The claims by members of the defunct nPDP that they are being marginalized in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are lies, a senator and a senior member of the party said yesterday.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu, former governor of Nasarawa State, stated this in reaction to accusation of marginalization made by former acting chairman of the nPDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje.
The nPDP was a breakaway faction of the then ruling party, the PDP, that teamed up with three other parties to form the APC and then went ahead to win the 2015 elections.
Baraje and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola in their petition to the APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, demanded a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari within seven days to address their grievances.
Baraje neither picked his calls nor responded to a text message by Daily Trust.
But Senator Adamu submitted a counter petition yesterday to the APC national chairman and copied to President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in which he dismissed the claims by Baraje.
The petition was signed by Senator Adamu as chairman of the new group, Chief Theodore Geogewill, deputy chairman and Abdulmumin Jibrin, secretary.
The petition challenged the Baraje group to reveal the date, the venue, and members of the defunct nPDP that attended the meeting where such an agreement to write the letter was reached.
The petition read by the group’s chairman stated that no meeting had been called by the defunct nPDP since the last one that was held in 2014.
“We ordinarily would have ignored such a joke but it is a dangerous joke taking too far. How can you explain that one of the two signatories to the letter Col Oyinlola (rtd) has since left the APC for the African Democratic Party (ADP) after going on AWOL to the Obasanjo Coalition for Nigeria? Yet same person is asking to meet the APC leadership to address grievances?
“This clearly shows the sinister motive behind the letter which is not far from destabilizing the party at this most critical time.
“We as initiators and founding members of the defunct nPDP therefore wish to condemn and disassociate ourselves from the letter and apologise for the obvious embarrassment the letter have caused to our party and government.
“We wish to reaffirm our support and confidence in the party and Mr. President and we do not in any way feel marginalized or maltreated as we are clearly in the league of the biggest beneficiaries of the party,” the letter titled “Unfounded and Unjustified Ground for Confrontation with Our Party, the APC and Government by Some Members of the Defunct nPDP” read in part. The group said the Baraje’s petition was full of contradictions, false assertions, misrepresentations, distortion of history and facts and outright lies. It listed the current positions being enjoyed by the nPDP members at the levels of party leadership, the executive, and the legislature.
They said that the nPDP had no moral justification to accuse the President if he appointed his ministers without seeking for their nominees if Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara could dispense about 200 appointments without asking for nomination from President, Vice President, the APC as a party, Asiwaju Tinubu as party leader, and Chief Bisi Akande, the pioneer national chairman among others.
The petition said: “The APC has been very gracious to us but we must not over stretch our luck. We have concentrated in pointing accusing fingers at the President and Party and generally others while we failed to look inward and address the greed, selfishness, witch hunt, injustice and high handedness exhibited by some leaders of the defunct nPDP in privileged positions today against our fellow members.
“We only remember that the nPDP ever existed when it is time to advance our personal and often selfish interest. Let us be careful not to become a cancer to any house we seek to join or gain specialty in trying to destroy every house we help to build.
“We must introspect and change our ways.
Many members that worked so hard for the nPDP are being attacked and ridiculed by some leaders of the group. May be it is time to call a meeting of the defunct nPDP, lock ourselves in a room and tell ourselves the bitter truth. Many of us have questions to ask some of our leaders.
“Perhaps if we had done that in the first place, there will certainly be no reason for Alh Kawu Baraje to approach the party and even give an ultimatum. We should be more concerned with using what the APC has offered us in many generous ways to advance the cause of our members and the party and country at large. We have more than enough not to complain if some leaders in the nPDP will be less greedy.
“We believe that the nPDP has many leaders of high integrity but we must be careful not to use the group to cover up for any individual who falls foul of the law.
“Finally, we wish to advise the party and Mr President that in an event that it decides to grant audience to the group led by Kawu Baraje, we the Buhari supporters who are now in the majority in the defunct nPDP should be invited to the meeting as well- For it seems the petitioners no longer stand for the ideals of the defunct nPDP nor represent our collective interest and position.”
Reaction to claim of marginalisation
The group said government at the federal level is not only the executive branch in isolation but includes the legislature as well.
It said the APC government deliberately or not has a balance of power among the various parties and groups that merged to form the APC at the federal level.
“While the Muhammadu Buhari led CPC got the president, the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu led ACN got the Vice President. We the nPDP as we then were eventually got the combination of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives though under somewhat questionable circumstances.
“All of these offices control enormous amount of patronage and instruments of reward. It is strange that we did not see any qualms when the Senate President and Speaker dispensed about 200 appointments including committee chairmen without asking for nomination from Mr. President, Vice President, the APC as a party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as party leader, Baba Akande pioneer national chairman and a host of others. Is that not marginalisation?
“If we the nPDP did not view that as marginalisation then we do not have the moral justification to accuse the President if he appoints his ministers without seeking for our nominees.”
The petition listed key stakeholders of the nPDP who have been accommodated.