The grand merger of leading opposition parties is waiting to be formalised by June, National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu said yesterday.

This is the second time in one week that a major player in the planned merger aimed at flushing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) out of power in 2015 will confirm the status of the talks.

Leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Gen. Muhammadu Buhari last week said the marriage of the ACN and the CPC would take off in June.

Tinubu, who also said a new party would be announced in June, spoke at the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo.

He spoke after a tour of the burnt areas of the palace where about 21 rooms, some of them belonging to the wives of the Alaafin, and many artefacts were affected.

Tinubu said the AC N, the CPC and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) were “irrevocably” committed to the merger.

Tinubu assured the Alaafin that the AC N and, indeed, the Yoruba nation were solidly behind the Oba, who he described as “our leader. Courageous. Powerful and Consistent and effective leader. I salute your courage over time. You have the fire. You have the thunder. We are glad you are well.”

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Ajimobi praised Oba Adeyemi as one of the most enlightened and seasoned rulers in the country. He said from the ashes of the burnt houses in the palace would rise a more beautiful edifice. The governor went ahead to confer on the Alaafin the honorary membership of the ACN. As he made the announcement, the palace exploded in applause. ACN National Chair Chief Bisi Akande praised the kabiyesi for his forthrightness and wished him more fruitful years on the throne.

The Alaafin thanked the ACN leaders for their visit and support. He said he had received overwhelming sympathy and support. Alafin encouraged the leaders to promote Yoruba culture and values.

In the team were Akande; National Vice-Chairman (Southwest), Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi and the National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. They were led to the palace by Ajimobi. Chief Ayo Adebanjo, an elder statesman joined them later.

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“I assure the general public that this time around, we are again restating the fact that we are irrevocably committed; mark my word, irrevocably committed to the merger, making it become one party, one platform with shared vision and commitment to rescue Nigeria from the jaw of the drifting ship of this administration.

“We, as leaders, must be ready to make sacrifices, be ready to bring our character and value together to ensure that we build an understanding that will bring good governance. It is not about us. It is about the country. It is about commitment to democracy and value. That is what we are doing.”

The former Lagos State governor also sympathised with the Alaafin and Oyo indigenes on the fire. He promised to join others to rebuild the palace to the level that will radiate the culture, rich history, tradition and the values of the Yoruba people.

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Tinubu affirms June date for mergerAkande, who also gave an insight into the merger, explained that a committee saddled with the talks was progressing in the assignment and that various sub-committees had been set up to evolve a new name, new identity and logo for the new party.

Oba Adeyemi praised the ACN leaders and described them as true leaders of people who give honour to tradition and to all those honour.

He said Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Babatunde Fashola (Lagos) all honour tradition.

The monarch said that the progressives brought federalism to Nigeria, adding that only federalism is good enough for a heterogeneous society like Nigeria.

The Alaafin prayed for continuous success of the party.

“We support you because we know that you are people of honour; you are good people,” told the AC N chief.

Giving a historical background of the palace and some of the artifacts, the monarch said that a historian had posited that the palace was originally 640 acres.


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