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By Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
A fresh crisis is brewing in the All Progressives Congress (APC) as former state chairmen of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), one of the legacy parties that coalesced to form the ruling party, have formed a new political association, New Nigeria Movement.
They hinged their decision on the ruling party’s deviation from its foundational plans.
This comes as the Chairman of Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the ruling party and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, has warned that the party will deal with anyone or group that attempts to hijack the membership/revalidation of the party.
The CPC, along with the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2009, and factions of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had joined forces with others to form APC to wrestle power from the PDP in 2015.
Some PDP governors, led by Mr. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, formed the New PDP that joined the APC.
However, the ACN and the CPC, on whose platform President Muhammadu Buhari ran and lost in 2011 after he pulled out of the ANPP where he had vied for the presidency twice in 2003 and 2007, were the major partners in the coalition of political parties that formed the ruling party.
But at a meeting in Abuja, yesterday, the CPC members said they have floated the NNM ahead of the 2023 election season during which Buhari would’ve fully served its two terms, and ineligible to run again.
A communiqué issued to journalists after its inaugural meeting named a former Kano State chairman of the defunct CPC, Alhaji Ahmed Zogo, as its national chairman.
The group promised to give a new direction to Nigeria.
The communiqué read: “The inaugural meeting of the New Nigeria Movement (NNM), a socio-political group comprising patriotic and credible Nigerians who are determined to give a new direction held in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, on the 19th of January, 2021.
“The pioneer members are drawn from the thirty-six states of the federation and united by a burning desire to give Nigeria a new political direction that will guarantee peace, true unity, equity and mutual trust.”
The communiqué stated that the group empathised with Buhari on his efforts at salvaging Nigeria from the age-long decay and also commended him for reminding the APC national caretaker committee on the need to keep the commitment to all members of the merger – CPC, ACN, and ANPP).
“The New Nigeria Movement (NNM), therefore, resolved to team up with patriotic Nigerians and the president to move the country forward.
“Our movement is in total support of the clarion call by Nigerians for power shift to the South and generational power shift,” it added.
Meanwhile, Buni has warned that the APC will deal with anyone or group that attempts to hijack the membership/revalidation of the party.
He gave the warning yesterday in Abuja while inaugurating the National Committee for Membership/Revalidation, chaired by Niger State Governor, Mr. Abubakar Bello.
Buni said the party has not had the opportunity of renewing its membership register since the initial registration in 2014.
He added that the party has in the last seven years received many politicians who defected to the APC, but were not registered.
Besides, youths who have attained the age of 18 years and above and who have joined the party within the period have not be registered, while others who left the party still have their names on the register.
According to him, the registration and revalidation provide the opportunity for both new and old members to register and update their membership in the party, and for the party to expunge names of those who have left the fold.
The chairman said the committee holds the key to ensuring a successful membership registration and revalidation.
He stated: “Let me make it abundantly clear that the party would not condone any act of sabotage of denying anyone or group of persons from registering. The party would deal decisively with anyone or group who attempts hijacking the exercise. Everyone must be allowed and given the chance to register.
The party has adequate back-up materials to ensure a successful exercise and no one is disenfranchised.
I am very sure that our figures in the register would surge into quadruples or even more, to further prove that APC is indeed Nigeria’s largest and leading political party.”
Bello assured the party that the committee will ensure that any interested person or group will be given the opportunity to join APC.
Bello added that the mandate of the committee is to grow the party, stressing that party members should not be intimidated by the calibre of people that will join the party.