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Presidential Poll: These Are Kingmakers Who Will Determine PDP Candidate

Obasanjo, Wike, Danjuma

OLUSOLA FABIYI looks at the power play within the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party and writes on those who will play significant roles in determining the party’s presidential candidate

The National Publicity of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said Nigerians would determine the presidential candidate of the party in the February election. He may be partly correct because delegates who will vote at the party’s special national convention where the candidate will be elected are citizens of the county.

However, while the delegates will queue with ballot papers in their hands and the list of aspirants printed on them, they may not be there to exercise their personal conviction on who to vote. This is because each delegate is believed to have at least a godfather, whose bidding will be reflected on his choice of the party’s presidential candidate.

For the PDP and members of its coalition groups, the 2019 presidential election is too critical to be left in the hands of not too informed delegates.

A former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, expressed the seriousness he and his co-defectors associated with the election at the inauguration of the coalition’s national secretariat in Abuja on Thursday.

At the event, he warned his group to know that its key members would be dealt with by the ruling All Progressives Congress if President Muhammadu Buhari returns to power in 2019.

Oyinlola, a retired general, asked his co-travellers in the plot to know that what they are involved in is like coup plotting.

“Coup is not illegal when it succeeds, but when it fails, plotters are hounded up in jail and later killed.  So, be ready and know the implications of what you are involved in,” he told his audience in a clear language.

Sometimes ago, when the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, led a delegation to visit former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the latter’s residence in Abeokuta, their host also sounded the same warning to his visitors.

To buttress his point, he was also said to have asked one of his personal aides to bring his already-packed bag,  which he said contains his drugs, few clothes and other essentials, ready to be arrested by the Federal Government over their decision to install a new President for the country in 2019.

“You know I’m used to it. I have been arrested before, I was tried for a coup that never existed and I was jailed. Therefore, I’m used to it. It is you who are not used to it. I’m telling you this to let you know that they will come for us if we fail in this task,” he reportedly told his astonished audience.

Such is the seriousness in the camp of the opposition as the nation prepares for the 2019 general elections. They believe that politics is a serious business that will be too expensive to be left in the hands of one person. Though many notable politicians have come out to signify their readiness to fly the party’s presidential ticket in the February election, their fate may have to be determined by just a clique in and outside the former ruling party.

Among those who have signified their intention to run are a former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau; Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo;  a former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi;  a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu (SAN ) and a former governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido.

Others considered to be with the potent war chest to fight for the ticket,  but who have yet to openly declare their ambition are a former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso;  Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal;  and the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki.

While they are expected to traverse the length and breadth of the country to seek votes from the delegates, the deciders of their fate may nevertheless be a few, within and outside the party.

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

He’s been described by many adjectives.  Some are complimentary while others could be full of disdain for the former military head of state and a two-term president. But instead of sitting by and get burdened with the comments of those who have resentment for him, Obasanjo has remained hardened in his unwavering conviction that President Buhari’s performance since he assumed office more three years ago, remain everything but unsatisfactory.

He has said that allowing Buhari to remain in office after four years will mean a reinforcement of failure.  Like a soldier that he is, when Obasanjo is convinced about a cause, he puts in everything in him into it. That is why even though he has torn his membership card of the party that brought him into office, Obasanjo has returned to the political battlefield to strategise with other like-minds just to achieve their aim of getting a replacement for his junior in the army. With his involvement in the formation of the coalition that involves 39 other political parties and associations, it is evident that Obasanjo will be one of those who will determine the standard bearer of the PDP,  which is the dominant political party in the coalition.

T.Y. DANJUMA

Like Obasanjo, Theophilus Danjuma is a retired general. He played a prominent role in the conspiracy that brought Buhari into power. He was said to be one of the major financiers of the APC campaign. The unabated killings in the country, particularly in his native state of Taraba, is believed to have created a wedge between Danjuma and the Buhari government.

Recently, the former army chief openly expressed his frustration about the killings of his kinsmen when he alleged that there was collusion among the security agencies and the killer Fulani herdsmen. He told the people in an unambiguous language, to embrace self-defence.

Danjuma, who is believed to be stupendously rich, hardly talks but when he does, the contents are so heavy that he cannot be ignored.  That was why even the Presidency and the army authority were forced to react to his allegations on the killings.  While the Presidency waved the allegation aside and denied it, the army was forced to set up a probe panel to investigate it.

Danjuma seems not to care about the ranting of the military and the Presidency over that, as he is said to have joined the “brave patriots” to search for an alternative and acceptable candidate that will slug it out with Buhari next year.

CHIEF OLU FALAE

He is not a member of the PDP. In fact, he is the national chairman of the Social Democratic Party.  Naturally, he ought to be concerned about how his party would win the presidential election. That, however, is not the case. Falae, who was a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, played a prominent role in the formation of the coalition that was put together with the sole aim of removing Buhari next year.

He has asked all the political parties involved in the coalition to bury their individual ambition and join hands and present a single candidate for the battle. Going by his presentation at the inauguration of the coalition at its national secretariat last week Thursday in Abuja, and since the PDP remains the largest political party among the partners, Falae is expected to be carried along and also contribute on who would fly the PDP flag for the coalition.

NYESOM WIKE

“Wike the wicked,” as he’s called by his admirers because of his frankness while speaking on national issues and politics in his home state, Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State, will also be a major player in the PDP presidential candidate selection. Apart from being a governor of an oil-rich state, Wike is also one of the major financiers of the party. He played a major role in the installation and the sacking of the erstwhile Acting National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff.  Wike was also at the forefront of the election of the current National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus and the majority of members of the party’s National Working Committee.

The former minister of state for education is also believed to have a close rapport with the majority of the present and former leaders of the party.  With his deep purse and involvement in the bid to rescue the party from the Ali-Modu group who had all defected to the APC, no discussion can hold on who will be the presidential candidate of the PDP and the name of Wike will not be mentioned.  Some people are nevertheless speculating that he is nursing an ambition of becoming the running mate of one of the aspirants.

IBRAHIM BABANGIDA

A former head of a junta in Nigeria, Ibrahim Babangida, does not in any way, qualify as a Democrat going by his past actions and records. Unfortunately, the self-styled “evil genius” is among those being consulted as the PDP begins its tortuous journey to get a credible presidential candidate. His palatial home in Minna, Niger State has since become a Mecca of the sort for politicians from the PDP, seeking relevance in the new dispensation.  He is said to be in touch with some powerful people in the country to pick a candidate for the PDP, whose presidential ticket had eluded Babangida himself in the past.

UCHE SECONDUS

They call him “total chairman” because of his alleged unalloyed loyalty to the party and his friends, Uche Secondus, the national chairman of the party will be saddled with the responsibility of taking a decision with others, in deciding the party’s presidential candidate.  Since he assumed office in December 2017, Secondus has carried on with his job meticulously. His style of leadership, which has been described as unique because of the silent way he carries out his job, has yielded many fruits. His ability to convince Obasanjo to back the PDP’s search for a presidential candidate has been described as unparallel diplomacy.  Such diplomatic moves that also made a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Bode George to reconcile with Obasanjo and bring them together, is expected to manifest in the party’s continued search for a presidential candidate.

Secondus will, however, be expected to carry members of his NWC along in this task. But going by the strategic post he occupies, the national chairman will not be asked to second the motion for the selection of the PDP candidate, he will be duly involved.

SERIAKE DICKSON

The Governor of Bayelsa State is not seeking a re-election and this puts him in a good stead to navigate with other party leaders to search for a formidable candidate for the party.  Besides, Dickson is also presiding over a rich state whose resources will be useful for the presidential campaigns.

EMMANUEL UDOM

The Governor of Akwa Ibom State is another PDP leader with a deep purse. Though he is said to be having a silent running battle with his predecessor, Senator Godswill Akpabio, the governor is said to be a serious party man. While some of his fellow governors from the PDP who are hardly seen at the party events, Emmanuel has been one of the formidable forces behind the position of the party today as a formidable alternative to the APC. The selection team will definitely not asked him to excuse them when the final decision on the PDP presidential candidate is going to be taken.

IFEANYI OKOWA

A former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori may be involved by proxy. His state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, may represent his interest as the former governor has yet to begin to dabble into national politics since he returned from London where he served his jail term having been convicted for corruption. He, nevertheless, still determines the political direction of the oil-rich state and what happens at the party at the centre.

ALIYU GUSAU

One of the prominent members of the military known in their circle as the “master spy,” Gusau, a former National Security Adviser, has remained a close ally of both Obasanjo and Babangida since he left service.  He is said to be among the informal group searching for an alternative to Buhari.

OTHERS

There are others who are expected to also be involved in the search.  These include the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminent Abubakar Sa’adu and the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido.  Though said to be the father to all, some analysts believe that there is no way Tambuwal would defect to the PDP and nurse a presidential ambition without consulting the Sultan. For Emir Sanusi, the defection to the PDP by Kwankwaso has put him on the spot.  This is so as Kwankwaso was the governor of Kano State who installed him as the Emir despite the stiff opposition to his emergence by the then ruling party.

The Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayo Fayose, may fall to the category, but the defeat suffered by the PDP in the state governorship election may have deflated his ego.  That notwithstanding, Fayose is still expected to be involved in the exercise.  (Punch)

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Defection: Your Intervention Too Late, R-APC Tells Buhari |RN

Niyi Odebode, John Alechenu, Olusola Fabiyi and Femi Makinde

The Reformed-All Progressives Congress on Sunday said it was too late for President Muhammadu Buhari to start dangling juicy carrots before its members in order to stop their defection from the ruling APC.

The R-APC, which stated this in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kassim Afegbua, took a swipe at the President and the APC.

The APC faction stated that the Buhari government was not a promise keeper because it had not fulfilled what it promised Nigerians during the electioneering in 2014 and 2015.

In the last one week, Buhari and the APC had intensified efforts to prevent the defection of the R-APC members.

Sunday PUNCH had exclusively reported that the APC had in a last-ditch effort to stop the defection of the R-APC senators and members of the House of Representatives, offered the lawmakers automatic tickets to contest the 2019 elections.

According to the report, R-APC lawmakers will defect on Thursday, if the APC does not put the promise of the automatic tickets they are being offered in writing.

Also last Thursday, Buhari met with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the Presidential Villa, where he was reported to have pleaded with Saraki not to leave the APC.

The ruling party was reported to promise Saraki that he would retain the Senate presidency in 2019.

The R-APC, in its statement, said despite the initial arrogance of the APC leaders they had been pleading with its leaders not to defect.

It stated, “We, members of the R-APC, find it very amusing that those who boasted that they won’t lose sleep over our altruistic action, have been hopping from door to door pleading with our members not to leave by dangling juicy carrots and promising them heaven and earth.

“Such level of double standard is the reason why the R-APC was birthed in the first place because the leadership is not one that keeps promises and it’s the reason why no one should take the APC seriously.”

The APC faction said that it was surprising that the President had been holding meetings with Saraki, “reportedly promising mouth-watering offers; the same leader who was ridiculed, scandalised, demonised, criminalised and called all sorts of names by agents of the Presidency just to give the Senate President a bad name in order to hang him.”

It added, “As soon as the Supreme Court gave a resounding verdict on the trumped up and frivolous charges against the Senate President, Mr President suddenly felt a need to praise the judiciary for standing on its own. Power as they truly say must be a crazy aphrodisiac.”

The R-APC noted that never had the number three citizen of Nigeria been so dehumanised, criminalised and disgraced while  those who just started reconciliation  “kept conspiratorial silence, waiting for the sledgehammer to fall on the Senate President.”

It said that the government tried all tricks, mounted all manner of pressures, raised all dubious allegations, just to nail the Senate President.

The R-APC stated, “They were short of calling him a promoter of armed robbery. They linked his name to the Offa Robbery and improvised all bile to rubbish the institution of the legislature.

“They stripped him naked in the marketplace and now desperately trying to bath him with ornaments in the inner fortress of Aso Rock.”

The group alleged that the Code of Conduct tribunal displayed magisterial arrogance in prosecuting the Senate President, but the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment gave Saraki a clean bill of health.

The R-APC stated, “All the political conspirators in the APC swoop into dubious reconciliation assignment, hopping from door to door at the thick of the night to strike deals of reconciliation. Those who said they won’t lose sleep over the R-APC have become sleepless in the last two weeks.

“Does anyone need to be reminded that caveat emptor should be the operative word? Those who pleaded in the past, short of kneeling before their subordinates, ended up in the political belly of their benefactors when the re-election was concluded. It is an albatross that some people are still carrying till date.”

APC govt, not a promise keeper – R-APC

Berating the Buhari administration, it stated,  “This government is never a promise keeper and some of the promises contained in the manifestos of the APC have been jettisoned.

“The President, who has held himself in the inner sanctuary of the Presidential Villa is all of a sudden, opening his doors to one meeting or the other all in the name of re-election.

“Just to make the point that it is too late in the day; the train has left the station. Leopards cannot change their spots no matter how much one tries to tame them.”

The R-APC urged its members to remain steadfast and resolute in defending their rights and taking the appropriate action in defence of democracy.

It stated, “This democracy must survive on ethical grounds and not on lawlessness and exclusion. It must provide a level playing field for all participants. Those who prevented some persons from visiting their states in the name of politics have suddenly realised that they need the services and support of those persons.

“They are now pleading; ready to submit to all demands. Who does not know that won’t work because examples have shown that political agreements are often observed in the breach.”

The group told its   members nationwide that it was still maintaining its stand against the APC “and no amount of carrots, intimidation and harassment can dissuade us in our shared commitment to rescue this democracy.”

However, there were indications that the APC on Sunday met with the leaders of the R-APC, including Alhaji Buba Galadima.

A top member of the APC, who confided in one of our correspondents in Abuja, said the APC delegates led by the National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, met Galadima at the residence of a former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, very early on Sunday.

The aggrieved members of the APC had after the national convention of the party formed a faction they called R-APC. They had alleged marginalisation and injustice by the APC against them.

But Oshiomhole had in an interview with journalists said there was no faction in the APC.

He had said, “There is no breakup in our party.  If one Galadima is not happy, that is fine. He has a right not to be happy.

“If he chooses to call himself whatever he wants to call himself,  that is not the issue. I will not lose my sleep over that. We know those who are in the system.”

An R-APC source, who confirmed the meeting,   stated, “Yes, it is true they met. They (Oshiomhole and Buba Galadima) met in Kwankwaso’s house.”

The source added. “The man that said he was not going to lose sleep over us went to meet our chairman at 2am.

‘You said you were not going to lose sleep over us, it is 2am, are you not supposed to be sleeping? That is what Buba (Galadima) told him.”

Attempts to get a reaction from  Galadima were unsuccessful. Calls to his mobile telephone number were neither picked nor returned.

A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being expected as of the time of filing this report at 7.30 pm.

Also, efforts to get a response from Oshiomhole were unsuccessful.

His Media Aide, Mr Simon Ebegbulem said, “I will get back to you after I must have reached him.”

He had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report at 7.49 pm.

When contacted, the spokesperson for Kwankwaso, Binta Spikin, said she was not aware of the meeting.

Asked if the meeting took place in her principal’s house and if he was in attendance, Spikin said, “I don’t know.”

APC justifies meetings with R-APC

But the APC, in a statement by its spokesman,  Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, justified the meetings being held by  Buhari and Oshiomhole with the aggrieved party members.

He said the meetings which were being held to persuade aggrieved party members showed that the APC was a responsible party.

Abdullahi said, “What President Muhammadu Buhari and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of our party are doing, persuading every aggrieved member not to leave the party, is what responsible and sensible party leaders would do.

“Party politics is a game of number. And that game is an addition. If the PDP had the same presence of mind in 2015, perhaps the calamity that befell them would have been averted.

“After three years in the wilderness, the Peoples Democratic Party is understandably excited with the possibility of hiding its irredeemably bad image under the heap of a new coalition.

“Like the vulture, the PDP sees every altercation as a potential opportunity for a feast.”

I will make my intention is known soon – Saraki

The APC stated this just as Saraki said he would make known his next political move very soon.

Saraki, who has been rumoured to be planning to defect from the APC ahead of the 2019 general elections,  said this in an interview with journalists in Ede, Osun State.

The Senate President was the guest lecturer at the fourth convocation and conferment of honorary doctorates on some prominent persons by the Adeleke University, Ede.

Saraki said, “ Like I said last week, I will tell Nigerians where and what my intentions are. I would do that very soon.”

The Senate President, who is a friend of the Adeleke family, also congratulated Senator Ademola Adeleke, on his emergence as the governorship candidate of the PDP.

He said he was happy about the performance of Adeleke, who replaced his late brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, as the senator representing the Osun West Senatorial District at the Senate in July 2017.

He said, “I congratulate him apart from being a member of the PDP, don’t forget. He ( Adeleke) is a colleague of mine in the Senate. I am happy to see that he’s done very well. It means that he is popular and well accepted. It is good to see that our member of the Senate is well accepted. I wish him all the best in the election ahead.”

But the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, who was also at the convocation, warned Nigerian leaders and political actors against making utterances and taking steps capable of destabilising the country.

Oshiomhole, Buhari jittery,  says PDP

On its part, the PDP said  Oshiomhole had become jittery over the mega-coalition between it and 38 other political interests. This, it said, had led the APC chairman to resort to hauling of misdirected insults and abuses at the PDP.

The PDP said Oshiomhole’s resort to insults betrayed the confusion of what it described as a depressed politician seeking to cover his personal vacuity and inner fears of the inevitable defeat awaiting Buhari and his APC in 2019.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, that the former ruling party held nothing but pity for Oshiomhole,

He said the APC chairman was licking his own vomit by going around cap in hand and begging the same compatriots whom he had earlier called names like ‘inconsequential,’ ‘hungry birds’ and ‘tired feet,’ not to leave his sinking party.

He stated,  “Unfortunately for Oshiomhole and his presidential sponsor, events of the weeks ahead will clear all doubts that the APC is dead and that Oshiomhole is just an undertaker, whose job is to cremate the derelict contraption by oppressors, who are falsely hailing themselves as messiahs.

“What Oshiomhole and President Buhari, in their fantasy trip, fail to understand is that those they seek to draw into the cave are already aware of the story of the sick lion and that all animals that went visiting never returned. They know that the tiger does not offer his back for a ride without a price.

“Very soon, Oshiomhole and President Buhari would find themselves alone in the cursed ‘Black Pearl’ that the APC has irredeemably become.

“While we understand Oshiomhole’s frustration over his inability to stop the coalition, the fact remains that he and President Buhari are fighting a losing battle in trying to destroy it.”

He said that Nigerians had already reached a consensus to coalesce and vote out President Buhari come 2019 and replace him with a more competent, pan-Nigerian President.

He added that no amount of intimidation, threats, violence or even enticement of any kind could change this iron-cast resolve.

Nigerians don’t need your voter education, PDP tells Buhari

In another development, the PDP told the President not to waste his energy on any cosmetic campaign for collection of Permanent Voter Cards. It alleged that the failure of his administration had provided enough stimuli for Nigerians to fully participate in the 2019 elections.

Ologbondiyan said in a statement in Abuja on Sunday that Buhari declared his interest to run again some months back without engaging in voter education.

He wondered what had made the President to suddenly realise the importance of PVCs.

Ologbondiyan said, “This is a leader who declared interest to contest, months ago, without talking about PVCs or engaging in any form of voter education, only for him to suddenly wake up to the reality of the mass wave of PVC collection by Nigerians, which signposts the inevitable electoral humiliation that awaits him and his party in 2019.

“The sad issue is that President Buhari has refused to come to terms with the fact that Nigerians have since moved ahead of him. He does not need to urge them to get their PVCs.”

A member of the R-APC, Mr Timi Frank, said attempts to woo members and leaders of the R-APC with promises of oil wells and automatic tickets were destined to fail.

He said the plan by members of the R-APC to move out of the APC in their numbers was just a few days away from actualisation.

Frank said this in a statement he signed in Abuja, on Sunday.

He expressed surprise that “The leadership of the APC and the Presidency can resort to begging and making promises of juicy positions, automatic tickets, including oil wells to some of our leaders.”

No political party can hold our democracy to ransom – Oshiomhole

But the APC has also dismissed the PDP’s threat to boycott the 2019 elections, saying no political party could hold Nigeria’s democracy to ransom.

Oshiomhole said this while receiving the report of the Governor Abdulaziz Yari-led panel on the Osun State Governorship primaries, late on Saturday.

The APC national chairman said his party had refused to be intimidated by the opposition PDP because it was obvious that the party was throwing tantrums because its rigging machinery had been dismantled.

He also said the PDP was being haunted by its past and that no one should take the party’s threats seriously because its “do or die” approach to elections had since lost its appeal.

According to him, Nigerians have demonstrated their acceptance of democracy by the sheer number of people that turn up during political activities and for elections.

Oshiomhole said, “Let me tell them (PDP), nobody can threaten democracy, Nigerians have accepted it, they bought into it, they have shown their belief in it by the sheer number of people that voted in the last time and the campaigns you have seen.

“This has shown that beyond political parties, Nigerians are committed to the sustenance of democracy.

“This democracy is not at the mercy of any particular political party. We will not be intimidated and we are committed to one man, one vote, we will sustain it. That is the way to go.”

He likened the threat issued by the PDP to that of “a rabbit jumping out of a hole in the afternoon because a hunter has come to put fire to smoke it out.” (Punch)

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R-APC House Of Representative Members Shift Mass Defection To Next Week |RN

house-chamber

House of representative, Nigeria

John Ameh, Abuja

A planned defection of the members of the Reformed All Progressives Congress in the House of Representatives earlier scheduled for Thursday (yesterday), was shifted to next week, The PUNCH has learnt.

This came as the All Progressives Congress caucus convened an emergency meeting on Thursday, reportedly to drum support for President Muhammadu Buhari and seek ways to convince the R-APC faction to stick with the caucus.

Findings by The PUNCH indicated that Thursday’s meeting, which was convened by the House Majority Leader, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, lasted from 3.30pm to about 5.28pm.

One R-APC source said, “Discussions are ongoing and members want to concretise on strategies before the mass defection will take place.

“What is known is that the APC has given us signals that there is no accommodation for us in the party.

“We are looking forward to any time before July 26, which is Thursday, next week, to move.”

Lawmakers, noticeably from Oyo, Benue and Kwara states did not show up at the caucus meeting.

The PUNCH made fruitless efforts to get the comments of the members from those states on why they were absent at the meeting, which was held behind closed doors.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, also stayed away from the meeting, though he presided over the plenary of the House on Thursday.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Yussuff Lasun, too was absent, but his case was attributed to today’s primary of the APC for the Osun State governorship poll.

When Gbajabiamila hurried out of the venue of the meeting as it ended, he declined to make any categorical statement on the deliberations that took place indoors.

“I don’t dwell on rumours, I dwell on reality. Let that reality come first.

“There is no fire on the mountain, not at all”, he responded to a reporter’s question.

Gbajabiamila made efforts not to be drawn into speaking on the defection plot.

“Where did you find that out from? Let them (R-APC) go first. Talk is cheap,” he snapped.

Feeling confident, the Lagos lawyer added, “I am not scared at all.”

He would also not speak on speculation that Buhari was on the agenda of discussion as he continued to walk briskly away from the venue.

Recall that in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH last week, a member of the R-APC, Mr Razak Atunwa, said the group had tentacles across the country and would make real its plan within the shortest possible time.  (Punch)

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New Trouble Hits APC As nPDP, Others Form Faction Called R-APC |RN

Bub-Galadima-and-Buhari

John Alechenu, Olusola Fabiyi, Success Nwogu, Leke Baiyewu,   and Adeniyi Olugbemi

Aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress, including members of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party, have announced the formation of the Reformed All Progressives Congress.

The National Chairman of the group, Alhaji Buba Galadima, announced the new party executive at a press conference held at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja, on Wednesday.

The group has Dr. Fatai Atanda from Oyo State as the National Secretary and Kazeem Afegbua from Edo State as the National Publicity Secretary. Galadima is a former ally of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari has demonstrated incompetence, nepotism, says R-APC

Galadima explained that the decision to form the R-APC was informed by the realisation that more than three years after the formation of the APC and its promise to positively change Nigeria, the party had deviated from its core objectives and institutionalised the same vices the previous administration was punished at the polls for.

He also noted that the recently concluded congress of the APC and its outcome were invalid because they violated the letter and spirit of the APC constitution.

He said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC had over the last three years demonstrated incompetence and elevated nepotism to the level of statecraft.

Galadima also said the administration had demonstrated intolerance for any form of dissent.

This, he said, was demonstrated in the various attempts to muscle aggrieved party members of the nPDP bloc for making their grievances public.

According to him, the R-APC remains the authentic party hence there is no need to seek fresh recognition from the Independent National Electoral Commission. He challenged anyone who had a different opinion to seek a legal interpretation.

Reading from a prepared text, he said, “…The APC has run a rudderless, inept and incompetent government that has failed to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people. It has rather imposed dictatorship, impunity, abuse of power, a complete abdication of constitutional and statutory responsibilities, infidelity to the rule of law and constitutionalism. It has failed to ensure the security and welfare of our people and elevated nepotism to an unacceptable height.

“The APC has failed to deliver on its key promises to the nation. There is no evidence of any political will to reverse the decline of our party, while leaders who have created these circumstances continue to behave as if Nigerians owe our party votes as a matter of right.

“The APC government has been a monumental disaster, even worse than the government it replaced. The political party that was a vehicle for enthroning the government was rendered powerless by manipulations and complete lack of due process in its operations.”

He noted that the last straw that broke the APC’s camel back was the congresses and the convention of the party held recently, where there were parallel congresses in 24 states.

The R-APC also condemned the recently concluded national convention of the APC which produced Adams Oshiomhole as the national chairman.

Galadima said, “The so-called National Convention of the APC was even worse. The National Convention of the party was ridiculed with constitutional infirmities that were so glaring and obvious that no fair-minded person can claim that a legitimate and lawful executive emerged from that process.

“The Chairman of the Organising Committee, Jigawa State Governor, His Excellency, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, declared 18 seats unopposed and uncontested since only one valid candidate stood at the end of the grossly manipulated exercise for each of the offices. He, therefore, proceeded to declare them duly elected in flagrant abuse and violence to the constitution of the APC.”

Galadima added, “Under the circumstances, patriotic elements and most of the original founders of the APC have found themselves in the opposing side of this charade. Most of the delegates who bought and paid for forms for the congresses and convention and were elected as delegates have come together to take control and give legitimacy to the APC to be now known as and called Reformed-APC (R-APC).”

R-APC names national officers, state chairmen

He said that the R-APC had constituted officers in all the wards, 774 local governments areas, and all the 36 states of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory.

He said the R-APC included all the progressive forces in the APC, including most of the leading members of the defunct nPDP, CPC, ANPP, ACN and others.

He added that R-APC would work with like-minded political parties and groups to offer Nigeria qualitative good governance in 2019.

Galadima said the R-APC had appointed national officers for the faction.

Galadima, who is from Yobe State, said these include Bala Muhd Gwagwarwa (National Deputy Chairman, North); Chief Theo Nkire (National Deputy Chairman, South-East); Eko Olakunle (National Vice-Chairman South-West); Hussaini Dambo (National Vice-Chairman, North-West); Mahmud Abubakar – (National Vice-Chairman, North-Central); Godwin Akaan (Deputy National Secretary); Dr Fatai Atanda (National Secretary) ;and  Kazeem Afegbua (National Publicity Secretary).

Others include: Daniel Bwala (Financial Secretary); Abba Malami Taura (Deputy National Auditor); Kayode Omotosho (National Treasurer); Nicholas Asuzu (National Youth Leader); Baride Gwezia (Legal Adviser); Hajiya Aisha Kaita (National Woman Leader); Mrs. Fatima Adamu (National Welfare Secretary); Alhaji Isiak Akinwumi (Deputy Financial Secretary); Alhaji Bashir Mai Mashi (Deputy National Treasurer); Hauwa Mamuda (Deputy Welfare Secretary); Shuaibu Gobir (Deputy National Publicity Secretary); M. T. Liman (National Organising Secretary); and Dr Theo Sheshi (Deputy National Organising Secretary).

Some of those who were named as state chairmen are, Dimas Ezra (Adamawa State); Sir Toby Chukwudi Okwuaya (Anambra); Sani Shehu (Bauchi); Noah Mark Dickson (Benue); Nasiru Dantiye (Jigawa); retired Col. D. Gora (Kaduna); Umar Haruna Doguwa (Kano); Sada Ilu (Katsina);  Alhaji Hadi Ametuo (Kogi);  Alhaji  Idowu Adeleke (Ogun); Adewale Taofeek (Ondo); Alimi Isiaka Adisa (Oyo); Mohammed Dalah (Yobe); Nasiru Yakubu (Zamfara); Samaila Yusuf Kontagora (Niger); and Adaji Usman (FCT).

Remain in APC,  Oshiomhole begs Saraki, others

But Oshiomhole on Wednesday led the NWC of the ruling party to a meeting with the Senate Caucus.

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, together with most members of the caucus, received the APC NWC at his office where they discussed issues affecting the party.

It was however observed that a former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and Senator Shehu Sani, both of whom had openly expressed their grievances with the APC, were not at the meeting as of the time it entered into a closed session when journalists were sent out of the venue.

Oshiomhole, in his opening remarks, urged the lawmakers to remain in the APC, assuring them that issues bedevilling the party would be resolved.

“So, I ask you, Mr. President of the Senate and distinguished senators, to trust that working together along with our leaders who are not here, we are committed to finding solutions that everyone will be able to smile, remain in the house, work in the house,” Oshiomhole said.

Earlier at the introductory session, Senator Kabiru Marafa, who is leading a faction of the APC in Zamfara State, made reference to the non-recognition of his faction at the recently held national convention of the APC.

Oshiomhole stressed that those who were worried about party structure could record electoral victory if they had the support of the electorate and when the election was free and fair.

“Because of the dynamic nature of politics, it means that we have to put on our thinking cap and deal with issues as they arise, preferable deal with them proactively if they had already developed, and find the courage to deal with them to the best of our ability so that the issues can be resolved,” he said.

Oshiomhole also noted that the party would address the issues across the states based on their peculiarity.

“The purpose of today’s meeting is to have a heart-to-heart conversation, this time focusing more on solutions because we must have the capacity to find acceptable, sustainable solutions so that our party can continue to grow from strength to strength. This, I am committed to,” he said.

Saraki, in his remarks, expressed his confidence in the new Oshiomhole-led NWC to resolve the crises in the APC.

“You have captured it, with your emphasis on finding solutions. Your emphasis on finding solutions is commendable. The essence of leadership is finding solutions, your attitude, your approach is very promising,” he said.

APC may give nPDP senators automatic ticket

Speaking with one of our correspondents after the closed-door session, a senator at the meeting said the NWC would be offering automatic tickets to the lawmakers. This, he said, was a move to stop aggrieved members who were considering defection in the APC.

The source said, “We talked about an automatic ticket to senators. They said our issues will be addressed, particularly that of Marafa who openly expressed his grievance at the meeting. They said they are going to give automatic tickets to most people who are aggrieved. It is to keep everybody (in the APC).

“The essence of the visit was to pacify people not to go out of the party. As a panacea, they are not thinking of giving automatic tickets to people. But where the problem will come is how to satisfy the interest of senators who are seeking governorship tickets of the party. I don’t know how they are going to approach that one.”

PDP senator joins APC

Meanwhile, Senator Sunday Ogbuoji (Ebonyi-South) subtly announced his defection from the PDP to the APC while introducing himself at the meeting. He described himself as “the latest catch” by the ruling party.

The lawmaker, who is the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, was however not cheered when he made the remark.

In Kwara State, the three senatorial chairmen of the APC pleaded with Saraki, to take them to another party.

The three APC senatorial chairmen are  Alhaji Jimoh Balogun (Kwara South);  Alhaji Jimoh Adesina (Kwara Central) and Alhaji Isiaka Oniwa (Kwara North).

PDP to grant Kwankwaso, others waivers

Meanwhile, the PDP is planning to grant waivers to defectors ahead of the 2019 general elections, The PUNCH has learnt.

Investigations by The PUNCH  showed that members of the NWC of the PDP had agreed to grant waivers to politicians to enable them to vie for the positions in the party.

Among those being expected in the party, according to our impeccable sources,  are  Kwankwaso, the Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal; and some prominent members of the National Assembly.

The National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, told one of our correspondents in an interview in Abuja, that his party would grant the expected defectors automatic waivers to vie for any ticket in the party.

He said, “We will give them waivers to aspire for any office of their choice.  We will give them automatic waivers. You can join (the PDP) today and you are free to contest for the number one position.”

Our chair incorruptible, Kwankwaso  still with us – Baraje

Meanwhile, the former National Chairman of the nPDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, has said the choice of Galadima as the National Chairman of the R-APC is informed by his incorruptibility.

Baraje spoke during the unveiling of the R-APC, in Abuja, on Wednesday.

He noted that Galadima’s outstanding leadership qualities and his commitment to the Nigerian project remained unblemished all through his public life.

He said, “Sometimes last week, I made a press release on the nPDP when a lot of you were making enquiries about where we were going? What was going to be our next step, are we still talking to the government or the APC? I dropped a hint that before the end of the first week of July, where we are will be made known to Nigerians and today you have now seen where we are.

“Secondly, I was going through the papers today (Wednesday) and one of the national dallies caught my attention, it said Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso had said bye to the APC. We just finished speaking with him and he is in support of Mr Chairman. He was astonished that such a story could fly. That is part of the antics the chairman is referring to.

“Engr. Rabiu Kwankwoso is very much with this group. We were together when the national officers’ names were being put together and we held final meetings on the address of today (Wednesday). So there is no cause for alarm.

“We believe that the dummy that has been sold to the public, particularly the innocent masses is the idea of fighting corruption if you are looking for any incorruptible person, within the camp of the present President, he is number one.

“We knew the content of the manifesto that the APC was supposed to run and we stood for three years and came out when we waited for three years hoping for things to change and it never changed and we came out to say no.

“Before you know it, they even went deeper with the mischief today (Wednesday) with the news items in the said national paper. This is the beginning of all mischief, this is the beginning of the real, Reformed APC. This is the struggle for the emancipation of our country to stop the bloodletting, rejuvenate the economy of this country, to ensure there are three square meals on the table of the average Nigerian.

“This is what we stand for, strengthening the system and not the individual.” (Punch)

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APC Crisis: Oshiomhole Assumed Office Too Late, We’re Leaving The Party – Shehu Sani

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Senator Shehu Sani

John Alechenu, Abuja

Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna) has revealed plans by aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress in Kaduna State to leave the party.

He told reporters in Abuja, on Tuesday, that the new APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole assumed office at a time it had become too late to reconcile them with the party.

Sani said, “I wish Adams has come earlier because like I said these grenades that were laid by the former chairman will explode in a matter of days.”

According to him, party leaders including President Muhammadu Buhari have proved incapable of handling the crisis.

The Senator explained that the ward, local government and state congresses in Kaduna were flawed and that complaints he and other party members lodged were ignored by the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee.

He noted that to further compound an already bad situation, the immediate past party leadership went ahead to inaugurate the executive committee’s which emerged from the flawed congresses.

Sani said, “It is also very clear to us that even President Muhammadu Buhari is incapable of tackling the menace of the governor of Kaduna state.

“How can a governor, openly called for violence against Senators and not a statement came from the seat of power cautioning such a governor?

“How can a governor move bulldozers and demolish a house of a fellow party member, the one who helped him to be where he is and there is not even a statement from the presidency?

“The governor uses the machinery of the state to emasculate political opponents. He even framed me for murder and there was no statement that came from the presidency to caution such a governor.

“Virtually Kaduna state under governor El-Rufai does not create a conducive environment for any of us to remain in that party (APC).”

The Senator also said, “There were three attempts to resolve the Kaduna APC crisis; there was Inuwa Abdulkadir committee which was never respected by the governor, there was the governor Masari- led committee which was also not respected and there as you can see, Tinubu’s attempt to reconcile members of the party was simply naturalized and abandoned. So we are not slaves to continue to be at that party.  (Punch)

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I’ll Not Meet nPDP Members – Buhari |The Republican News

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that he will never sit down for discussion with the aggrieved members of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party that joined forces to form the ruling All Progressives Congress.

A top government official disclosed this to journalists on the condition of anonymity on Monday.

The source said Buhari had conveyed his position on the matter to state governors elected on the platform of the APC during a meeting he had with them recently.

The President was said to have insisted that state governors and the national leaders of the party should be able to resolve such issues.

He said the issue was a party matter and he was not ready to sit with any faction.

“It is a party matter. I am not ready to sit down with any faction. If they have problems, they should go to the party. I will not interfere.

“Governors as party leaders in the states should deal with all issues. Where there is a need, the party leadership can come in. I will not get involved,” Buhari was quoted to have told the APC governors.

He was, however, said to have agreed that the contact started by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo should continue.

The source also added that opinions were divided on the issue among the governors that attended the meeting.

“Some hard-line governors asked the President to ignore the nPDP members while the majority felt the party and the VP should continue to talk to them,” the source added.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, could not be reached on the telephone for comment as of the time of filing this report.

But the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; a former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano-Central); and Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna-Central), who are part of the aggrieved APC members, could not be reached for comments on Monday night.

Several calls made to Sani and Saraki’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, were not answered and they had yet to reply to messages sent to them as of the time of filing this report.

Saraki and Olaniyonu had gone to Saudi Arabia to observe the lesser Hajj.

When contacted, an aide to Kwankwaso, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said his principal was out of the country and was not aware of the position taken by the President on the crisis.

He said, “I think what you should do is to get the response from the Chairman of the nPDP,  Alhaji Kawu Baraje. My boss has travelled out of the country and I can’t say anything about it. He has not heard anything like that.”

The nPDP had earlier in May issued a seven-day ultimatum to President Buhari to address grievances of alleged marginalisation and persecution of its members.

The ultimatum was contained in a letter sent to the President by the chairman of the defunct nPDP,  Baraje and the secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

It was sent to the President through the office of the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

The nPDP bloc expressed dismay that despite significant contributions they made in the emergence of Buhari as the winner of the 2015 Presidential election, they had been sidelined by the government.

Specifically, they claimed that members of their group were denied juicy appointments while those who got top positions in the National Assembly were being allegedly persecuted by the Federal Government.

Saraki and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, are prominent members of the nPDP bloc of the APC.

Saraki is facing prosecution for alleged false asset declaration charges at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The President had earlier mandated a national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, to reconcile all aggrieved members while Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had met with the leadership of the nPDP members to resolve the crisis. Both efforts have been futile with the nPDP leadership insisting on meeting with the President.  (Punch)

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APC Parallel Excos Ready For Mass Exodus |The Republican News

BUHARI-APC-GOVS

President Muhammadu Buhari, VP Osinbajo with APC governors

JOHN ALECHENU,  OLUFEMI ATOYEBI, IHUOMA CHIEDOZIE  andPETER DADA

The All Progressives Congress leaders who organised parallel congresses which produced separate executives in some states are planning a mass defection if the Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee of the party fails to address their grievances.

Investigations by SUNDAY PUNCH correspondents in the affected states showed that while some state factions of the APC were perfecting strategies to dump the party, others preferred to remain within the system and work for other parties’ candidates.

In Oyo State, the Unity Forum largely made up of the late governor Lam Adesina’s loyalists, Adebayo Shittu’s group, some aggrieved loyalists of Governor Abiola Ajimobi and those who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party and Accord Party, have vowed to defect en masse soon.

The spokesperson for the group, Wasiu Olatubosun, said although the group had approached the court to seek redress, arrangements were being made to pull out of the party in case the state government manipulates the court process.

He said, “We are aware that the governor and his people have been saying the judiciary is an annexe of the executive and that we cannot defeat him there.

“This group is not politically inconsequential. If he has the judiciary in his pocket and believes that everyone has a price, he cannot control who we associate with. We have a plan B.

“We are aware that some people will stay back in the party because they hold one position or the other. What matters is for us to go for a credible platform where we can prove that we are not inconsequential. We proved to him that we are relevant during the by-election in Ibarapa East last week.

“The government spent almost N100m on that by-election but the party candidate lost by a wide margin. There is an election pattern that was jettisoned and that was the reason for the failure.”

However, in Ondo State, the factional group within the APC has vowed to take a definite action against the disqualification of their congresses held in the state by the party’s NWC.

The group, which had its parallel ward, local and state congresses disqualified, described the action of the national leadership of the party as unfair and unacceptable.

Speaking with one of our correspondents, the factional chairman, Mr Idowu Otetubi, insisted that the group produced the authentic state executive because it conducted a proper congress.

He said, “We are definitely going to take action. In very few days to this time, you will see what will happen. I won’t say more than that for now; just wait.

“This is our party, we are not going to leave the party for anyone. It is an internal crisis but we are going to fight the injustice, just wait and see what will happen in the next few days.”

One of the ringleaders of the group, however, told one of our correspondents in confidence that they were already considering a mass exodus from the party.

In Enugu State, the Deacon Okey Ogbodo-led APC faction had already gone to court to restrain the NWC from recognising Dr Ben Nwoye as the chairman of the party in the state.

An Enugu Federal High Court had made an interim order restraining the APC national leadership from recognising Nwoye as the Enugu State chairman, pending the determination of a suit filed by the Ogbodo’s camp.

In defiance to the ruling, the party’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, inaugurated Nwoye.

The court has fixed June 26 to deliver judgment in the matter.

The spokesperson for the Ogbodo faction, Mr Melvin Onuora, said his group was waiting for the court to determine the matter.

He said, “There is nothing like the inauguration, what happened was nothing but an attempt to scuttle the court order.

“Now that the court has given a date for the judgment, we will wait until the court decides but we are confident.

“As far as we are concerned, there was no inauguration. We are waiting for the court to decide.”

The factional spokesman was, however, silent on whether his group would consider leaving the party, though sources among them said they were ready to quit in order to protest the injustice.

Onuora insisted that they would continue to push their case in court until ‘justice’ was done.

The factional chairman of the APC in Kano State, Haruna Doguwa, said he was waiting for the party’s national secretariat to make pronouncements on the fate of his executive before directing his members to take necessary actions.

Party goes tough on parallel state excos

Meanwhile, the National Working Committee of the APC has perfected strategies to go tough on party members who are parading themselves as parallel state executives.

It was learnt that any errant member, who resorted to litigation, could be expelled by the party.

SUNDAY PUNCH gathered in Abuja on Saturday that except for Rivers, Delta, Oyo and Taraba states, where a committee headed by the party’s Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu, is expected to lead reconciliatory efforts, the party might invoke the provisions of Article 21 of the APC Constitution (2014) as amended.

A member of the party’s leadership, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Without discipline, it is impossible to run a political party.

“I think the era of platitudes and playing politics of appeasement is gone. We don’t have time. Our national convention is just a few weeks away. So, the question of holding another Congress is out of it.

“We are aware that there are individuals who, no matter what you do, they have made up their minds to leave the party. But, we will continue to engage them in talks; perhaps some will see reason and remain.”

He argued that those who conducted parallel congresses acted contrary to the provisions of the party’s constitution, adding that appeasement was out of the question.

When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Bolaji Abdullahi, said the party expected all its members to obey its constitution and play the game of politics by the rules.

He explained that the NWC set up the Congress and appeal committees for each state and that the least the party expected of members, who were dissatisfied with the Congress, was to take the matter up with the appeal panel.

Abdullahi said the appeal panel would submit a report to the NWC which had the final say on such issues.

He noted that there was little, if anything, that the party could do for aggrieved members who ignored this procedure.

In response to a question on the fate of parallel state executives, the party spokesperson said the recent inauguration of state chairman had put the matter to rest.  (Punch)

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