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Cracks in APC signal emerging realignments as nPDP stalwarts give fresh terms

Rising from the recent series of inconclusive nationwide Ward Congresses by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), an old wound seems to have been brushed badly, thus giving rise to set of fresh demand by a strategic block in the party, the New Peoples Democratic Party (NewPDP).

Currently the powerful group which analysts say, gave APC the needed claws to wrestle power from the main PDP in the 2015 elections following their massive defection prior to 2015 election, has given the leadership of the party a seven-day ultimatum to schedule a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari where the observed injustice being suffered by their cohorts would be ironed out.

This stemmed from a letter dated April 27, 2018, and signed by Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, former National Chairman, NewPDP, and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, its National Secretary, and addressed to Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the party’s national chairman, stressing that despite its huge contribution to the success of the APC in the 2015 election, it had not been accorded its due while many of its members, including Bukola Saraki, Senate President, and Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, are being victimised and treated like outcasts.

It was not however, clear if the Thursday’s exit of Onyinlola from APC a day after resigning from being the chairman of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) was in view of a possible poor handling of the letter.

Another key member of the block include embattled Senator Dino Melaye who is currently facing persecution and associated threatening health issues.

The NewPDP in their well structured letter to Odigie-Oyegun, complained that despite the role they played in bringing APC to power in 2015, they had been neglected in the scheme of things by the administration, adding that the only member who got appointment into the Federal Executive Council (FEC) failed to deliver his state to the party in 2015.

The memo read in parts; “Kindly indulge us to offer a brief reminder of the history of events that led to the victory of the APC in the 2015 general elections and the presidential election in particular.

“It is an undeniable historical fact that the movement of the former NewPDP bloc to form the APC contributed immensely to the victory of the APC in the elections.

“The former new PDP included five sitting governors of Sokoto, Kano, Kwara, Adamawa, and Rivers states and former governors of Kebbi, Gombe, Osun, former Vice President of Nigeria, former Acting National Chairman of PDP, sitting Speaker of the House of Representatives, many serving members of the National Assembly and many renowned politicians and PDP elders. It was a watershed moment in Nigeria’s political history.

“Most of these leaders not only delivered their states to the APC at the elections, some of the governors were also assigned specific responsibilities to ensure that other states were also delivered to the APC in the 2015 elections.

“The then governor of Sokoto took charge of Kebbi and the then governor of Kano State took responsibility for Kano, Kaduna and Jigawa states just to mention a few examples.

“There were also unprecedented efforts by many stakeholders such as Senator Bukola Saraki, in concert with others, to deliver the entire North Central to the APC.

“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 (CPC) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) blocs of the party.

“It is a matter for grave concern that His Excellency, Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has never publicly acknowledged our efforts in the face of clear evidence that the total number of votes scored by the APC in states where leaders and members of the then New PDP bloc held sway made the difference.

Continuing, the power group averred that “The stubborn facts are as follows: In Kano State, APC scored 1,903,999 in 2015, and in Kwara 302,146.

“In Sokoto State, it scored 671,926, and 374,701 in Adamawa. In Kebbi State, APC had 567,883 votes and 885,988 in Jigawa.

“It was the same story in Gombe (459,898), Kogi (264,851), and Benue (373,961) votes.

“These represented significant additions to the APC victory column. Indeed, the influence, activities, momentum and ripple effect generated by the former New PDP bloc was significant in the victory of APC in the entire elections in the whole country.

“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.”

NewPDP also alleged that no level playing field had been provided for its members while members of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) were getting all the patronages.

While decrying that some of their members including Saraki and Dogara who showed interest in occupying political positions were victimized, they noted that “Our grievances include: 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 aggrieved NewPDP stalwarts currently in APC argued that “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 elections.

“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 blocks of the party and those who have no party at all.

“In appointments into boards of various government agencies, very few former New PDP members were patronised. These are, however, not commensurate with our contributions to the growth and victory of the party.

“When members of the former New PDP bloc showed interest in running for the offices of President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, they were subjected to a vicious and relentless political opposition as if they were not legitimate members of the APC family.

“During the party primaries preparatory to the 2015 general elections, most of the promises made to sitting members of the National Assembly, who belonged to the former New PDP in terms of a level playing field were reneged upon or observed more in breach.

“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.

“Harassment, intimidation and persecution of former New PDP leaders by the government, is still an ongoing affair. We do not want to overstate the obvious by cataloguing names of former New PDP stalwarts that are targets of this political pogrom.

“There is inadequate reflection of programme and policy contributions of members of the former New PDP bloc in the running of the government.”

Political pundits who weighed the veracity of the memo argued that the inability of the National Working Committee of APC led by the party national chairman may spell doom that can lead to massive return to where they were coming from in 2015 after all.