In a bid to contain certain grievances within the party fold and save the party from impending disintegration, the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will today meet with members of the Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led faction of the new PDP (nPDP).
The meeting billed to hold at 2:00pm toady is coming at the instance of a letter written to the national chairman of the governing party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, by the former leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who defected to the APC in 2013.
They teamed up with the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to form the APC.
The bloc known then as nPDP contributed in dislodging the PDP from its 16-year rule in the 2015 general election.
The Baraje-led nPDP who stormed the party’s national headquarters in Abuja penultimate Tuesday with the letter addressed to the APC leadership and copied President Buhari demanded an urgent meeting with the leadership of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari “within seven days”.
Although they did not state their next line of action, there is growing concern that they may pull out of the party, which is already bedeviled by crisis following rancorous congresses nationwide, if their concerns are not readily accommodated.
Disclosing that his group will meet with the party leadership today, Baraje told journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital yesterday that the nPDP is made up of men and women who cannot be pushed aside.
Baraje who lamented the high rate of internal conflicts within the ruling APC, culminating in parallel state congresses in about 21 states, said contrary to insinuations in some quarters the nPDP’s recent letter to the leadership of the APC was to forestall such occurrences.
Pointing out that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) never had such internal wrangling as is evident in the APC, he warned that if the APC fails to heed the request of the nPDP, its forthcoming national convention might become an avenue to wash its dirty linens openly.
He expressed concern over the path being trodden by leaders of the APC, saying what members of the nPDP are witnessing in the APC is worse than what they experienced in the PDP.
He referred to the resignation of the group’s secretary and former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as signal to what may happen if members are not able to convince their followers about the need to remain in the APC.
Baraje added however that nPDP members would not immediately pull out of the APC if the party fails to meet their demands.
According to him, like the nPDP members did in the last administration, they would still go ahead and meet with several leaders across the country to stop what he termed impunity within the party.
He said, “The last time we met here (Baraje’s house) in 2016, I told you that the way the party was going we were on the road to perdition. If you look at the letter we wrote we never said we gave ultimatum but that we advised them. We hinted the party because of its ongoing primaries.
“Now, the party has invited us exactly on the seventh day of the letter and they wanted us to meet that same day but because we were speaking for several leaders across the country, we told them we couldn’t meet that same day. So now they have scheduled a meeting for tomorrow (Monday) anytime from 2:00pm”.
He dismissed the counter position of the group led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu on the letter written by his faction, saying the nPDP is such a large group that it cannot but have some black legs.
“We have travelled a long way with the APC and now we are seeing things getting worse in APC than in PDP. If we are leaders worth the name we should be bold enough to speak about it”, he said.
When contacted, APC national publicity secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, denied any knowledge of the meeting, just as he said he had no information about the said meeting.
In a terse response, Abdullahi said, “I don’t have any information in that regard”.
Some of the grievances listed by nPDP in the letter were that none of its members was “appointed into the Federal Executive Council, except one who did not deliver his state in 2015 (an obvious reference to Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers and minister of transportation)
“No significant patronage and appointments to executive positions in various government agencies. When members showed interest in running for the offices of Senate president and Speaker, they were opposed by the APC hierarchy”, the group noted.
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