The seven day-ultimatum given President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) has led to the emergence of a splinter group within the power bloc.
Last week, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje had led some members of the nPDP, one of the power blocs that fused into the APC before the 2015 general election, to the APC national headquarters in Abuja where they expressed their grievances to the party’s leadership.
They gave the party’s leadership a seven day-ultimatum, which expires today, to convene an emergency meeting to address their grievances, including alleged maltreatment of its member by the presidency and the party.
But in a dramatic turn of event, another delegation of the nPDP led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu stormed the party’s national secretariat yesterday where they distanced themselves from the position of the Baraje-led nPDP.
Senator Adamu, while addressing journalists at the APC national secretariat, said the nPDP has not met since 2014 and as such the Baraje-led group couldn’t have been speaking for the nPDP as a whole since they did not consult with anyone.
In a letter signed by the group’s chairman, Senator Adamu; deputy chairman, Chief Theodore Geogewill and secretary, Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin, the splinter group punctured all the points raised by the Baraje-bloc.
In the letter, which was also copied to President Muhammadu Buhari and a leader of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Senator Adamu-led faction of the nPDP reaffirmed their support and confidence in the APC and President Buhari, saying they do not in any way feel marginalised or maltreated.
The letter obtained by LEADERSHIP noted: “We ordinarily would have ignored such a joke but it is a dangerous joke taken too far. How can you explain that one of the two signatories to the letter, Col Olagunsoye Oyinlola (rtd) has since left the APC for the African Democratic Party (ADP) after going on AWOL to the Obasanjo Coalition for Nigeria?
“Yet, the same person is asking to meet the APC leadership to address grievances. This clearly shows the sinister motive behind the letter, which is not far from destabilising the party at this most critical time.
“In any case, the letter is full of contradictions, false assertions, misrepresentations, distortion of history and facts and in many instances outright lies. We as initiators and founding members of the defunct nPDP therefore wish to condemn and disassociate ourselves from the letter and apologise for the obvious embarrassment the letter has caused our party and government.
“We wish to reaffirm our support and confidence in the party and Mr President, and we do not in any way feel marginalised or maltreated, as we are clearly in the league of the biggest beneficiaries of the party.”
On the issue of marginalisation as alleged by the Baraje bloc, the splinter group stated: “The APC has been very gracious to us but we must not overstretch our luck. We have concentrated in pointing accusing fingers at the President and Party and generally others, while we failed to look inward and address the greed, selfishness, witch-hunt, injustice and high handedness exhibited by some leaders of the defunct nPDP in privileged positions today against our fellow members.
“We only remember that the nPDP ever existed when it is time to advance our personal and often selfish interest. Let us be careful not to become a cancer to any house we seek to join or gain specialty in trying to destroy every house we help to build. We must introspect and change our ways”.
They however advised the party and the president that in the event where they to grant audience to the group led by Kawu Baraje, “the Buhari supporters who are now in the majority in the defunct nPDP should be invited to the meeting as well.
“For it seems the petitioners no longer stand for the ideals of the defunct nPDP nor represent our collective interest and position”, the splinter group added.
Court Dismisses Oyegun’s Tenure Elongation Suit
Meanwhile, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of an Abuja Federal High Court yesterday dismissed two separate suits challenging the one-year tenure extension granted the national chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
In his judgment, the judge held that the suits marked FHC/ABJ/CS/237/2018 and FHC/ABJ/CS/219/2018 have become lifeless, academic and hypothetical.
The court also said that the subject matter of both suits have been overtaken by events, noting that APC has already started conducting congresses into offices affected by the proposed tenure elongation.
The court said it took into judicial notice the fact that the APC conducted its ward congresses on April 5, organised local government congresses on May 12 and fixed May 19 to hold its congresses at the state level.
Besides, the court noted that national convention of the party was originally billed to take place today (Monday May 14) but was subsequently postponed to June.
Justice Dimgba said, “It has turned out that attempt to extend the tenure of current officials of the 2nd defendant was abandoned”.
He said the implication of the ongoing congresses being conducted by the APC was that new officials would take over from the Odigie-Oyegun led executives upon expiration of their tenure on June 30.
Justice Dimgba however added that he was satisfied that there was indeed an attempt to extend the tenure of the current leadership of the APC, saying such action would have been unconstitutional and in gross violation of section 223 of the 1999 constitution, as amended.
Earlier, the court dismissed contention of both APC and Odigie-Oyegun that it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit, which they claimed was within the realm of domestic affairs of a political party.
The Judge held that the court had the power to hear the matter since it not only touched on the interpretation of provisions of the constitution, but equally involved a relief against a federal government agency.
“A court of law should not ordinarily involve in internal affairs of a political party, but when such affairs are in contravention of the Nigerian constitution, the constitution of the party or any other law, jurisdiction of the court will be invoked automatically”, he ruled.
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