by Isi Esene

Former president Muhammadu Buhari yesterday revealed that only the outcome of the opposition merger-talks can determine if he will run for the post of president in 2015.

He disclosed this in Abuja while inaugurating the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) 18-member committee billed to discuss with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) on the mode and direction of the proposed merger.

He said a meeting with the All Nigeria Peoples Party will come after the CPC had concluded with the ACN.

Buhari said, “We have written priority (with ACN) and we are going to go into discussion with ACN before we move to the other party.

“It is not impossible that the new party is presented to the people of Nigeria by the middle of this year,” he added.

The ex-president made it clear that the possibility of contesting in the 2015 presidential elections is not foreclosed saying, “For the umpteenth time, I said it (that I won’t run again), it is on record that I would not present myself again for election.

“But after that, I have said so many times that members of my party and groups went and said that I don’t belong to myself and that I belong to them. They also said they belong to me.

“I asked them to go and organize the party and if you approach me I may consider it. This is the stage we are.

“I mentioned it several times and I’m waiting on my party and if we have a merger, it will make things much easier for me. The new party will then decide whether it will offer me its ticket and it is up to me to consider accepting it or rejecting it.”

He urged the committee members headed by the former Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Garba Gadi, not to allow personal interests becloud their judgement.

“The issue before you now and as you go into your negotiations is fundamentally one – that you will negotiate the best deal for Nigeria.

“It is essentially a matter of give-and-take. There is nothing sacrosanct about any of the issues you will be called to thrash out, but of course, there is a bottom line, the outlines of which have been given in the committee’s terms of reference.

“Your task is national. Petty personal interest should not stand in the way of a great opportunity to build and run a better Nigeria, which will happen once CPC, ACN and ANPP come together.”

The committee, he reportedly said, should be able to finish its job in six weeks before the two parties would now constitutionally seal the merger in another six weeks.

Buhari said the new party should actively support the restructuring of the country, adding its 36-state structure was not working.