*Wants ex-Gov Sylva probed *As party leadership denies rift
By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA — Despite repeated denials by party officials and members, the All Progressives Congress, APC, is now divided into two factions.
Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Timi Frank, disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Abuja, yesterday.
Meanwhile, the National Secretary of the party, Mai Mala Buni, last night dismissed the claim about division in the party, saying: “The bogus and misleading allegations are unnecessary distractions to the party’s resolve to fully support the President Muhammadu Buhari administration deliver on the motley promises made by our great party to the electorate.”
Frank, who was reacting to allegations that APC chieftain and former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva “sold” the state’s ministerial slot to Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, lamented the inability of the national leadership of the party to steer it from troubled waters.
He said: “I spoke in Bayelsa (about the impending crisis) but they did not take me seriously. Very soon, it (crisis) will happen at the national level too. If anyone tells you that there is no crisis in the national APC, it is a lie.
“The party is now divided into two. The issue of the Senate president is still there and the party is not talking. So, there is crisis in the party. We have so much divisions and they are keeping quiet. If care is not taking, we are soon going to lose our popularity as a party.”
Although he didn’t give identities of leaders of the two factions, Vanguard understands that while the ACN, CPC and ANPP are largely doing things in common, the new PDP seems to be on its own.
Sylva must be probed
On claims by Bayelsa State chapter chairman of the party, Chief Timipa Orunimighe, that Sylva collected money from the Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri, to nominate the latter for a ministerial slot, Frank challenged the party to rise to the occasion and get to the root of the matter.
According to him, the allegations are too weighty for the leaders of the party to remain quiet, and such posturing will impact negatively on the image of the administration at the centre.
He said: “Today I am a very happy man because when I came out before the governorship election in Bayelsa to say that Timipre Sylva cannot do the job for the second time in Bayelsa because he was not liked by the people and was very unpopular at that time, nobody took me seriously, including the leadership of the party in Bayelsa State at that time. But today, I am happy and I am thanking God that he has shown Nigerians what I knew then.
“It is a total disgrace if our party cannot act or investigate this allegation and just allow it to go under the carpet without taking action on it. Nigerians and the opposition party are waiting to see what we are going to do.”
APC leadership denies rift
According to Mai Mala Buni, “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 where positive and far-reaching decisions were collectively taken by the party’s leadership to drive it 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 Comrade Timi 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.”