The New PDP has withdrawn from its scheduled talks with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, today.
Leaders of the group attributions the decision to, among other things, the treatment of the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by security agencies.
The group is also accusing the presidency of lack of interest in the talks, claiming negotiations may have been done in bad faith.
According to a statement signed by the spokesperson of the New PDP, Mr Abubakar Baraje, there have been ongoing talks between the New PDP, the APC and the Presidency in recent days.
He, however, accused the Presidency of misrepresenting what transpired at last week’s meeting by trying to blackmail some of the principal actors in a national daily.
“The persecution of our members using state security apparatus has continued unabated,” the statement read in part.
“We recognise the powers of the Police to conduct criminal investigations, but by rushing to the public with the issue even when they have unfettered access to the leadership of the National Assembly suggests an attempt to undermine, caricature and humiliate the institution of the legislature.”
According to the New PDP, the alleged attempt by the police to rope the Senate President into the Offa bank robbery and the Department of State Security’s withdrawal of half of speaker Yakubu Dogara’s security detail are enough incentive to pull out of the talks.
The nPDP leadership says it will brief its members and get a fresh mandate if good faith returns to the discussions.
Former member of the defunct New PDP, Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, who was one of the two G7 governors who did not defect to the APC has said that the cross carpeting of his former colleagues is a welcomed development, as it will bring sanity to the PDP.
During an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s correspondent, Gbenga Ashiru, he said that those who have placed their ambitions above national interest are vandalising the party which he “cherishes, loves and believes in.”
“Our fight was to bring the attention of the party to do the right thing,” he said.
He disclosed that his involvement with the New PDP was to cause the party’s leadership to ‘behave’ as well as bring sanity into the party.
“When I’m in the PDP, I’ll do anything with anybody in the world to collaborate to bring sanity into PDP.”
Governor Lamido, who did not speak at the end of Sunday’s meeting with the President, spoke about the crisis in the party. He said that it was all about preserving democracy, because if PDP has its acts wrong, the government would be wrong, and the whole system would be wrong.
The Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin has referred to the union between members of the new PDP and the APC as proof that politics of ideology is dead in Nigeria.
Odumakin made this assertion on Thursday morning when he was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’, to discuss the issues rising from the G7 Governors’ move.
With reference to the governorship tussle between Former Osun State Governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and the APC Chairman, Bisi Akande in Osun state in 2003, he highlighted the contrast between the past political battles between the politicians and their new found friendship.
“Oyinlola was the man Obasanjo allegedly used to rig Akande out of office in Osun State. By 2007, Chief Akande’s party through its governorship candidate, Rauf Aregbesola took Oyinlola to the tribunal… Oyinlola went to say that the ACN induced Justice Salami… and it produced all kinds of illicit calls between the two parties but now we see them embracing and holding microphone for each other.
“It only shows one thing, that we have seen the end of politics of ideology in this country, and that everybody is now about grabbing power, and that the end justifies the means is the politics we are practising now.”
Mr Odumakin went down memory lane, recounting how Nigeria lost the ideological politics it once practised, “up until the 2nd Republic, we had parties that were clearly defined in terms of ideology. It would have been an anathema in the 2nd Republic, to see Awolowo holding a rally to receive MPM members into UPN, it would not have happened.”
“It was under Ibrahim Babangida that you found all kinds of characters released into our politics. Illicit funds, people who could not account for their wealth, people whose sources of livelihood were questionable.”
He asked that the politicians should stop all deception since they have shown that they are the same. The seamless way they have continued to unite and breakup shows that their activities are not about the people but about themselves.
He asked, “Are you saying that these fellows who are more or less founding members of the PDP, just because they crossed over to APC now they have gone progressive? It means that words have lost their meanings in our clime.”
He continued, “Those people who are leaving PDP, what’s the basis of their disagreement? Have they told you anything that they disagree with that has to do with the welfare of the people? or the way the PDP was being run, other than the fact that somebody signed an agreement with us that ‘it is the turn of the North to produce president’?”
Odumakin, who claimed to have lost faith in the current politics in Nigeria, stated that the politics Nigeria has played since 1999 has reached its end, suggesting that the time has come to sit down and discuss Nigeria for Nigerians to take back their country.
“After we restructure this country, I think we can go back to politics and that will be politics that has content, principle and defining line that empowers the people; not the trading that is going on now being called politics.”
He added that the year 2014 provides the opportunity for Nigeria to do this ahead of the 2015 general elections. “If we don’t have 2014, we cannot have 2015.”
“If we are able to hold a proper National Conference and we are able to do all that is needful, about bringing out a proper country, then the various constituent units of the country can now go back to the real politics of values, that empowers the people; politics about issues and not about just grabbing power.”
He concluded, “People are just deceiving themselves talking about 2015, given what’s on the ground today, there cannot be 2015 and if there is any 2015, it will lead to a major catastrophe. Anambra has shown you what to expect in 2015”.
Nigerian lawmakers have made diverse comments on the merger of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) and the All Progressives Alliance (APC), a development expected to generated unexpected debates related to its consequences in the plenaries of the upper and lower chambers.
The merger will be a source of worry for lawmakers, as they will have to consider the legal implications if they decide to move with the governors of the states they represent. The law may not have implications on the governor but on a lawmaker, the individual stands a possibility of losing his seat.
After the declaration of the merger on Tuesday by the chairman of the defunct nPDP, Mr. Kawu Baraje, some lawmakers hailed the decision, describing it as “the best decision the aggrieved group of governors should take”.
Lawmakers, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party the governors broke away from, insisted that the merger would not in any way affect the party.
Some other lawmakers said that the merger was long expected while others did not see it coming.
Other reactions stressed the fact that something had been brewing beneath the surface and had finally erupted with the merger.
Commenting on the legal consequence, a lawyer, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, said that any lawmaker that is part of the transition may lose his seat.
“Well, for governors there is really no legal consequence because once you are elected as a governor of a state it is assumed that you have a state-wide mandate of the constituency, which is a state to govern and he has been elected in his own personal capacity as such.
“Although, the Supreme Court, in Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s case made it clear that when you are elected, you are being elected on the platform of a party and it is the party that won the election.
“But the truth of the matter is that when it comes to the consequences of leaving your old party to another party that Supreme Court’s decision cannot hold sway. There is no provision that says that if you move over to another party you will lose you position,” Mr Aturu stated.
He said that, legally speaking, the governors would remain governors of their respective states and would not be affected.
“But if you are a legislator and you move to another party and you cannot show that your old party has been racked with division, then, of cause, you will lose your seat by virtue of the constitutional provision that is relevant to this matter,” he explained.
The Interim secretary of the Bayelsa State chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Sidi Godwin, has disagreed with the suspension of Olagunsoye Oyinlola, describing it as an act of “desperation in the highest quarters,” referring to the Bamanga Tukur leadership.
Godwin described the announcement by the Party’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, making known the suspension of Oyinlola and three other members of the National Executive Committee, for breach of sections 58(1), (b), (g), H and I of the party’s constitution, as an abnormality.
“The action by the Bamanga-Tukur led PDP is unconstitutional and an abuse of democracy,” he said.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, on Wednesday, Mr Godwin said that due process was not followed and such actions deepened the rift among members.
While making the suspension announcement, Metuh read a section of the party’s constitution seen as the code of conduct for members:
“Anyone who does or says anything likely to bring the PDP into disrepute, hatred or contempt has committed a disciplinary offence.
Anyone who engages in disorderly conduct at meetings or rallies, at any party function, including walking out at conventions, is engaging in disorderly conduct.”
However, Godwin insisted that the suspension was “based on what they (Bamanga caucus) have agreed on their own to do to oppress other members of the party.”
Making reference to the court ruling reinstating Oyinlola as National Secretary, Godwin said “the will of the so called caucus members cannot override the will of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These are some of the things the new PDP plans to kick against.”
New PDP Governors Are ‘Messiah Governors’
While speaking on Sunrise Daily, Godwin stressed that the members of the PDP who have made known their dissatisfaction with the current leadership are still members of the party but were tagged ‘New PDP’ by those who interpreted their actions as ‘defection.’
“Sometimes they call them ‘Rebel Governor’s forgetting the fact that these governors are ‘Messiah Governors’ to save Nigeria.”
A legal practitioner and public affairs analyst, Mr Ikechukwu Ikeji on Monday berated the Baraje-Led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for visiting the leadership of the assembly saying their visit was “morally wrong”.
The lawyer, who noted that new PDP’s visit was like taking a family problem to the village square, added that the Senate President had no right to receive the factional party members.
“The Senate President has no right, whatsoever, with due respect to him, to have received the so called new PDP” because “they have no legal entity”.
He wondered why the visit was embarked upon as soon as the Assembly resumed sitting after recess noting that “you cannot justify” such a legislative action.
“The constitutional responsibility of the National Assembly is lawmaking and oversight functions” wondering if “you can locate that visit in any of these two?”.
He said such visits by institutions that are not under the control of the government should not be allowed, because it will “encourage destabilisation of the polity”.
Citing the walk staged by the group during the PDP Special National Convention, Mr Ikeji accused members of the nPDP of undermining “our symbol of sovereignty” noting that “all honour and respect must be accorded to him at all times.
He insisted that the president’s office must not be subjugated because of the disaffection of some members of the party the president belongs.