- The persecuted are departing Pharaoh’s Egypt, says Shehu Sani
- Dogara: Only justice can silence dissent
- PDP meets ruling party’s splinter group, 34 parties in Abuja Friday
Iyobosa Uwugiaren, Onyebuchi Ezigbo and James Emejo in Abuja
Responding to Wednesday’s emergence of a splinter group, the Reformed All Progressives Congress (rAPC), the All Progressives Congress (APC) said Thursday that there was no division within its rank, contending that it had no faction.
The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said it was studying the situation and would not hesitate to take lawful actions to defend the unity of the party.
“APC wishes to affirm that there is no faction in our party and declares the action by these individuals as mischievous and ill-advised,” it said.
The party said after failing to scuttle the national convention as was their original plan, some individuals had resorted to subterfuge as a way of achieving the pre-determined end of causing confusion.
It said the group of individuals that announced themselves as reformed APC at a press conference held in Abuja was mischievous, adding that by their actions, the group has attempted to create the impression that the party is factionalised.
The party’s position was, however, contradicted by Senator Shehu Sani from Kaduna State, who stated emphatically Thursday that the APC was neck deep in fractious crisis.
“We the persecuted are on exodus, riding on horses, chariots and caravans, departing Pharaoh Thutmose’s Egypt; we are now at the coast of the red Sea, about to leave the land of cruelty and injustice,” he said.
But the APC insisted: “This is not true. As a matter of fact, 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.”
The rAPC that debuted Thursday had key members of the APC, as its leaders. The national chairman of the splinter group, Buba Galadima, is an APC stalwart from Yobe State, who served as the National Secretary of the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) before the party joined the APC merger.
Also the Deputy National Chairman of the rAPC, Bala Muhammed Gwagwarwa, was until recently the immediate past National Treasurer of the APC.
Oshiomhole Denies Break Up
The National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, Thursday said the party would not be distracted by the activities of some aggrieved persons, referring to themselves as Reformed APC (rAPC).
Oshiomhole said contrary to speculations, there was no break up or distraction within the core APC leadership.
He also played down the threats posed by the Buba Galadima-led rAPC, describing them as hired mercenaries used to try to destabilise the APC.
Speaking with reporters at the end of a closed-door session with APC Caucus in the House of Representatives, he said: “There’s no break up; my friend, if one Galadima of no particular political address says that he’s not happy, that’s fine; he has the right not to be happy and if he now decides to call himself what he calls himself, I won’t lose my sleep over that.
“We know those who are in the system: those who are in politics for bread and butter, that’s their problem.
“We are engaging the real stakeholders; I mean between the executive and the two arms of government, we have very important influential leaders that we are engaging.”
Dogara Says Only Justice Can Silence Dissent
Welcoming Oshiomhole to the House of Representatives, Speaker Yakubu Dogara highlighted the need for justice and fair play for the survival of APC.
Dogara said it was only by enthroning justice and equity that the ruling party would be able to silence voices of dissent and opposition.
Speaking at a meeting between APC members of the House and members of the newly elected National Working Committee (NWC) of the party led by Oshiomhole, the speaker noted that although there was no human endeavour that was perfect, APC lawmakers only expected justice, which he said was indivisible and universal.
He said: “In every family whether it is a nuclear, extended or an organisation there is bound to be problem and that is because we humans that are running those institutions are not perfect ourselves. So we don’t expect perfection from any quarters.
“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.”
According to him, “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.
“And 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 but we have problems is perfectly okay but we mustn’t allow our problems to define us rather we should define our problems as a party.”
Dogara, however, expressed optimism about the ability and capacity of Oshiomhole to tackle the challenges confronting the party.
Presidency, APC Reach Out to Dogara, Galadima
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari was said to have called Dogara Thursday night, hoping to get him to change his mind.
But an insider told THISDAY that the Speaker ‘’bitterly explained’’ to Buhari how he was humiliated by his state governor—Bauchi State, in the last congresses in the state.
Dogara was quoted as telling the president that his state governor did not even allow him to produce the ward executives of APC at his ward in Bauchi State in the last congresses, telling the president that he had made up his mind along with his group, to seek his political aspiration in another political platform.
‘’It is not just Dogara alone, the presidency also called Galadima over 23 times on Wednesday night, when he got the news of the formation of the rAPC, promising him heaven and earth. But the man told him and his agents that he was not interested in any offer made to him,’’ one of the leaders of the group stated.
PDP Meets rAPC, 34 Other Parties in Abuja Friday
As part of its ongoing consultations to form a formidable coalition against the APC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is expected to meet with other 34 political parties and representatives of the reformed rAPC in Abuja Friday to work out modalities for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will define their relationship.
This came as THISDAY gathered that President Buhari and his close relations made spirited moves on Wednesday night to get some leaders of the aggrieved group like, Galadima, Dogara and others to pull out of the coalition against him.
One of the leaders involved in coordinating formation of the coalition told THISDAY Thursday night that the fragmentation of APC by the aggrieved members of APC, which led to the formation of rAPC, under the leadership of Galadima, an estranged ally of President Buhari, was deliberately carried out in order to make room for many members of the state and national assemblies to be part of the emerging coalition.
The development will now clearly enable aggrieved members of the APC in the federal and state legislatures to switch allegiance on the grounds that the party had split into factions.
Announcing the formation of the faction at a crowded press conference Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja, Galadima said the group had activated its parallel structures from the national to the ward levels.
‘’The first part of our calculation has been achieved; there is now a clear division within APC, and that has created room for many of our members at both state and national assemblies to leave the party and be part of the emerging platform. Leaders of our group along with other 34 political parties will be meeting with PDP on Friday for more consultation,’’ the source stated.
‘’In the next one week or so, we will sign MoU that will spell out our working relationship, how our teeming members and supporters can be accommodated in PDP at various levels of the party’s structures across the country.’’
Already, at a personal level, the National Chairman of PDP, Mr. Uche Secondus, is said to be engaging with leaders of PDP at the state level, on how the defecting members of rAPC could be accommodated in the party’s structures at the ward, local government and state levels.