SOLOMON AYADO writes on the seeming unending in-house fiasco in the All Progressives Congress (APC) involving the nPDP bloc and the chances of resolving it for good.
Not few believed that there will be a major break-up or implosion at the recently held national convention of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) due to the crises rocking party, which remained unresolved before the biggest gathering of the party faithful.
The crises had taken a dangerous twist as one of the blocs in the party, the nPDP indicated interest to pull out in the event of any eventuality.
Despite efforts by the Presidency particularly Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the party’s national leader, Bola Tinubu to resolve the squables in a more matured and harmonious manner, the differences remained manifest.
The crux of the matter is that the nPDP is agrieved with the governance style of President Buhari and the party, the APC. Of course, both Buhari and APC have blatantly shown no remorse to the expressed grievances by the nPDP elements.
While President Buhari reportedly said if the nPDP has any greivance, it should be channeled to the party for amicable resolution, the peeved nPDP is but unhappy and very insistent that Buhari is the leader of the party, hence, he should notice all frays of members with responsibility to proffer solutions.
There were reports that the nPDP planned to stage a walk-out during the convention even as it was gathered that the APC planned to prevent admittance of all nPDP members to the convention ground.
Even as nothing as such happened at the convention ground, the fact still remains that, all is not well with the party given the unresolved grievances of nPDP, among other concerns.
Before now, the nPDP had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the leadership of the party to convene a meeting to address all the grievances of its members.
Among many issues, the nPDP also told the APC leadership and President Buhari to “stop treating its members as outcasts and meddlesome interlopers in the party they rightly belong.”
According to reports, they had accused the Buhari-led government of sidelining, harassing, intimidating and victimising its members.
This was contained in a letter, dated April 27, 2018, jointly signed by nPDP chairman and secretary, Alhaji Kawu Baraje and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola respectively, and addressed to the immediate past APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun with forwarded copies to President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo.
In the letter, the nPDP further stated that “In the constitution of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the New PDP bloc was generally sidelined as virtually no position was conceded to it. The only member of FEC that belonged 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 executives and executive directors of government agencies and parastatals as members of our bloc 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.
“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,” they complained.
It added that harassment, intimidation and persecution of former New PDP leaders by the government, is still an ongoing affair.
“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,” it further said.
Consequently, after all said, what the nPDP wanted was to call for an urgent meeting to address their grievances, and to be held between it and Buhari.
They said the meeting would sort out the grievances that exist within the party with a view to ensuring justice for all members, and to also enable a work out of modalities to ensure a level playing field for all in the recently held congresses and convention of the APC.
But the content of the nPDP’s letter quickly attracted reactions. The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, urged the agrieved nPDP members to come home because, APC has nothing to offer them.
Also, it was expected that Buhari will meet with the nPDP but somehow, the opposite was the case.
Instead, it was Osinbajo that met with the aggrieved members for a truce but almost immediately, the nPDP announced its plan to pull out of the dialogue with the APC-led federal government after the Police accused Senate President Bukola Saraki of having a hand in the deadly Offa bank robberies.
It announced in a statement signed by Baraje and accused the Nigerian presidency of double-standard and lack of good faith in the dialogue it entered with the aggrieved members of the nPDP.
According to Baraje, “the police invitation of Senate President Bukola Saraki for questioning in a case of armed robbery and murder among indicators of the government’s alleged half-heartedness, among other issues formed reasons for their pull out.”
While the disagreement lingered on, the national convention of the APC came. Some of the members of the nPDP attended it while others failed. Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara graced the occassion.
Before then, the ward and state congresses of the party that was terribly marred by vioelence and protests, were greeted by fracas and unresolved feud among party members.
But citing reasons why the nPDP attended the APC convention, leader of the bloc, Baraje explained that the group decided “to attend the Saturday convention of APC because they wanted to demonstrate to the world and entire Nigerians and particularly to their supporters that they are loyal to the party.”
Categorically, Baraje said in a statement that it does not mean that all the group’s grievances earlier stated in their letter had been addressed.
“We still believe that our loyalty should be demonstrated, that is why we attended the convention. The convention is on going, despite the fact that there are so many litigations in the court against the party arising from parallel primaries in over 18 States of the Federation,” he had said.
Noting further, he stated that “the fact that we were able to attend the APC convention and the convention went on well, is not an interpretation that the suffering of the masses had been alleviated and is not an answer that the security in the country which has been seriously jeopardized is being addressed.”
However, accepting the obvious that the group remains focused to pursue solutions to its grievances, Baraje warned that “even if the APC convention goes on very well it is not yet uhuru because the foundation of the convention is shaking and because there are so many aggrieved party members and stakeholders and the party is aware of this.”
“We want to appreciate the entire Nigerians and our supporters and we want to let them know that our struggle is still on course and until the party addresses some the major areas of concerns that will make live easy for Nigerians we remain undoubted,” he added.
As it stands, it is not yet clear whether the unexpected will happen in the coming days. No one can say whether the nPDP have shelved their demands regarding the grievances, just as it is uncertain if APC can dismiss the nPDP with a mere wave of the hand.
The big unanswered questions are: is nPDP members really ready for any dialogue? Would they resort to defection? And is the APC willing to extend any olive branch and or address the grievances of the nPDP members? Or would APC rather employ the stick approach? Only time will tell.
The same time, the newly elected chairman of APC, former Edo State governor Adams Oshiomhole has taken over mantle of leadership of the party with a promise to resolve all crisis. It is rather hoped that amicable resolutions would be evolved, and very urgently too.
At the moment, it is not yet established whether nPDP is any threat to APC or vice versa. But because the APC too must ensure that it put its house in order, there is a glaring possibility for the unexpected to occur soon. In whatever way, only time shall tell where the political pendulum will swing.
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