•Chieftains under pressure from supporters over timing, party
Plans by members of the nPDP to dump the All Progressives Congress (APC) appears stalled for now, seven days to the crucial national convention of the ruling party.
Leaders of the group have come under pressure from their supporters to let them know their next line of action as early as possible, after suspending peace talks with the APC.
The nPDP, which comprises Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara , Governor Aminu Tambuwwal (Sokoto), Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako, among others, wants to exit the APC over alleged marginalisation and harassment of its members by the leadership of the ruling party.
Nyako said last week that there is no going back on their decision to leave the APC.
He said the group has held talks with the PDP, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) with a view to picking which one to merge with.
The group is also considering forming a new party, he said.
However, The Nation gathered that confusion has gripped the group with members of group unable to reach an agreement on how to go about their exit from the APC.
Some members are even said to be opposed to the idea of defection.
Sources familiar with the development said nPDP members rooting for defection are not happy with the APC leadership for its handling of complaints arising from the conduct of the recent congresses of the party in states like Bauchi, Adamawa and Kano.
The nPDP recently pulled out of talks with the presidency, citing alleged continued persecution of Saraki, withdrawal of security aides of the principal officers of the National Assembly and the decision of the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun led NWC to go ahead with the ratification of the congresses from wards, local governments and states where some of its members had issues.
A source in Kano State said many members of the group are surprised at what they see as foot-dragging by their leaders in the face of obvious nonchalance towards its complaints by the presidency and the leadership of the APC.
Such members wonder why the APC is busy with preparations for the national convention without first looking into the grievances of the nPDP.
“We don’t need anybody to tell us that the APC cares less about how we feel,” the source said.
“We are saying we have been sidelined at the ward, local government and state levels of the party, without addressing our complaints.
“The party is going ahead to use the same processes we are faulting to conduct elections at the national level. What more do we need to see for us to know this is the time to act?
“Unfortunately, some of our leaders are playing some games we don’t understand. We are all stakeholders in this matter and we must all be concerned with common interest and not some personal considerations.
“I hope we will be able to take the right decision as a group. I say this because many of us are very concerned and we are not comfortable with the uncertainty that is now the order of the day in nPDP,” the source, a former Commissioner in Kano State, said.
Other sources told The Nation, however, that contrary to such opinions, some leading chieftains of the nPDP may have tactically resolved to suspend moves about leaving the APC until after the convention.
This, it was gathered, is informed by the willingness of the camp of Saraki to wait and see how some of his men seeking elective positions at the convention will fare.
For now, the only posts nPDP can claim are the National Publicity Secretary which is currently held by Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi and National Treasurer, held by Mohammed Gwagwarwa.
Both men are in the race for re-election at Saturday’s convention.
Abdulahi is an associate of Saraki while Gwagwana is a staunch supporter of Senator Kwankwaso.
A number of nPDP chieftains from Nasarawa, Sokoto and Rivers State have also thrown their hats into the ring to seek elective positions at the convention.
Sources said these aspirants, their godfathers and supporters are in the majority of those urging caution in the defection plans.
A member of the Kwara State House of Assembly who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Nation that angered by the delay in the defection plan of the nPDP are underplaying the serious factors to be considered in taking such a critical decision.
He said:”We are very careful about the whole defection talk. It is not as easy as some people see it and that explains why their agitation is not moving our leader.
“Saraki is a seasoned politician who always looks well before he leaps. We must realise that some people already feel there is nothing left for them in APC largely because of the issues they have locally in their states with their governors.
“Others have good relationships with their states’ chapter of PDP and they are assured of good welcome when they return or defect.
“It is not the same everywhere. Consider how PDP in Rivers, Sokoto or even Kwara States will receive returning nPDP members and you will understand what I am saying. Our leaders are not oblivious of these factors and sincerely, these are the reasons we are yet to agree on what exactly to do.
“We didn’t say we will leave APC at all cost. What we said was we wanted the presidency and the party to look into our grievances and that is being done.
“So it is in everybody’s interest for us to tread very carefully.”
Reminded that the nPDP has already pulled out of discussion with the APC committee led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the legislator said, talks are still on between the two camps.
“We are politicians. Some of our members are contesting at the convention. We have many delegates going to the convention who are nPDP members from nearly all states of the federation,” he said.
Conitnuing, he said: “Why is this so after we pulled out of the talks? It is because discussions are still ongoing on how to possibly resolve the issues raised by us.
“If there is still the possibility of reaching a truce, why are some people in a hurry to jump ship? I am telling you categorically that we have not agreed to dump APC.”
Senator Abdulaziz Nyako, another ranking nPDP chieftain and son of Murtala Nyako, former governor of Adamawa State, told supporters last week in Yola, that it was just a matter of time before the nPDP members dump the APC.
“We have no option than to go; but we are still discussing the party to move to with our entire structure,” he said.
“I have spoken with Prof. Jerry Gana in SDP. I also spoke with Attahiru Bafarawa and fixed an appointment for him with Admiral Nyako. Bafarawa wants us to return to PDP. On Thursday, I went to Abeokuta and sat (down) with (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo about ADC.
“He directed me to see Col. (Olagunsoye) Oyinlola who assured us that we will be absorbed with our structures if we join the party. I also spoke with Kwankwaso before the congresses. Kwankwaso spoke about a new party coming up. I was given the party’s constitution about a month ago, it’s a new party expected to be approved soon with four others by INEC. We are leaving APC before it’s too late,” he said.
When contacted by The Nation, Kawu Baraje, the chairman of the group would not say much. While not refuting nor confirming the said plot, the Kwara State-born politician, whose loyalty to Senate President Bukola Saraki, is well known, said reporters should only write that which they can prove.
“Is there any official statement out there from us stating a date for us to defect from the APC? If there is none, just write that there is none. Thank you,” he said. (The Nation)