Abuja: Nigeria`s biggest opposition party Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favour of merging it with an All Progressives Congress (APC) with the intention of defeating the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in future elections.
Action Congress of Nigeria, which is popular in the country`s south-west, wants to merge with the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and a faction of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) for the presidential and other elections.
Another opposition party ? All Progressives Grand Alliance ? which controls two states in the south-east - has not declared its intention to join the merger as it is troubled by factional crisis.
All 4,500 delegates of the party attending a convention held in a stadium in the country’s economic hub of Lagos voted to join the merger which automatically makes ACN non-existent.
The party`s leader and former governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu, said that the PDP, which has ruled the oil rich African country since its return to democracy in 1999, would soon find itself as the opposition party.
Former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, the CPC presidential candidate in the last election held in April 2011, attended the convention in solidarity with ACN.
CPC and ANPP will hold their own conventions next month to take similar decisions.
Similar attempts to form a merger in the past did not succeed as they failed to produce a consensus presidential candidate.
Ethnicity, religion and region play vital roles in Nigeria`s politics.
In the 2011 election, President Goodluck Jonathan, who is a Christian from the south, and his opponent, former military head of state Buhari from the north, had most of their votes coming from their respective regions.