Because of gimmicks and political manoeuvrings ahead of 2019, the political bigwigs have formed cleavages with serious threats on one another. SOLOMON AYADO writes on the seeming unending in-house disagreement between new PDP bloc and the All Progressives Congress (APC)
virtually everybody perceived that there would be a major break-up immediately after the recently held national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) owing to the crisis rocking the party which had taken a dangerous twist as one of the party’s bloc, the New Peoples Democratic Party (new PDP) indicated a pull out interest.
Despite the seeming efforts from the Presidency particularly the Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and the party’s national leader, Bola Tinubu, to resolve the squabbles in a more mature and harmonious manner, the disagreement is obviously raging and very tough.
The crux is that the new PDP is aggrieved with the governance style of President Muhammadu Buhari and the party, the APC. Of course, both Buhari and the APC have blatantly shown no remorse to the claimed grievances rolled out by the new PDP bloc.
The President Buhari while claiming that if the new PDP had grievances should channel them to the party for onward amicable resolution, the peeved new PDP is unhappy and very insistent that Buhari is the leader of the party, and like the head of a family, should notice all frays of members with responsibility to proffer calm.
To show that matters were worse, it was learnt that the new PDP had planned to stage a walk-out during the convention. Also, it was gathered that the APC planned to prevent admittance of all new PDP members to the convention ground.
Surprisingly, no one can authoritatively ascertain whether any of these initial plans came to reality. Although the fact remains that all is not well with the party given the grievances of new PDP.
Before now, the new PDP had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the leadership of the ruling party, APC to convene a meeting to address all the grievances of its members.
Among many issues, the new PDP also told the APC leadership and President Muhammadu 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, signed by former newPDP National Chairman and National Secretary, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and addressed to the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun with forwarded copies to President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
It will be recalled that the New PDP bloc was led by then Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) before several others followed. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar later joined in 2014. Other key members of the then ruling PDP, who later defected to the APC are Senator Bukola Saraki and then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, now governor of Sokoto State, among others.
In the letter, the new PDP 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.
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 New PDP 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 Congresses and Convention of the APC.
But the position of the New PDP’s letter quickly attracted reactions. The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, urged the aggrieved New PDP members to come home because, APC has nothing to offer them.
Also, it was being expected that Buhari and his party would meet with the new PDP but somehow, the opposite was the case.
Instead, it was Vice President Yemi Osibanjo that met with the aggrieved members for a truce but almost immediately, the new PDP said they would pull out of dialogue with the APC-led Federal Government. Buhari refused to meet with them.
It announced in a statement by the chairman, Kawu 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 ruling party under 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 new PDP 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, was attributed heavily and largely to fracas and unresolved feud between members of the new PDP and APC.
Cases of agrieved new PDP members and ruling APC constituting parralel ward and state excos was evident. As it was, the natonal convention was highly expected to end in shambles.
Ofcourse, the surprising attendance of the APC convention by the new PDP was rather, to many, came as rudely unexpected. Similarly, why the APC never prevented the new PDP from participation was another spring of surprise.
In all shock, nothing is new in politics hence the popular adage that no permanent friend nor enemy. It depicts that serious political equations must have prompted the uncertain scenario that played out during the convention.
But giving reasons why the new PDP attended the APC convention, leader of the bloc, Alhaji Kawu 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 while in the reaction 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 ongoing, 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,” said Alhaji Baraje
As it stands, it is not yet clear whether the unexpected may happen in the coming days. No one can say whether the new PDP has shelved its demands regarding the grievances, just as it is uncertain if the APC can ignore the new PDP with a common wave of hand.
The serious worry is that by now, the big crack would have expectedly break open as to whether there can be massive defections or not, and or if a truce eventually might be reached. Feelers are however that anything can happen, sooner or not later.
The big unanswered questions are: is new PDP members really ready for any diallogue? would they resort to any planning to defect? And is the APC willing to throw any olive branch and or address the grievances of the new PDP? Or would APC rather employ the stick approach? who is threatening who?
One serious fear which both the new PDP and APC have is failure to win election in 2019. The new PDP members are said to have had varied corruption cases hanged on their neck and if any over-hard push for redress of their grievances by Buhari and his party, jail or otherwise is handy consequence. Also, if APC prolong to botching any diallogue, it would be minus and even dangerous incase new PDP make defection moves back into its home PDP or other opposition political parties.
At the same time, the new chairman of APC, former Edo State Governor Adams Oshomole has taken over mantle of leadership of the party with promise to resolving all crisis with wand. It is rather hoped that amicable resolutions would be evolved, and very urgently too.
At the moment, it is not established whether new PDP is any threat to APC or vice versa. But because the APC too must ensure that it put it’s house in order, there is 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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