Indications emerged yesterday that ahead of Saturday’s national elective convention of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), the names of the outgoing national officers seeking reelection might be removed and replaced in the “Unity list.”
The last minute removal and replacement of names in the unity list, LEADERSHIP gathered, is to garner the support of critical stakeholders.
However, the outgoing national secretary of the party, Mai Mala Buni, is the only current member of the National Working Committee (NWC) who is said to have made the said “unity list.”
It was also learnt that the governors’ meeting scheduled to hold tonight was geared towards fine-tuning a secret but contentious ‘unity list’ ahead of the convention.
The meeting of the governors became necessary because “Some members of the party are working on different agenda, which may lead to either walk-out by the aggrieved members or total parallel national convention”, a dependable source within the party told our correspondent.
This last minute overtures is coming just as some of the aspirants are expressing concerns over alleged foul play in the said list.
They have threatened to walkout of the convention if the process is not allowed to be free and fair for all contenders.
When contacted to know whether some of the aspirants were part of the zonal consultations ahead of the convention, an aspirant for the office of the national vice chairman, Northeast, Dr Umar Duhu, said no one has either convened a meeting in his zone or invited him for any meeting to discuss anything consensus.
He said, “It will be laughable to suggest among others that the meeting of APC governors slated for Wednesday will produce the so-called unity list without recourse to the aspirants who are the most critical stakeholders.
“Therefore, if some contestants feel loathed, humiliated and would be expressing their dissatisfaction by venting their anger resulting from any undemocratic spurns, they will be doing so within their rights, as those that genuinely bought forms, screened and have spent resources campaigning.”
Duhu, however, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take charge “so that the APC convention will not become a crying shame under his watch.”
A contender for one of the national office in the party who craved anonymity also decried what he described as plot by some members of the outgoing executives to get themselves re-elected.
The aspirant pleaded with the president to wade in “to avert any untoward ugly incident before, during and after the convention that may significantly dampen the chances of APC ahead of 2019.”
LEADERSHIP finding revealed that the said “unity list” may lead to protest from some other aspirants across the six geo-political zones as the decision on who gets what was done by few persons.
Even though the convention committee has dispelled fears of a unity list insisting that no such list is in existence, there are concerns among stakeholders that there is indeed a unity list.
nPDP Talks Tough, Says APC Will Die
Meanwhile, aggrieved members of a power bloc within the All Progressives Congress (APC), popularly called the new Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday declared that the governing party would collapse if they defect en masse from the party.
The nPDP members, who expressed displeasure over the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to meet with them over their grievances, boasted that they had the numbers to cripple the APC ahead of 2019.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP yesterday, a member of the group, former deputy national publicity secretary of the APC, Timi Frank, said the president was making the same mistake that his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, made ahead of the 2015 general election.
Frank, who maintained that none of their demands had been met, added that their group will make a final decision on their next move very soon.
Reacting to media reports that the president has ruled out meeting with the group, Frank said, “We are just hearing it. There is no official notification to our group or to any of our leaders. We have not been told anything from the president or anybody directly over whether he will meet with us or not.
“But some of us believe it may be mere speculation, but if the report is true that the president said it, then we are very disappointed with his statement and we can assure you that our group is one that no politician or reasonable person can undermine because we have the capacity and numbers.
“If we leave APC today with our numbers, I can assure you that it will be dead on arrival in 2019. Remember, this was how former President Goodluck Jonathan, then in PDP, ignored us when we were crying. They said we could leave, that we are not important, but as soon as we left PDP, the party died and APC came to stay. So, if today APC is trying to toe the same line, so be it. I can tell you clearly that we have the numbers.”
He added that their demands to the party still stand, insisting that they must be met.
“If they don’t meet our demands and they are not ready to talk to us, at the appropriate time we are going to take a position that all Nigerians will hear. But I can tell you, as at today, we still believe it is mere rumour, but if it is true, the APC will have a price to pay when we take our decision.”
Frank added that in a very short time they would take a final decision on their next line of action, adding that whatever move they make would be in the interest of Nigerians.
“Nothing has changed; they have not done anything about our complaints. But like we have said, we have made our complaints known to them; it is left for them to look into them or ignore them. But I can assure you that in a very short time, we will take a decision and it will either make or mar the APC as a party. I can also assure you that whatever decision we take will be in the interest of the Nigerian people. It will benefit those who believe in us. There is nothing to be worried about. We have been consulting and talking to ourselves and our position will be made clearly in the shortest possible time,” he added.
PMB Will Meet With nPDP Members – Presidency
But the presidency yesterday refuted media report suggesting that President Muhammadu Buhari has ruled out meeting with the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), faction.
The said report had quoted Buhari as saying that he will never sit down for discussion with the aggrieved members of the nPDP.
According to the report, a top government official disclosed that Buhari had conveyed his position on the matter to state governors elected on the platform of the APC during a meeting he had with them recently.
But a top presidential source who spoke with LEADERSHIP on condition of anonymity yesterday pointed out that the president only wanted intervention in the matter to be kick-started at state and party levels and from there progress gradually to presidential level when he will take final briefings on findings.
He explained that what the president said was that, while the meeting was still ongoing among the nPDP, party leaders and governors, he would not like to interfere until the necessary avenues are exhausted.
The source added that indeed talks with the group have been progressive and consequently moved from party and state levels to the presidency where it is currently being superintended over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
He further explained that the president is only waiting at the end of the entire discussion process to be briefed on findings, adding that the president’s current decision is aimed at avoiding interrupting the already ongoing process before it gets to his level.
According to him, the president had no intention to snub anyone but only wanted to observe due process.
The source said, “The decision not to meet nPDP is to show respect for the party and governors who the president believes are party leaders in their various states. A process has begun, with the party talking to those feeling estranged. The meeting has risen to the level of the vice-president.
“This is expected to continue. At the culmination of these meetings, the president will obviously be briefed. Before that point is reached, the president will not meddle or interfere. He is staying above it all, not arising from arrogance or that he is snubbing anyone. The president expects that the due process should be observed in all situations and that is what he is doing.”
LEADERSHIP recalls that two weeks ago the nPDP suspended talks with the presidency.
The power bloc within the APC said it has stopped all forms of dialogue with the leadership of the party, citing alleged victimisation of its members, including Senate President Bukola Saraki and Kwara State governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed, as part of reasons for its decision.
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