The battle for the soul of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) took a new twist yesterday, with the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), one of the power blocs that fused into the APC before the 2015 general election, threatening to pull out of the party.
Accordingly, the nPDP has written President Muhammdu Buhari and the party leadership alleging marginalisation and expressing their dissatisfaction with the present status quo.
This is coming barely few days after the party’s ward congresses across the country that left many party stalwarts angry about the process.
The new PDP bloc also gave the APC leadership a seven-day ultimatum to convene an emergency meeting to address their grievances, just as it also accused the presidency and the party of maltreating its members.
This is even as the immediate past governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, will today declare his ambition to gun for the national chairmanship of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The former governor is favoured to replace the outgoing chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, after President Muhammadu Buhari had endorsed him. The leader of the nPDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, stated the group’s position yesterday at a press conference after a closed door meeting with the national chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
The power bloc within the APC submitted a four-page letter dated April 27, 2018, titled “Request for redressing of grievances of the former new PDP bloc within the All Progressives Congress”.
In the letter, the group declared that without votes contributed by its members, the present government would not have been elected into power. The letter signed by Baraje and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola on behalf of the group was addressed to the national chairman of the party. The erstwhile new PDP alleged that despite their contribution to the success of the APC, their members have been relegated to the background in the scheme of things in the party and in the government.
The letter, which was also copied President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, noted that the only seat that went to members of the new PDP in the Federal Executive Council was given to a member whose state contributed virtually no vote to the APC in the 2015 presidential election. The letter noted: “We the members of the All Progresswes Congress (APC) who moved over from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to form the APC before the 2015 General Electrons in Nigeria are desirous of strengthening our party, especially now that new party Congresses have commenced and the Convention and another round of General Elections are imminent. Obviously, this cannot be achieved without addressing fundamental issues, which we wish to raise in the letter.
“We therefore wish, with due respect, to re-state our expectation then and now that the APC we all laboured to build would be one united, inclusive, cohesive and progressive party devoid of divisions, factions, cleavages and tendencies.
“We envisioned a political party promoting equal rights for all Nigerians and ensuring rapid and even development across the country. Of course there is no gainsaying that the fact that the lofty ideals enumerated above cannot be attained without ensuring justice for party faithful and citizens”.
The group reminded the president and leadership of APC of the history of events that led to the party’s victory of the APC in the 2015 general election, particilarly the presidential election.
According to it, it is indisputable that the movement of the former new PDP bloc to form the APC contributed immensely to the victory of the APC in the election.
The group stated: “The former new PDP included five sitting governors of Sokoto, Kano, Kwara, Adamawa and Rivers State and former governors of Kebbi, Gombe, Osun and former vice president of Nigeria, former acting national chairman of PDP, sitting Speaker of the House of Representatives, many serving members of the National Assembly and many politicians and PDP elders.
“It was a watershed moment in Nigeria’s political history. Most of these leaders did not only deliver their states to the APC at the election. Some of the governors were also assigned specific responsibility to ensure that other states were also delivered to the APC in the 2015 election. The then governor at Sokoto took charge of Kebbi and the then governor of Kano State took responsibility for Kano, Kaduna and Jigawa States, just to mention a few examples. There were also unprecedented efforts by many stakeholders such as Senator Bukola Saraki, in concert with others, to deliver the entire North Central to the APC.
“These efforts, contributions and sacrifice were made in spite of the fact that the presidential ticket was taken by the erstwhile Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) bloc of the party.
Accusing President Buhari of not acknowledging the effort of its members in installing the APC government, the new PDP said, “It is a matter for grave concern that His Excellency Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has never publicly acknowledged our efforts in the face of clear evidence that the total number of votes scored by the APC in states where leaders and members of the then NEW PDP bloc held sway made the difference.
“The stubborn facts are as follows: In Kano State APC scored 1,903,999 in 2015, and in Kwara 302,146. ln Sokoto State it scored 671,926, and 374 701 ln Adamawa In Kebbl State, APC had 567,883 votes and 885,988 in Jigawa. It was the same story in Gombe (459,898). Kogi (284,851) and Benue (373,961) votes.
“These represented significant additions to the APC victory column. Indeed, the influence, activities, momentum and ripple effect generated by the former New PDP bloc was significant in the victory of APC in the entire elections in the whole country.
The group listed some grievances, which it said if addressed, would lead to a symphonic APC where justice, equity, fairness and peace will rein.
The new PDP added that the resolution of the issues would also enable APC reinvigorate the pace of national development and go to the 2019 general election as one united party.”
Listing their grievances, they said, “In the constitution of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) the New PDP bloc was generously sidelined as virtually no position was conceded to it. The only member of FEC that belong to former New PDP bloc comes from a state that contributed virtually no vote to the APC in the 2015 presidential election
“There has been no significant patronage and appointments to executive positions in various government agencies such as Chief Executive and Executive Directors of government agencies and parastatals, as members of our block of the party continue to helplessly watch as these positions are shared by the erstwhile CPC, ACN, ANPP and even APGA blocs of the party and those who have no party at all.
“In appointments into Boards of various government agencies, very few former New PDP members were patronised. These are however not commensurate with our contributions to the growth and Victory of the party.
When members of the former New PDP block showed interest in running for the offices of President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, they were subjected to a vicious and relentless political opposition as if they were not legitimate members of the APC family”.
The new PDP further noted in the letter: “During the party primaries preparatory to the 2015 General Elections, most of the promises made to sitting members of the National Assembly who belonged to the former new PDP in terms of a level playing field were reneged upon or observed more in breach.
“There has been general lack of consultation, non recognition and even persecution of former New PDP members and leaders by the party and government. For example, some of our leaders are denied the security cover necessary to visit their constituencies even though they are elected representatives of the people in a government they sacrificed so much for.
“Harassment, intimidation and persecution of former New PDP leaders by the government is still an ongoing affair. We do not want to overstate the obvious by cataloguing names of former new PDP stalwarts that are targets of this political pogrom. There is inadequate reflection of programme and policy contributions of members of the former New PDP bloc in the running of the government.
“Our belief is that it does not augur well for our party if a section of it feels that it is being treated as outcasts and meddlesome interlopers in the party they rightly belong with the legitimate expectation to be treated with justice both in the running of the party and the government”.
Accordingly, the former new PDP members requested for an urgent meeting with the president as the leader of the party and the party executive leadership to find lasting solutions to the issues raised in their letter.
This, they said, would prepare the party as a fighting force to deliver more strongly on its manifesto and face the 2019 general election with greater commitment.
The meeting will also enable us to work out modalities to ensure a level playing field for all in the Congresses and Convention of the APC.
The group continued: “Given the constraining factor of available time and in the interest of our great party, it is strongly advised that the said urgent meeting be held not later than Seven (7) days from the date of the receipt of this letter.
“In conclusion, we the members of the former New PDP block of the APC wish to reiterate that this letter is written patriotically with the best of intentions and the good of our party, the APC, and is issued to alert the leadership of the APC and in particular, the leader of our party, President Muhammadu Buharl, GCFR, who only recently indicated his intention to seek a second term as President, of grievances that exist Within the party with a View to ensuring Justice for all members of the APC family regardless of the blocs they came from prior to the formation of the APC.”
Meanwhile, former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, will today declare his ambition to gun for the national chairmanship of the APC.
Oshiomhole told journalists in Benin yesterday that he is joining the chairmanship race with a view to contributing his quota to the growth of the APC.
“It is true that I intend to make my ambition known to our party members and Nigerians. I strongly believe that with the experience I have gathered in my public life, haven served as President of the NLC, governor of Edo State, I have what it takes to take our dear party, the ruling party to the next level”, he stated.
Return Home, APC Has Nothing To Offer, PDP Tells Saraki, Others
Meanwhile, the national leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday told members of the nPDP in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to return to their former party because their current party has nothing to offer them.
The national publicity secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, stated this while reacting to the ultimatum given the leadership of APC by members of the nPDP on some of their grievances in the party.
Noting that the PDP will lead a coalition, Ologbondiyan said that the APC is moving without a soul and has demonstrated it can kill the country’s democracy.
He said, “They should return home; APC has nothing to offer them, and the democratic setting that they left in PDP they can never find in APC. APC is an amalgam; it is moving without its soul. It has demonstrated in three years that it can only kill our democracy; it cannot give it life.
“The democrats who left the Peoples Democratic Party and went on sojourn to APC should return back to their home. PDP is going to lead a coalition of every Nigerian who is sick and tired of the drift towards totalitarianism and autocracy.”
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