"The days of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in power are numbered," Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain Otunba Oladele Ajomale said.
According to him, the party will find it difficult in 2015 to win the votes of Nigerians because of its poor performance in the last 14 years.
Ajomale spoke in Lagos at the ceremony marking the lowering of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) flag and the hoisting of the APC flag by Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN).
He also directed that the party should be inaugurated in the 57 councils in the state this week.
He said: “I thank the merger committee and the governors who backed them. They were the driving force behind the merger. Immediately we announced the APC, it was like an electric shock to the PDP, but it was joy to Nigerians.”
The new party held its first meeting, which was presided over by Ajomale, the chairman of the defunct ACN.
At the meeting, which took off shortly after the hoisting of the APC’s flag, were party elders, the ACN chairmen from the 57 local councils and 20 local government chairmen.
At the ceremony were the deputy governor, Hon. Joke Orelope-Adefulire, the former deputy governor, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, Chief Olorunfunmi Basorun, Pa Abiodun Adeseye, former Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Kemi Nelson, Comrade Joe Igbokwe, Ademola Sodiq, Rev. Tunji Adebiyi, Comrade Ayo Adewale, Hon. Adekunle Israel, Hon. Shamusedeen Olaleye, Chief Funso Ologunde, Hon. Hakeen Oris, and Mrs. Toun Adediran.
Fashola described the party as “an alternative vehicle of expression of an aspiration for a better life”, urging the members to gird their loins for the future electoral battle.
The governor said: “This is more than a merger. It is history.” Fashola, who reflected on the merger struggles, thanked the APC leaders and members of the merger committee for their commitment and sacrifice.
Noting that they jettisoned personal interest, he said the merger drivers showed that “they were masters of their ego and not slaves of their ego”.
Looking into the future, the governor said APC leaders were still expected to make more sacrifices.
He added: “People sacrificed their positions. I salute their sense of sacrifice and there are still more sacrifices to make. I urge the people to learn from the sacrifices made. I hope that we are ready. It is not about individuals. it is about the nation. Individuals will go, but the nation will remain”.
Fashola praised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for standing up for the rule of law, constitutionalism and history.