Gbenga Omokhunu/The Nation
The 2011 presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) vowed to join forces with other well-meaning Nigerians to ensure free, fair and credible elections in 2015.
Speaking with our correspondent in an interview in his Kaduna home, Gen, Buhari said opposition parties’ merger plans were on course so that they could defeat the PDP in 2015.
Besides, he said the Boko Haram insurgency, in which many have been killed, was caused by injustice.
His words: “The type of rigging pattern perfected by the PDP must be stopped. People must be allowed to vote for candidates of their choice. If our election processes are free, fair and credible, there will be no problem in Nigeria. But the PDP government is making the country very difficult to stabilise with its rigging pattern.
“This is the evil that we have to fight in this country to move forward. I have said it so many times that multi-party democracy system is the best.
“Elections must be free and fair. That is what the CPC is all about. I couldn’t get it done in the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), but God willing, we will realise this ambition.
“The only thing that will stabilise this multi-party democracy system is to have free and fair elections. All hands must be on deck to ensure this; unless that is done, those who are in government will not sit up and ensure social justice.
On Boko Haram, the former military ruler believes injustice is at the root of the problem. “The PDP has said that they will rule forever and I know this is not possible, Gen. Buhari said, adding: “I am sure if you go down memory lane, you will see what we have gone through. In 2010 when opposition parties tried to merge and form an alliance, there was no time. And there must be understanding from parties to accept an alliance.
“Now, the time is on our side. The ACN, the CPC and the ANPP have realised now that to defeat PDP, opposition parties must come together. The merger is on course.”
In a swift reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, welcomed Gen. Buhari’s call for opposition parties to form an alliance to defeat the PDP.
Metuh, who spoke to our correspondent on telephone yesterday, encouraged Gen. Buhari and his allies in the opposition parties to go ahead and form the mega alliance against the PDP, stressing that if the PDP loses in a free and fair election, the party will accept defeat.
He said: “We encourage as many opposition parties as possible to form alliance against the PDP to fight future elections. If they win in a free and fair election, the PDP will respect the will of the people.
“We are not against free and fair elections. We are not against alliance against the PDP. What we are against is violence and distortion of facts. We are against inciting the people against constituted authority in the land. We are against threats and tendencies that tend to heat up the system.”
According to Metuh, the PDP has delivered on its electoral promises and that the ruling party “would continue to deliver on its manifesto”.
He said the party had made it clear to its political office holders at all levels that their chances of securing tickets for the 2015 elections will be based on performance.