- Party: Saraki’s case not part of discussion
- Tinubu’s reconciliation panel making progress, says Ajimobi
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Members of the aggrieved new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) will again meet with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday as part of moves to iron out their differences.
THISDAY gathered Thursday that the APC National Working Committee (NWC) will Friday begin deliberations on complaints arising from the nationwide congresses.
The Deputy National Chairman (North) of the APC, Senator Lawali Shuaibu, who confirmed the new meeting date, also clarified issues over discussions at their last meeting on Monday with members of nPDP, saying that the demand to stop the trial of the Senate President Bukola Saraki by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) did not come up at the parley.
Last Monday’s meeting with the nPDP was attended by Vice-President Osinbajo, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice (AGF) Abubakar Malami and Shuaibu who represented the APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
A report on the outcome of the meeting between Vice-President Osinbajo and former nPDP political bloc now in the APC had said that the aggrieved members demanded stoppage of asset declaration case against the Senate President as part of the settlement deal.
However, Shuaibu who spoke to journalists on Thursday said nothing of such was discussed at the meeting and that they did not go into any details on the letter earlier sent by the nPDP stakeholders.
Reacting to a media report on the meeting with former nPDP members Shuaibu said: “There was no time during Mondayâ€™s meeting the condition was given that Senator Bukola Sarakiâ€™s CCT trial must be withdrawn.â€
Shuaibu, who represented the APC National Chairman Odigie-Oyegun at the talks with the nPDP members, disclosed that the meeting agreed to reconvene next Monday with a smaller group of eight which will comprise the vice-president, the attorney-general, himself (Shuaibu) and five representatives of the former nPDP members.
He said while Mondayâ€™s meeting which had in attendance 20 former nPDP members dwelt on â€˜general discussionsâ€™, the next meeting equally scheduled for next Monday will â€œgo into the business of discussing the [former nPDP] specific demands.”
Shuaibu said: â€œWhen we got to the meeting venue in Aguda House, the vice-president felt we were too many. He said for the meeting to achieve any meaningful result, we needed a much smaller group. On that, there was debate as to how many people. The vice-president suggested that the nPDP brings three representatives, and then himself, the attorney general and myself to make up three so that we have six. But they (nPDP) insisted that they needed more than three representatives and we finally settled on five. From there we went into general discussions, nothing specific.
â€œWe said when they (nPDP) are ready with their five representatives, then we will sit down and go into the business of discussing the specific demands. There was no time during Mondayâ€™s meeting the condition was given that Senator Bukola Sarakiâ€™s CCT trial must be withdrawn. I donâ€™t know where they got that story from. I have a strong feeling that whoever wrote that story was only being speculative because nobody could have said that.”
Shuaibu added that the basis for last Mondayâ€™s meeting was the content of the former nPDPâ€™s letter submitted to the party and copied to the president and vice-president.
â€œThe content of the letter which is now public, that is what the basis of their demands are. At the next meeting on Monday, we will go into the specifics. That letter will be x-rayed point by point,â€ he said.
Responding to whether the meeting touched on the recently conducted ward, local government and state congresses, he said: â€œThe letter did not even bring the issue of congresses because the letter of complaint was tendered after congresses had started.”
He, however, said the issue of congresses was raised at the meeting of Monday by the House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara but that it was deferred till next meeting.
When asked if he thinks the party can at this point resolve the issues raised by nPDP, Shuaibu said: â€œWhen certain issues come up, there are ways we can always address them. Are you saying we canâ€™t make amends? Yes, we can. Decisions are made and amends of such decisions are always possible. Politics is not madness, there must be a way of accommodating peopleâ€™s grievances. There must be a way of carrying people along, especially those who are left behind in any process.”
Meanwhile, the Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has said the presidential panel led by former governor of Lagos State Bola Tinubu is making progress in reconciling all the aggrieved party members in the ruling APC.
Ajimobi, who is the Chairman, Sub-committee on Media, told journalists at a press conference Thursday in Abuja that the Tinubu committee had been working quietly and reporting to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Those who know the meaning of reconciliation, we must, first of all, realise that it is all-encompassing and the Tinubu’s committee is working quietly, reconciling people underground, working with everyone. You will see a lot of people moving around and talking, quietly with the Tinubu group. So, the reconciliation is ongoing.
As human beings, from the beginning of our being in this world until the end, we must continue to reconcile.
“We must reconcile ourselves with the environment, reconcile ourselves with people. So reconciliation is work in progress. I believe that the Tinubu team is working very effectively and reporting to the president.”
On the state congresses, the governor said: “There might be violence here and there, it is interesting. You know, people value something that is very good. Anything of good value, people fight for it and it isn’t unusual to have people disagree with controlling and owning something.
“So, it is common with our party, it shows the level of democratisation that we have experienced, it also shows the level of how interested people are in the party and the democratic nature of our party. State congresses, yes there have been reports of violence here and there, it will continue to witness reconciliation and this is what we are doing. I believe honestly that reconciliation should take place.”
When asked whether the national convention committee was comfortable with the endorsement of former Edo State governor Adams Oshiomhole as the next APC National Chairman, Ajimobi said: “Talking about the presidentâ€™s endorsement of Oshiomhole, I believe that the president has endorsed him, but it doesn’t preclude other people from declaring to contest.
“It is a democracy and everybody is open to declare. I think everybody has a right to declare and once they declare, we go through the convention and we choose whoever won. So, it is very competitive and you will still see in the coming days some people will declare their interest.”