By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and members of the new PDP (nPDP) bloc of the APC is slated to meet in Abuja today in order to address the grievances raised by members of the nPDP.
Early this month, the nPDP had submitted a letter to the ruling party, demanding an urgent meeting with the leadership of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari within seven days.
The bloc, comprising members of a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called the nPDP, had teamed up with the APC to dislodge the PDP from its 16-year rule in the 2015 general election.
However, in the letter dated April 27, 2018 and signed by Abubakar Kawu Baraje, the former national chairman of nPDP, and Olagunsoye Oyinlola, its former national secretary, the group listed several grievances and demanded an emergency meeting with the APC leadership.
They 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.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital yesterday, Baraje said the APC, in reaction to the letter, had slated a meeting with the group for 2 p.m. today.
He said the APC leadership had responded to their letter on the seventh day of the expiration period indicated in the letter and invited nPDP members for a meeting, but this was not possible because since they (nPDP members) were representing the interests of other stakeholders nationwide, the meeting was rescheduled for today.
A party source also confirmed that the APC leadership had written to the nPDP to acknowledge receipt of their letter and indicated that it was eager to meet with the bloc to address the concerns raised by the nPDP.
Baraje, who also lamented the internal conflicts within the ruling APC, as evident in the parallel state congresses of the party in 21 states on Saturday, said: “Contrary to the perception in some quarters, the nPDP’s letter to the leadership of the APC was to forestall such occurrences.”
While pointing out that the PDP never had such internal wrangling as manifested in the APC, Baraje warned that if the APC fails to heed the demands of the nPDP, the forthcoming national convention of the ruling party may become a platform to wash its dirty linen in public.
He expressed concern over the path chosen by leaders of the APC, lamenting that what members of the nPDP had witnessed in the APC was worse than what they experienced in the PDP.
He said the nPDP was made up of men and women who could not be pushed aside and referred to the resignation of the group’s secretary and former governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as a sign of what could happen if its members are unable to convince their followers about the need to remain in the APC.
Baraje, however, stated that nPDP members would not immediately depart the APC if the party failed to meet their demands, clarifying that like the last administration, they would still go ahead and meet with several leaders across the country to stop what he termed as impunity within the APC.
“The last time we met here (Baraje’s residence) in 2016, I told you that the way the party was going, we were on the road to perdition.
“If you look at the letter we wrote, we never said we gave an ultimatum to leave the party, but we advised them; we hinted the party because of the ongoing primaries of the party.
“Now that the party invited us, exactly on the seventh day after being in receipt the letter, they wanted us to meet that same day. But because we were speaking for several leaders across the country, we told them we couldn’t meet that same day. So, now they have scheduled a meeting for tomorrow (Monday) anytime from 2 p.m,” he said.
Baraje also spoke on the dismissal of their petition to the APC by Senator Abdullahi Adamu, saying the nPDP was such a large group that it could not but have dissenters.
“We have travelled a long way with the APC and now we are seeing things get worse in the APC than they were in the PDP. If we are leaders worth the name we say we are, we should be bold enough to speak up about it,” he said.