gentle men, the CPC Merger
Committee is inaugurated in the name of God, and with our prayers to Him to grant us
success in the talks we are about to commence , and to give us even greater success
in carrying out the plans we have for the people of this country.           Finally,
let me once again thank you most heartily and most sincerely for all your loyalty
and unflinching support and commitment to our cause.  Sometimes words fail me as to
how to express my feelings with regard to the sacrifices you are making.  This time
I believe our anguish is at an end; because victory is in sight. I hope God will
strengthen you for the last lap of the journey.  Even though I believe we shall all
have our regard in heaven, this time we shall strive to enjoy it right here on
earth. But , of course , we do not measure our reward in material times; our reward
is in witnessing the success of our enterprise.                         We do not
have money, and we are shunned by most of those who do. We do not have a police
force, and our supporters are the victims of those who do. We do not have the
government on our side, and we are always short changed by it as it applies the
Federal Might not to conduct credible elections, but to rig us out of our mandate.
The one we have on our side is God and the people-and these are sufficient for us.
And we shall not swerve from the cause we have chosen : our cause is the cause of
the nation ; and we do good to our long-suffering people so that our country becomes
great. So help us God.               Thank you very much for your attention.

General Muhammadu Buhari,GCFR

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