…We’re not bothered – Oshiomhole
…Party threatens legal action
The All Progressives Congress (APC) is enmeshed in crisis following the formation of the Reformed APC, by some aggrieved members of the nPDP block within the party over allegations of being sidelined and unjustified persecution of its members.
Emergence of nPDP In 2013, the political ally of the Senate President, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, led a group of aggrieved members of the PDP to seek justice and fair treatment in the party.
In championing their cause, they accused former President Goodluck Jonathan of persecuting its members.
The group also accused the then Bamanga Tukur leadership of the party of frustrating all the peace moves made to restore sanity, and concluded that all issues it raised, through the Olusegun Obasanjo-led elders committee, were turned down.
The group said instead of its proposals being critically examined by the president, its members are being hunted and persecuted by the government across the country.
It cited the arrest of its members in Bayelsa and Gombe states.
The faction also accused Tukur of pursuing a hidden agenda by setting up parallel chapters in states where “he has nobody backing him to ensure that PDP is destroyed without any remedy.” The group also said some its demands presented at the series of meetings with the president were the restoration of normalcy in Rivers state and the demand for the Tukur leadership to uphold the result of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum election that saw Governor Amaechi winning 19 to 16 votes against Governor Jang.
Others, it said, were the request for the removal of Tukur as the party’s National Chairman, due to what it described as his “flawed election as our party Chairman,” and ending the impunity in Adamawa state.
In the beginning, the group had Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso, Kano; Aliyu Wamakko, Sokoto; Murtala Nyako, Adamawa; Chibuike Amaechi, Rivers; Sule Lamido, Jigawa; as well as former governors Adamu Aliero of Kebbi state; Bukola Saraki of Kwara state; Danjuma Goje, Gombe state; and Abdullahi Adamu, Nasarawa state as some of its notable members.
But when all issues it raised remained unattended to, the group formed a faction called nPDP, the structure which later collapsed into the APC when it was formed.
However, the former governors of Jigawa and Niger states, Alhaji Sule Lamido and Alhaji Babaginda Aliyu, who were sitting governors later backed out of the arrangement and stayed put at PDP.
Expectedly, during the 2015 general elections, the nPDP group teamed up with the APC to send PDP, which had ruled the country for 16 years, out of power.
Its travails But as soon as the APC clinched power, war of wits began among its members, the development which remains unabated till date.
The internal wrangling in the party became pronounced in June, 2015, when the election of the 8th National Assembly leadership was due and members of the ACN, ANPP and CPC blocks were favoured without any consideration for the nPDP members.
For instance, Senator Ahmed Lawan of the defunct ANPP was picked as APC’s candidate for the position of Senate President while Deputy Senate President was reserved for George Akume of the defunct ACN.
In the House of Representatives, ACN’s Femi Gbajabiamila got the nod to be the Speaker as the CPC was to produce the Deputy Speaker.
However, against the will of the party, PDP defectors led by Bukola Saraki won the support of all lawmakers elected on the platform of the PDP in their quest to take the position of Senate President.
The game in the lower chamber also changed as Yakubu Dogara, also a PDP defector, emerged as the Speaker.
According to the pundits, the travails of members of the nPDP block in APC started with the emergence of both Saraki and Dogara as the leaders of the 8th National Assembly without the backing of the APC leadership could be said to have laid the foundation for agitations for the rights and privileges of members of each of the blocks that formed APC.
Renewed agitations Last May, after a closed door meeting with the former APC National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun in Abuja, the leadership of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) expressed dismay over its members’ neglect by the APC and the federal government despite their contributions to the eventual success of the fledgling party in the 2015 general elections.
The group, led by former acting national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, told the press that it had forwarded a letter dated April 27, 2018 to the APC National Working Committee, copied the President, and other relevant leaders of the party.
In a letter titled “Request for redressing of grievances of the former new PDP block within the All Progressives Congress”, it said among others that despite their contribution to the success of the APC, their members have been relegated to the background in the scheme of things in the party.
Explaining in graphic details, the nPDP adduced that its members’ contribution to the overall victory of the APC thus: “The stubborn facts are as follows: In Kano state, APC scored 1,903,999 in 2015, and in Kwara 302,146.
ln Sokoto state it scored 671,926, and 374 701 in Adamawa.
In Kebbl state, APC had 567,883 votes and 885,988 in Jigawa.
It was the same story in Gombe (459,898); Kogi (284,851) and Benue (373,961) votes.
The group, though its position was later countered by Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led group, requested to meet with the president and threatened to pull out if its requests are not met.
Consequently, the group linked its grievances to the persecution of Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Senator Dino Melaye, among others.
Though the nPDP has twice held meetings with the leadership of the APC, it eventually ended further dialogue insisting that the main issues were not being addressed.
It demanded for a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
However, their hope seemed to have been dashed following claims that Mr.
President is not favourably disposed to such meeting, but would wish they continued talks with the Vice President, Prof.
“I am not ready to sit down with any faction.
If they have problems, they should go to the party.
I will not interfere.
Governors as party leaders in the states should deal with all issues.
Where there is a need, the party leadership can come in.
“I will not get involved,” the president reportedly said.
This, however, did not augur well with some members of the party as some of them reportedly declared that the “APC will suffer if it ignores them.” Walking the talk In what appears as acting its threat, the nPDP bloc announced the formation of a new political organisation which they called the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC) and proclaimed a new National Executive Committee (NEC) and chairmen for its state chapters.
In an attempt to authenticate its existence, the new faction of the APC declared the new APC national executive elected penultimate weekend “illegal, upon violations of the party’s Constitution.” The most interesting aspect of the whole saga is the emergence of Engr.
Buba Galadima, the erstwhile secretary of The Buhari Organisation (TBO), which was until about a five years ago, the think-tank of Buhari’s political machine as the National Chairman of the new faction of the party.
While marshalling his point for ditching the APC, Galadima said “as men of courage, integrity and goodwill, the R-APC had to take actions in order to save Nigeria from the current slide, bloodletting, insecurity, nepotism, and dictatorship of the current administration.
Galadima speaks “We are sad to report that after more than three years of governance, our hopes have been betrayed, our expectations completely dashed.
The APC has run a rudderless, inept and incompetent government that has failed to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people.
It has rather imposed dictatorship, impunity, abuse of power, complete abdication of constitutional and statutory responsibilities, infidelity to the rule of law and constitutionalism.
It has failed to ensure the security and welfare of our people and elevated nepotism to unacceptable height.
The APC has failed to deliver on its key promises to the nation.
There is no evidence of any political will to reverse the decline of our party, while leaders who have created these circumstances continue to behave as if Nigerians owe our party votes as a matter of right.
“The APC government has been a monumental disaster, even worse than the government it replaced.
The political party that was a vehicle for enthroning the government was rendered powerless by manipulations and complete lack of due process in its operations; then the unacceptable national congress.
The last straw was the Congresses and Convention of the APC held recently.
The Congresses were intensely disputed as it was conducted with impunity, total disregard for due process, disregard for the party Constitution and naked display of power and practices that have no place in a party we all worked the very hard to put in place.
“There are countless cases in courts all over the country challenging the legality of congresses and even the National Convention itself.
It is very likely that the judicial decisions on these cases will result in massive chaos, confusion and uncertainties.
The fate of a party in this state with a few months to the elections is best left to the imagination, but it is not a fate we believe our millions of members should be abandoned to.
“There were parallel congresses in 24 states namely: Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Enugu, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Niger, Ondo, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto and Zamfara.
These congresses in Wards, local government areas and states all over the federation produced different sets of delegates.
We therefore had an unfortunate situation where the party has been seriously factionalised and divided in not just 24 states, but the 36 states and the, FCT.
The so-called National Convention of the APC was even worse.
“The National Convention of the party was ridiculed with constitutional infirmities that were so glaring and obvious that no fair-minded person can claim that a legitimate and lawful executive emerged from that process.
The Chairman of the organising Committee, Jigawa state Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, declared 18 seats unopposed and uncontested, since only one valid candidate stood at the end of the grossly manipulated nomination exercise for each of the offices.
He, therefore, proceeded to declare them duly elected in flagrant abuse and violence to the Constitution of the APC.
“Indeed, Article 20 of the APC Constitution is very clear and explicit.
It envisages a situation where if at the close of nomination, only one person is nominated, the Convention must vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for each candidate before he is declared duly elected.
We all witnessed on live television and at the venue, Eagles Square Abuja, that the Convention Chairman, only put the ‘Yes’ question to all the delegates, using words to the effect: Do you affirm? Do you agree? There was no opportunity whatsoever given to the delegates to say whether they are voting ‘No’ for any candidate as the ‘No’ question was never put to them.” The puzzle The unending puzzle is to whose benefit is the factionalisation of the APC? Going by the aftermath of the nPDP’s negative effect on the performance of the PDP during the 2015 elections, it may spell doom for the APC if the impasse is not resolved.
Also, it has been argued that the nPDP bloc is protecting the interest of the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and a former governor of Kano state, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who have tactically lost the grip of the party structure at the national level.
Aside from Saraki, Dogara and Kwankwaso have lost the party structure even in their home states.
A political analyst, Olusola Atere, told Blueprint Weekend that the latest move of the nPDP bloc will negative effect both on its members and the chances of President Muhammadu Buhari win reelection.
“To me, the grouse of the nPDP bloc within APC, and its latest move to factionalise the APC, may spell doom for all the parties involved and the best thing to do is to resolve all the grey areas before the 2019 general elections.
“How the matter is resolved will determine the performance of the APC in next year’s general elections because when the nPDP pulled out of the PDP, the party performed abysmally in the 2015 elections, the development which truncated its 16-year rule,” he said.
No cause for alarm – Oshiomhole In his reaction, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said the party was not bothered by the action of the nPDP, led by former Secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Buba Galadima, under the aegis of the Reformed APC.
Oshiomhole made the declaration in a chat with journalists shortly after a marathon meeting with APC Caucus of the House of Representatives, noting that the party is currently engaging with its strategic leaders on the way forward, but that if members of the r-APC not to be happy over the moves, it remained their businesses.
He said: “There is no break up; if one Galadima is not happy, that is fine.
He has a right now to be happy.
If he chooses to call himself whatever he wants to call himself, I will not lose my sleep over that.
We know those who are the system; those who are seeking breakup that is their problem.
“We are engaging real stakeholders in the executive and the two arms of the National Assembly.
We have very important influential leaders.
We are engaging.
If you review the headlines before the convention, there were stories like people are going to walk out if the convention.
Oh, people will boycott the convention.
In the end, they were shocked to find out the President was seated.
The Senate President was seated.
The Speaker was seated, the national leader was seared.
Our Chairman was seated.
All the governors were seated.
They are like what do we do next.
“If after two weeks of living in pains that they were disappointed, they find mercenaries who are willing to be hired for a purpose, they are right to be so hired.
But that will not cause any distraction within the core of APC leaders.
There is no breakaway, if people chose to be detained by their fears.
It is their choice.” Earlier, before the meeting went into a closed door session, Oshiomhole assured APC lawmakers that the crisis rocking some state chapters of the party would be resolved “in a manner that all will be a win-win.” Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in his remarks, said: “Our only expectation is the issue of justice and justice is indivisible.
What is justice to the executive should be justice to the legislature and it should be justice to the judiciary.
“What is justice to the President and the Vice President should be justice to the Governor and it has to be justice for the members of the National Assembly, because you can’t divide justice.
Once you begin to divide justice you don’t have justice.” Spokesperson Abdullahi reacts In his reaction to the Reformed APC and its allegations, the APC spokesperson, Bolaji Abudullahi, said the party leadership would need to get the full details of what happened.
“We have report of a group of who have purportedly described themselves as a faction of our party.
We will be able to give our reaction as soon as we get the full details and have the opportunity to review it,” he said.
Legal action option Meanwhile, the all Progressives Congress (APC), in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, on Friday in Abuja, described the action of the nPDP members as “mischievous and illadvised.” The party alleged that the group, “having failed to scuttle the National Convention as was their original plan, now resort to this subterfuge as a way of achieving the pre-determined end of causing confusion.” While threatening that the APC “will not hesitate to take lawful action to defend the unity of the party and protect the sanctity of its identity,” the statement said it “will properly investigate the membership of those involved in the new group.” The statement read in part: “The All Progressives Congress (APC) wishes to affirm that there is no faction in our Party and declares the action by these individuals as mischievous and ill-advised.
“As a matter of fact, we doubt that these individuals parading as leaders of the so- called faction are actual members of our party.
We are currently investigating their true membership status within the party.
“While we shall continue to monitor developments in this respect; we will not hesitate to take lawful actions to defend the unity of our party and protect the sanctity of its identity.
We are currently reviewing the action of this so-called faction in order to determine if any aspect of the party’s constitution has been breached with the connivance of any of our members.
“For those members who have genuine grievances, we want to assure them of the commitment of the new leadership of the party to address those grievances as quickly as possible in a manner that ensures that justice is done to all.”