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Thursday, 10 May 2018

Crisis hits APC as nPDP writes to Oyegun over marginalisation

The crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress appears set to take a turn for the worse as members of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party bloc have given the strongest indication of a possible exit.

A former National Chairman of the nPDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje,  led a five-member delegation, which held a closed-door meeting with the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee of the APC, at the party’s National Secretariat, in Abuja, on Wednesday.

The meeting followed a four-page petition signed by Baraje and a former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, dated April 27, 2018.

Baraje, who addressed members of the press after the meeting, said they were at the APC headquarters to register their displeasure with the shoddy treatment meted out to the bloc since the APC came to power in 2015.

The former chairman while responding to a question as to whether members of the bloc were leaving the APC, he said, “We are here to discuss with our national chairman on how to strengthen our party.”

However, contents of the petition which chronicled the grievances of members of the bloc, paint a slightly different picture.

The petition which was addressed to Odigie-Oyegun read in part, “We the members of the All Progressives Congress, who moved over from the People’s Democratic Party to form the APC before the 2015 general elections in Nigeria,  are desirous of strengthening our party especially now that new party congresses have commenced and the convention and another round of general elections are imminent.

“Obviously, this cannot be achieved without addressing fundamental issues which we wish to raise in this letter.

“ We, therefore, wish, with due respect, to restate our expectation then and now that the APC we all laboured to build would be one united, inclusive, cohesive and progressive party devoid of divisions, factions, cleavages and tendencies.”

He explained that while it was a fact that those who moved over from the nPDP to form the APC contributed immensely to the electoral victory being enjoyed today, their sacrifices had not been acknowledged or appreciated.

Specifically, the letter read, “These efforts, contributions and sacrifice were made in spite of the fact that the presidential ticket was taken by the erstwhile Congress for Progressive Change, and the Action Congress of Nigeria blocs of the party. It is a matter for grave concern that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has never publicly acknowledged our efforts…”

Baraje added, “At this stage, we would chronicle a few grievances which if addressed will lead to a harmonious APC where justice, equity, fairness and peace will reign and enable APC avoid rancour, reinvigorate the pace of national development and face the 2019 general elections as one united party.

He listed the nPDP’s grievances to include non-inclusion in the Federal Executive Council, no significant patronage and appointments into executive positions in various government agencies, marginalisation, unkept promises and general lack of consultation, non-recognition and even persecution of former nPDP members and leaders by the party and the government.

“There is an 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 an outcast 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.”

The aggrieved party members went on to request an urgent meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and the party executive leadership to find lasting solutions to the issues raised.

He said this was necessary “to prepare the party as a fighting force to deliver more pungently on its manifesto and face the 2019 general elections with even greater commitment.”

The letter further read, “Given the constraining factor of available time and in the interest of our great party, it is strongly advised that the said urgent meeting be held not later than seven days from the date of the receipt of this letter.

Attempts to get an official reaction from the APC national chairman were unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report at 5.28 pm.

The party leadership was still locked in a meeting with its governorship aspirants from Ekiti State.

Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus, has appealed to former members of the party to return.

He said the party was being rebranded and that its leadership was ready to accept them.

He said it was unfortunate that the APC could treat those he described as formidable politicians that contributed to its electoral success in 2015 with disdain.

 He said, “I will want my brothers and sisters who left the PDP to join the APC to return home.

“The PDP is their party. They should by now know that they are in a strange land where they are not seen as human beings despite their immense contribution to the formation and electoral victory of the ruling party.

 “The PDP has rebranded and we have tendered an apology to Nigerians for mistakes we made in the past that made our members leave. Now is the time for them to return and join hands with other patriotic Nigerians to rescue our country and reposition it.

“The APC, unlike the PDP, is not a political party but a group of desperate Nigerians who wanted power at all costs. Having won the power, it has become extremely difficult for them to settle down to govern because there is no synergy among the various groups that formed the ruling party.”

Also, the spokesman for the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, said he had not yet read the letter when he was contacted on the telephone by one of our correspondents on Wednesday.

He said, “It is nothing new. Most of the key stakeholders in the APC who are feeling marginalised now should realise that if he (Buhari) is treating them this badly while seeking a second term, it can only get worse for them if he finally wins a second term.

“When a man seeks re-election and treats you as a ‘nobody,’ how do you think he will treat you when he finally gets a second term and doesn’t need you anymore?

“It is a reflection of the clannish, nepotistic style of Buhari’s leadership. Junaid Mohammed made it clear when he revealed that Buhari only surrounds himself with his kith and kin.”

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