•I’m worried, says Yari, NGF chair; PDP woos R-APC legislators
•I won’t lose sleep over Galadima — Oshiomhole
LAGOS—Leaders of the Reformed All Progressives Congress, R-APC, have reached a point of no return in their relationship with the mainstream All Progressives Congress, APC, and will not return, irrespective of the continuing supplications of the party’s new national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
The determination to sustain the political cleavage, Vanguard gathered yesterday, was being fuelled by lawmakers in the R-APC who it was gathered, desire to exploit constitutional provisions on a division to sustain their seats in the federal and state assemblies.
Meanwhile, the mainstream APC, yesterday, formally disavowed the split and the leaders of the R-APC as it said it had launched an investigation into the membership status of the leaders whose action it labelled as mischievous and uncalled for.
In an apparent demonstration of his rejection of further dialogue, one of the key leaders of the R-APC, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, the immediate past governor of Kano State, yesterday left the country.
His spokesperson, Hajia Binta Spikin, nevertheless said it was too late for further talks with the APC, saying the party which failed in its campaign promises, including selling petrol at N45 per litre, would not fulfil any fresh promise arising from negotiations.
“Oh no, it is a bit late, it is a bit late. The party has had its so called-convention, it has deviated from the original intentions why it was brought to being, so there is nothing that remains with the mainstream APC.
“I don’t know about the promises Comrade Oshiomhole keeps making. He keeps promising he will do this, he would do that, but it’s just promises like the promises the APC gave in the run-up to the 2015 general election.
‘’Remember APC promised that petrol would be sold at N45 per litre; it has not fulfilled those promises, so what makes this promise different from all the other promises,” Hajia Spikin said over the telephone yesterday.
National Publicity Secretary of the R-APC, Prince Kassim Afegbua, on his part equally asserted the determination of the group to forge ahead with their move, saying the last convention of the APC was constitutionally flawed.
“That convention has a constitutional flaw, so they are the ones that should be coming to us for peace,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, deputy national chairman, South of the R-APC, Chief Sam Nkire, said yesterday that the APC was the architect of its present misfortune and was, therefore, now stewing in its blood.
Chief Nkire, in a statement in Abuja, also said that poor reward system, high-handedness, and undemocratic habits were some of the reasons members would continue to leave the party in droves, if there was no change.
According to Chief Nkire, the poor treatment meted out to him by the “powers that be” in the party he joined at inception, invested in and helped achieve electoral success, evokes pity by Nigerians, especially the people of the Southeast and Igbo in general.
The Abia State-born political stalwart predicted that it would not be long before the time-bomb finally explodes in the faces of those who believe that “all is fair in politics as in war.”
Chief Nkire also said he was unsure Comrade Oshiomhole’s medicine could heal the wounds inflicted on the bodies and souls of millions of once committed party members of the APC.
Vanguard gathered yesterday that the R-APC leaders would sustain the division as a way of providing legal cover for their associates in the federal and state legislative houses for them to defect to other parties ahead of the forthcoming general election.
Sections 68(1) (109(1)) of the 1999 Constitution, states that; “A member of the Senate or House of Representatives (House of Assembly) shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if-
“(g) Being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that house was elected:
“Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member, or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored.”
Meanwhile, the party in its first major pronouncement since the formal break on Wednesday, disavowed the action of the leaders of the R-APC as it said it was launching an investigation to determine the membership status of the R-APC leaders and whether the provisions of the party’s constitution had been breached and by who.
APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi in a statement made available to Vanguard said: “On Wednesday, July 4, 2018, a group of individuals announced itself as ‘Reformed All Progressives Congress (APC)’ at a press conference held in Abuja. By their actions, this group has attempted to create the impression that our party is factionalised. This is not true.
“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.
“Having failed to scuttle the National Convention as was their original plan, they now resort to this subterfuge as a way of achieving the pre-determined end of causing confusion.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Comrade Oshiomhole yesterday continued on his troubleshooting shuttles with a closed-door session with the party caucus in the House of Representatives.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who led the legislators to the caucus meeting, told the party chairman that it was only by justice and equity the party would be able to silence the voices of dissent and opposition.
‘No perfect relationship’
While noting that no human relationship could be expected to be perfect, he 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.
“Once we are able to get these things in their proper perspectives to some extent, we will be able to silence the voices of dissent within the party. We have problems in the party, but we mustn’t allow our problems to define us rather we should define our problems as a party.”
On his part, Comrade Oshiomhole told the MPs that “every person matters in our party because all party members voluntarily moved from various political platforms, and dissolved those platforms in order to give birth to the All Progressives Congress.”
He said the idea of delivering the greater good for the greater number of Nigerian citizens was what binds the APC together and “defines us in spite of the teething problems, we were bound to experience that every new organisation goes through.”
Vanguard gathered that Oshiomhole was expected to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on the development and his efforts last night. That briefing was yet to hold at press time.
Reformed APC: I’m worried, says Yari, NGF chair
Meanwhile, Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, Abdulaziz Yari, yesterday, expressed worry over the emergence of a splinter group in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Yari, who is the Governor of Zamfara State, said the National Executive Council of the APC was capable of handling the new faction.
The governor, alongside governors Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State and Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State had met with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, but he refused to disclose the agenda of the meeting to journalists. He simply said that it was a private meeting.
However, in what may be described as U-turn, the NGF chairman, when again asked what was his reaction to the recent crisis in the APC that resulted in the emergence of a faction with the name, Reformed APC, he said the governors’ visit to the Villa had nothing to do with party matters but that the leadership of the party was in the best position to answer the question.
Asked further if he was not bothered by the development, Yari admitted that he was worried but was swift to add that with the emergence of a new crop of party leaders, the crisis would be accordingly resolved.
He said: “Our coming as APC governors has nothing to do with the APC. It is about the issues of finances and I think at that level, the party is in the best position to answer this question.
“Though, I am one of the pillars of APC, if I comment on that, I won’t be fair to the leadership of the party. So, it is the party that will handle that.
“Of course, I am worried but it is something the party will handle. You know with the approach of election, you will expect this kind of thing. You will expect crisis left, right and center, especially in a party with an overwhelming majority because of political interest. The most important thing is that with the emergence of new leadership, everything will be resolved.
PDP woos R-APC legislators
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was yesterday in discussion with two members of the R-APC in the National Assembly preparatory to what a source said was the defection of estranged members of the APC to the PDP.
The two lawmakers, Senator Sulieman Hunkuyi, APC, Kaduna North and Rep. Musa Soba, APC, Kaduna met with the delegation of PDP officials in Abuja following which they gave indication of their imminent exit from the APC to the PDP.
Hunkuyi made this known when he received a delegation of PDP from Kaduna North, just as he said that he had detailed discussion with the delegation on how to work together to salvage Kaduna State from poor governance.
Speaking further, Senator Hunkuyi said: “The PDP members that visited me today are my kith and kin because no story of the party will be complete in Kaduna State without my name featuring prominently at one point or the other. The political arena as we know guarantees freedom of participation, association and very shortly we will come up with a position on the direction for our polity, to correct the anomalies in the state.
Hunkuyi who expressed concern over the crisis in the party in general, said: “The crisis in the APC is nothing new. Everyone is aware of it, and what happened yesterday signifies the climax of the crisis in the party. We discussed a lot of things and it is not an understatement to say that we are all unhappy with the situation in the state. We discussed on how to seek solution to the challenges in the state. We will stand firm and strong in finding solutions to the challenges.”
A member of the House of Representatives, Musa Soba, who also played host to the PDP members, said they would inform Nigerians of their intention in no distant time, adding, “they are our brothers and sisters from the Northern Senatorial District of Kaduna State. They are PDP party executive members from Kaduna State that came to seek our support to salvage our state. They want us to join hands with them to do what is right for our people regardless of party affiliation. You know we are politicians, it is either you woo me or I woo you.
The Legal Adviser to the Kaduna PDP, Mr Musa Kabir who expressed optimism that their meeting with Hunkuyi and the other lawmakers would yield positive result, said: “We came to see the lawmaker because of his hard work. He was with us and now we want him to come back so that we can work together to salvage Kaduna State. We came to plead with him to team up with us to revive the PDP and from our discussion we are hopeful that he will give us a positive response.”
Meanwhile, Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum, (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura, APC, Ondo Central, who spoke with Vanguard on the present crisis in the APC, said what was happening at the moment was normal in a big party like the APC.
Senator Alasoadura said: “ It’s normal in a big party like APC but the leadership of the party is doing everything possible to resolve all issues worrying members. However, there has been a lot of indiscipline in the party as a result of the hurried way it was formed. A slimmer and more disciplined and efficient party will emerge.”
I won’t lose sleep over Galadima— Oshiomhole
Meanwhile, Oshiomhole following the meeting said he would not lose sleep because of the crisis he said was being championed by mercenaries.
Speaking to House correspondents, he said: “There is no breakup in our party; if one Galadima is not happy, that is fine. He has a right not to be happy,” he said.
“If he chooses to call himself whatever he wants to call himself, that is not the issue. I will not lose my sleep over that. We know those who are in the system. Those who are seeking breakup that is their problem. We are engaging real stakeholders. I mean between the executive and the two arms of the National Assembly.
“We have very important influential leaders we are engaging. If people are being sponsored by those who thought our convention will be a failure, those who were expecting implosion, so be it. If you reviewed the headlines before the convention, there were stories like people are going to walk out of the convention; 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 and the national leaders were seated. Our chairman was seated. All the governors were seated. They were like what do we do next? If after two weeks of living in pains that they are disappointed, they find mercenaries who are willing to be hired for a purpose, they have right to be hired but will not cause any distraction within the core of APC leaders.”