• No factions in APC, says NWC
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, has said the party has developed serious cracks which if not properly managed can lead to crisis and subsequent loss of its hard-earned popularity.
On the worry expressed by the national leadership of the party over difficulties in getting a suitable individual for the spokesman position since the former National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, left to serve as minister, Frank said such fears were unfounded.
Speaking with journalists yesterday at his residence in Abuja on the brewing crisis in the party, especially with regard to the tussle for influence in his home state (Bayelsa) chapter of APC, Frank said there are lingering intra-party disagreements even though the leadership was pretending otherwise.
According to him, the national leadership appears not to be doing much to harmonise the aggrieved persons interests so that the party can move forward.
“If anybody should tell you that there is no division even at the national level, they’re telling lies, I can tell you there are issues, there are very critical issues. The issue of the senate president is still lingering, nobody is saying anything at the national level but I tell you, any Nigerian that knows will tell you very clearly that with the body language of our party as at today, if we are not careful, we are going to lose our popularity,” he said.
The deputy spokesman warned that the party and everyone who has sacrificed to lift it up will become the loser if nothing is done to arrest the widening division within the ranks of members.
“It will be a big disgrace that we have hands that are not competent at the centre to harmonise the aggrieved persons and make us move forward.
“So there is crisis in the party. If anybody says there is no crisis, it is a lie. We have many divisions right now within the party, so I won’t be scared to speak. That is my personal opinion and I have spoken again and I will continue to speak out.
“I have nothing to worry about, in a matter of short time, this will come to play out. I spoke of problem in my state, Bayelsa, but people ignored me. I am speaking again, it would happen soon at the national level that these things we are sweeping or hiding have started already,” he said.
The embattled former Youth Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) insisted that as far as he was concerned, he remains the acting spokesman for APC and would continue to function in that capacity pending when a convention is held to elect a substantive officer.
“Let me take you back to the issue of acting or not acting, I’m still insisting and making it clear that I’m the acting publicity secretary of APC. I’m saying it without fear or favour. I’m the acting spokesperson of the party.
“Those persons in the party who do not want me to speak, Nigerians will start asking them questions anytime soon, but I’m on top of my game and I can tell you its not something I have to beg or lobby anybody or beg any chairman who calls himself national chairman.
“I don’t have any national chairman to beg, I don’t have anybody to lobby to get this position, its automatic except the party wants to portray itself as undemocratic or a party does not follow due process. If this party is a party that follows due process, I don’t need to beg, and that is why I continue to insist I will not beg or lobby anybody.
On the issued of alleged money-for appointment slots raised by the state Chairman of Bayesla State APC, Chief Timipa Orunimighe, the deputy spokesman urged the party to immediately institute a probe to find out the truth.
He said for the state executive of the party to raise such allegations against the former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Timipre Silva, it behooves on the national leadership of the APC to wade in and investigate the matter.
Frank also spoke on the need for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to tread with caution with regard to the issue of who gets appointments slots meant for Bayelsa State.
“I call on the state party executive to immediately suspend the former governor from the party, while we should go into investigation because if they don’t suspend him, he is going to stall the investigation.
“Again, l want to make it very clear and boldly that APC is a very credible. President Muhammadu Buhari is a very credible president and we would not allow anybody to soil his image or our party. This party does not sell political office or exchange political office for money.
“I am making it very clear, the SGF should be very careful in doing his job so that nobody should rope him into trouble or run him into problem because today I expect the SGF to scrutinise any name that is coming from any state, to make his findings and consultations very clearly to know if Mr. A is coming from Bayelsa State or if it is the Bayelsa people want? He should have been able to do his home work,” he said.
However, the leadership of the APC has disagreed with Frank that the party has divided interests afflicting it.
In a statement issued last night by the Secretary of the party, Mai Mala Buni, the party described Frank’s claims as “ bogus and misleading allegations.”
“The attention of the National Secretariat of APC has been drawn to a statement ascribed to the party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Frank where he alleged that the “APC is now divided” among other bogus allegations.
“The bogus and misleading allegations are unnecessary distractions to the party’s resolve to fully support the President Buhari Administration deliver on the motley promises made by our great party to the electorate.
“The APC national leadership remains united and solidly committed to the task of bringing cohesion to the party at all levels.
“Recently, the APC held its National Caucus and National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings were positive and far-reaching decisions were collectively taken by the party’s leadership to drive the party forward.
“The party will not deny anybody or interest the right to seek justice where he feels this has been denied him. However, we sincerely appeal that we all play by the rules in our engagements and be guarded in our utterances.
“The public is advised not to misinterpret or confuse Frank’s personal opinions to be the official position of the Party or the true reflection of what is happening inside the Party. For the umpteenth time, only the APC National Chairman and the National Secretary are authorised to officially speak for the party.”