2014 Marriage of Parties: Repeat Amalgamation or Unification, By Dr. Raphael Ogar Oko

As we move toward 2014, the Nigeria nation will again be confronted with challenges and opportunities to come together as one nation, as it was in 1914. We have the likely chances to either go the way of repeating amalgamation again or seek the new way of the long desired unification of Nigeria as One Nation.

However, in 2013, we all need to make an informed decision on the future of the nation. To make such decision, we need to know the difference between national amalgamation and national unification. Amalgamation is like co-habiting couples who are in a short term relationship for personal interest and looking forward to pulling apart if personal interests are not met. Divorce is very possible after amalgamation and most times, amalgamating partners may be forced into relationship by circumstances of selfish interest.

On the other hand, unification is like eternally married couples, who have made informed decision to get married and live together forever and to raise children together. They know the implication of unification and are not focused on personal interest first, but on the joint public interest. They do not contemplate divorce but work to make their difficult marriage succeed.

This is the path that the nation of Nigeria will be confronted with in the days ahead. The nation will again be divided along the lines of North and South with the hope that the North and South can come together as a united country. The divide has the potential to destroy the nation but provides an opportunity to develop the nation beyond imagination. One of the challenges will manifest around the position of national leadership 2015, whether the person should come from the North or from the South. The political parties, who provide the platform for leaders to emerge, will face the challenges of either division into two or multiplication into a big political system. Many will yearn to remain united by will be confronted with unity through amalgamation or unity through unification.

The marriage of Nigeria by 2014 will begin with the marriage of political parties. For example, the opposition parties are proclaiming plans to merge. The key issue to watch out for is not the announced merger but a critical analysis of the planned marriage of political parties. They may be focused on ‘amalgamation of parties’ and not ‘unification of parties’. An amalgamation of parties will mean that each political party joins the merger team with personal interest first, and can pull out if they are not favoured and seek for a new spouse. The amalgamated parties may collapse again if they do not win the 2015 elections.

On the part of unification of parties, the opposition need to embrace their new intention with the heart of a permanent and everlasting marriage, where divorce will not be possible. The partners need to focus on what they can do for others than what they will get from others. They need to realize that after the 2014 wedding of the political parties, they will be change of name, and all the old names shall pass away. They shall be no more ACN, ANPP, CPC and other members of the opposition. They shall all become one political party forever. Even in the merger plans, we should not ignore the fact while the ACN and CPC leads the opposition, there are possibilities of ANPP will go toward the PDP at last.

Watching carefully on the planned merger, ACN and CPC share more similarities in names and motivation. One is Action Congress of Nigeria and the other is Congress for Progressive Change. On the other hand, the PDP and ANPP share similar names and motivation. The PDP is People’s Democratic Party while the ANPP is All Nigeria People’s Party. While one is focused on congress, the other is focused on people. This may be the direction of the planned marriage of political parties which will midwife the historic re-marriage and wedding of Nigeria by 2014.

From the merger date, all members of the former parties shall bear a new name, which no knows now except the team that shall work out the details. We shall become a two party nation with PDP on one side and the opposition Unification Party on the other side. If the opposition hopes to confront the ruling PDP and take over power in the near future, they should go the way of unification and not amalgamation. The new leadership of the unification party should not be able to return back to their old parties even if they lose the forthcoming elections. INEC need to de-register their old parties and ban them from any possible return as they say ‘We Do’ on the wedding date. This is the inevitable path that we have to go but I am afraid that the merging parties may just be another ‘Amalgamation Party’ that may repeat the mistakes of Lugard in 1914 that led to the challenges we have been facing.

On the other hand, to offer the needed service to the people of Nigeria based on the power of the people as expressed in the name PDP, the PDP need to move quickly from the present Amalgamated PDP to a new Unified PDP. We must not go the way of amalgamation by 2014 but the path of unification. This is why 2013 remains the last chance for our marital decision and should be known by all as year of National Integration to achieve national unification 2014.