A Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Cross River State Chapter and former Chairman, Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Chief (Barr) Okoi Obono-Obla has dismissed claims by former Interim National Chairman of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Senator Rufai Sani Hanga, that an implied agreement was reached during APC merger between President Muhammadu Buhari and Senator Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that Buhari will be handing over to Tinubu as President of Nigeria in 2023.
Obono-Obla insisted there was no known such agreement as far as the structure was concerned, whether of the Joint Inter-Party Merger Committee or the CPC Merger Committee that negotiated with the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and factions of All Progressive Alliance (APGA) and DPP for the formation of APC in 2013.
He added that Hanga, who ceased to be member of CPC since 2011 and was in no way connected with any of the merger parties in 2013, could not be correct to lay such claims of implied agreement.
Recall that Senator Rufai Hanga had said in an interview published in Sunday 18 July, 2021 edition of Daily Trust that President Buhari had an agreement with Tinubu that he will hand over to him (Tinubu) come 2023, meaning that the ruling party will have no candidate other than the former Governor of Lagos State, who will succeed the President.
But Obono-Obla dismissed his claims and stated that no such agreement was reached at any time.
“I have read with amusement the interview granted Sunday Trust edition of July 18, 2021, Senator Rufai Sani Hanga.
“He alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari had an implied agreement with Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu to hand over to him in 2023. I don’t want to talk about the purported implied agreement but will still say that no such agreement was disclosed to the Joint Inter-Party Merger Committee and the CPC Merger Committee negotiated with the defunct ACN; ANPP, and factions of APGA and DPP for the formation of APC in 2013. I was the Secretary of the defunct CPC Merger Committee and the Co-Secretary of the Joint Inter Merger Party Committee, and if such an agreement I should have known.
“The Joint Inter-Party Merger Committee was an umbrella body of the Merger Committees of the defunct ACN, ANPP, CPC, and factions of APGA and DPP. The Chairman was Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, while Chief Tony Ikime, late Senator Mohammed Garba Gadi, and Senator Annie Okonkwo were co-Chairmen. The Co-secretaries were late Dr. Ibrahim Lame (ACN); Chief George Mogahlu (ANPP); Okoi Obono-Obla (CPC) and Senator Osita Izunaso (APGA).
“At the time of the Merger of the defunct CPC with ACN and others in 2013, Senator Hanga was no longer the Chairman of CPC. The Chairman of CPC then was late Prince Tony Momoh. Prince Tony Momoh was elected the National Chairman of the CPC on January 6, 2011, at Eagle Square, Abuja, in the first national convention of the CPC, which was convened to ratify the candidature of then General Muhammadu Buhari as the Presidential Candidate of the CPC and also to elect the National Officers of the CPC. I was elected the National Deputy Secretary of the CPC in that convention.”
He added that: “After that, Senator Hanga, through his spokesman, Dennis Aghanya, on August 12, 2013, claimed that their faction of the CPC was merging with PDM.
“I, therefore, don’t understand how Senator Hanga would know what was going on in CPC when he ceased to be a member in 2013 when CPC merged with ACN and ANPP to form the All Progressives Congress, APC.
“I want to put the records straight for posterity and students of politics and history in Nigeria.”