OBIORA IFOH, Abuja
The crack within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to be getting wider each day as members of the defunct New-People Democratic Party (nPDP) that fused into the party before 2015 general elections are accusing the party and the the President Muhammadu Buhari of maltreating their members.
They have, however, given the leadership of APC a seven days ultimatum to summon an emergency meeting to address their grievances.
Addressing a press conference after a closed door meeting with the APC National Chairman yesterday in Abuja, where a four paged letter dated April 27, 2018, titled “Request for redressing of grievances of the former new PDP block within the All Progressives Congress” was submitted, the group leader Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, declared that without votes contributed by the members of his group, the present government would not have been elected into power.
The letter signed by Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraja and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola on behalf of the group was addressed to the National Chairman of the party, saying 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 and in the government.
The letter which was also copied to President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said that the only seat that went to members of the new PDP in the Federal Executive Council was given to a member whose state contributed virtually no vote to the APC in the 2015 presidential election.
The letter reads: “We the members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who moved over from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to form the APC before the 2015 General Electrons in Nigeria are desirous of strengthening our party especially now that new party Congresses have commenced and the Convention and another round of General Electrons are imminent. Obviously, this cannot be achieved without addressing fundamental issues which we wish to raise in the letter.
“We therefore wish, with due respect, to re-state 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.”We envisioned a political party promoting equal rights for all Nrgerians and ensuring rapid and even development across the country. Of course there is no gainsaying that the fact that the lofty ideals enumerated above cannot be attained without ensuring justice for party faithfuls and citizens.
“Kindly indulge us to offer a brief reminder of the history of events that led to the vtctory of the APC in the 2015 General Elections and the presidential eIectIon in particular. It In an undeniable historical fact that the movement of the former New PDP block to form the APC contributed immensely to the victory of the APC in the election.”The former new PDP included five sitting Governors of Sokoto, Kano, Kwara, Adamawa and Rivers State and former Governors of Kebbi, Gombe, Osun and former vice president of Nigeria, former acting National Chairman of PDP, Sitting Speaker ot the House of Representatives, many serving members of the National Assembly and many 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 election, some of the Governors were also assigned specific responsibility to ensure that other States were also delivered to the APC in the 2015 election. The then Governor at 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) block 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 block held sway made the difference.
“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 ln 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.
“These represented significant additions to the APC victory column. Indeed, the lnfluence, activities momentum and ripple effect generated by the former New PDP block was significant in the victory of APC in the entire elections in the whole country.
“At this stage, we would chronicle a few grievences which ii eddreased will lead to harmonious APC where justice, equity, fairness and peace will reign and enable APC avoid rancour reinvigorate the pace of national development and me the 2019 General Elections as one united party.”
They listed their grievances to include:
a. In the constitution the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) the New PDP block was generously sidelined as virtually no positron was conceded to it. The only member of federal executive council that belonged to former New PDP block comes from a state that contributed virtually no vote to the APC in the 2015 presidential election
b. There has been no significant patronage and appointments to executive positions in various government agencies such as Chief Executive and Executive Directors of government agencies and parastatals as members of our block 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.
C. 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.
d. When members of the former New PDP block 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.
e. 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.
f. 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.
g. 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 iormer new PDP stalwarts that are targets oi this political pogrom.
h. There is inadequate reflection of programme and policy contributions of members at the former New PDP block in the running of the government.
The letter said further: “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 iustice both in the running of the party and the government.
“Arising from the issues outlined above among others, we request for an urgent meeting with the Leader of the party and the party executive leadership to find lasting solutions to the issues raised so as 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 meeting will also enable us to work out modalities to ensure a level playing field for all in the Congresses and Convention of the APC.
“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 (7) days from the date of the receipt of this letter.
“In conclusion, we the members of the former New PDP block of the APC Wish to reiterate that this letter is written patriotically with the best of intentions and the good of our party, the APC, and is issued to alert the leadership of the APC and in particular, the leader of our party, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, who only recently indicated his intention to seek a second term as President, of grievances that exist Within the party with a View to ensuring Justice for all members of the APC family regardless of the blocks they came from prior to the formation of the APC.”
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