The New PDP has withdrawn from its scheduled talks with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, today.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.
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Tunji Shelle has explained reasons why the former National Chairman of the ruling party, Bamanga Tukur, had denied his impending resignation on different occasions despite the high-powered meetings which took place to determine the party’s fate, in the light of its dwindling membership.
“He said it because of his personal convictions that he was doing the right thing. He was protecting PDP. He was protecting Mr President,” Shelle said.
Mr Tukur, who assumed the position in March 2012, vacated the office on Thursday as announced by President Goodluck Jonathan. However, the resignation which Mr Shelle said was not forced but took time to be concretised.
“It took a lot of time. It took a lot of calculations. It took a lot of wisdom. It took a lot of meetings from the caucus level to the BoT level and then before they brought it to the NEC level,” Shelle explained.
He further described the former chairman as a ‘good man’ who had strong convictions in his beliefs but concerning all the issues which led to his resignation, “age was not on his side.”
Mr Shelle who was present at the NEC meeting, where the decision was reached, told Channels Television while speaking on Sunrise Daily that the decision of the PDP leadership was an agreed one.
He added that the former Chairman was not forced into resigning as there were several consultations and meetings at different levels of the organisation. State Chairmen of the Party had also stated that the Chairman should step down in the interest of the party
“When your soldiers are no longer behind you, definitely you would know that the time is up.”
He added that “I wouldn’t blame him. He had a personal conviction that he was doing the right thing but we thought otherwise because we were losing members.”
“Alhaji Bamanga Turkur is a good man. He has enormous wisdom, He has dexterity. He has seen it all..
“He felt certain people were digging deep to cause mayhem in the party so he maintained his personal belief… but later all of us realized that his approach was not healthy.”
Shelle also addressed former members of the party who joined the opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), to return as the APC does not present them the best ‘environment.’ According to the politician, it is likely that the decampees would return “because the opposition party is not the best environment for them.”
“The best option for them now is to retrace their steps,” he stated, adding that “APC has not redefined itself and has not given enough reasons for people to join them.”
On the alleged battle of wills between the former Chairman and the Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, who was among the five governors that decamped to the APC, Mr Shelle said “they have one grouse or the other with each other.”
“When we newly came in, the first problem we had was that the EXCO of Adamawa was not properly constituted” and “the Chairman took a unilateral decision without carrying the National Working Committee along.”
He expressed belief that the PDP would be stronger than it was. “We have learnt our lessons of redefining our goals, working together as a team and focusing on the development of the nation,” he noted.
A Political Analyst, Adetokunbo Pearse, on Thursday accused the media and the public of blowing the issues in the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), out of proportion as the fall out between high ranking members of the ruling party is but “Exercise in Democratic Development.”
“PDP allows for expression of individual opinion, there would be “this type of back and forth” going on in the party, he said.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Pearse said “the concern with the going-on in PDP is overblown,” pointing out that “there’s a difference between government and political parties.”
The PDP, which is regarded as the largest political party in Africa, had been in the news in recent times as a result of internal wranglings among members whose demands and agitations led to court battles, the cross carpeting of five governors, 37 lawmakers and many others.
While commenting on the severity of the crisis, Mr Pearse opined that the issues were not of national importance. “We should not concern ourselves so much with what is going on within the structure of a political party,” he said adding that citizens should rather focus “more on governance. What affects us as a people in the different areas of the economy.”
The development in the PDP “is an exercise in democratic development,” he added.
He also said that: “In the PDP you are allowed to voice your opinion. Nobody is a god in the PDP. Nobody has all the answers. There are no sacred cows in the PDP… We challenge the National Chairman, we challenge the President. That is an exercise in democracy and this is the only democratic party you have in the country.”
He went further to say that the activities and political structure of the opposition party, All Progressives Congress, should be probed.
“By the way, what do you make of a party like the APC that has had one national chairman throughout the life of the party,” he asked, adding that “no PDP Chairman has stayed in office more than two years.”
On whether the embattled National Chairman, Bamanga Tukuru, will resign from his position, Mr Pearse said the decision should be left to him (Tukur).
The Director of Press in the Adamawa State House, Ahmad Sajoh, on Wednesday told Channels Television that the outcry against the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Bamanga Tukur as well as the call for his removal originated from a poorly conducted party election in the northern state.
Speaking as a guest on the station’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Sajoh said acts of impunity by the leadership of the PDP at the national level led to the on-going crisis which has threatened to engulf the nation.
“Beyond what we are seeing in Rivers, I can see dangers in the whole country” as issues of National Development seem to have taken the back burner while issues of ethnicity, personalities and religions have dominated discourses in the public domain.
He noted that “politicians are becoming too self-centered. They are thinking of their self too much, much more than they are thinking of the nation or the people.”
“If the situation in Adamawa was managed properly, maybe the National Chairman (of the PDP) would not have gotten to where he is because that is the genesis of the entire crisis.”
“The whole agitations against him, the level of impunity that people are talking about today came from Adamawa,” he said.
He continued by saying that: “There was an election of the party leadership in Adamawa. That election was conducted by a panel sent by the National Secretariat. No Adamawa indigene was involved, no Adamawa person was involved.
“The panel called for nominations, screened the candidates, declared them fit to contest, conducted the elections and those that won the elections. They (panel) wrote a report (I have a copy of the report) to the National Secretariat that the election in Adamawa state was free, fair and in accordance with the constitution of the PDP. An appeal panel came and said Adamawa people have appeared to understand the meaning of working together so they passed the process.
“Shortly after that, a letter came from the National Secretariat dissolving the EXCO on the grounds that something violated the PDP constitution in the constitution of the EXCO.
“At that point, if after there was this strict argument based on the law and the documents available and if superior argument had won and the national leadership accepted that they were wrong in doing this or right in doing this and an amicable settlement was done, then this crisis would not have escalated to other states being affected, other people affected and now it’s trying to engulf the entire country,” Sajoh said.
He berated the attitude of Nigerian politicians for being unrelenting in their quest for position, adding that “most of us in politics in Nigeria are too self-centered. It’s about self and now we have also extended that same thing to the larger society by insisting that all discussions should be about individuals, about where they come from.”
According to him, the same scenario is playing out in Rivers State where the issue revolves around persons including Governor Chibuike Amaechi who had defected to the opposition party, the First Lady of the nation, Dame Patience Jonathan and others.
He described the situation in the oil-rich state ominous for the entire nation and that dishonesty on the part of the Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu on the use of rubber bullets is a recipe for more troubles for the nation. “When people do things and don’t own up to them, it is a recipe for serious crisis in the country,” he said.
He cited the crisis which has torn apart the Central African Republic, adding that the crisis of leadership in Nigeria could create more repercussions than expected if left to degenerate.
Sajoh however expressed confidence in the power of dialogue adding that “political differences could be discussed no matter what they are without resorting to the use of violence.”
The interim National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Lai Mohammed has assured party supporters that there would be no turning back for the new members who crossed over from the new PDP.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise, on Saturday, Mr Mohammed described the alliance as the third event in 2013 which changed the political landscape in the country forever.
The three events were: the merger which birthed the APC on 31st of August, the implosion within the PDP manifested by the walking out of the G7 at the National Convention and the official agreement signed by the new PDP to be part of the APC on the 28th of November.
He stressed that the alliance is between the nPDP and the APC and not the G7 governors alone.
Commenting on the meeting the G7 Governors will hold with President Goodluck Jonathan, he said
“The new PDP is much more than just the governors because in the fold of the new PDP, we also have legislators, senators, members of National Assembly, members of Houses of Assembly and other rank and file politicians.”
About the meeting, “we are not worried about the purported meeting with the governors and the president because we have the firm assurance of the leadership of the new PDP that they have crossed the rubicon and that there’s no going back.”
“I am very confident that nothing has changed,” he added.
He also said that he would be surprised if anything changes because Baraje addressed the whole world.
The meeting which produced the alliance was ‘well-thought out’
Responding to Niger Governor’s (Babangida Aliyu) comments expressing shock at the move, Mr Mohammed said the party is “mildly surprised” and added that “this is politics and I think that he might not be with us today but we should not close the door to him.”
He disclosed that the leadership of the APC has been holding meetings with the new members at the state level to harmonise the political structure.
According to him, APC is inching nearer to its dream of forming the next government in Nigeria.
A member of the APC, Bisi Adegbuyi, on Thursday said that the alliance between some members of the nPDP and his party is the manifestation of a prediction by late political icon, Obafemi Awolowo who had said progressives in conservative parties will coalesce with the progressives.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Adegbuyi lauded the move by the nPDP governors and said that this will strengthen the opposition in favour of the people.
“There can’t be a democracy without opposition,” he said.
Responding to critics who have said that the alliance is not worth celebrating because Nigerian politicians are all cut from the same fabric and there is no clear ideology guiding the parties, Adegbuyi said he bears no grudge with them.
He said that not everyone in PDP is bad, while not everyone in APC is a saint and added that the alliance will allow the people to have options to choose from, as opposed to one party dominating government.
If you must check the excesses of the ruling party and avoid a one party state, we must encourage the splinter groups to coalesce.
Asked if the alliance automatically makes the new member governors ‘progressive’ in nature, he said “Chief Obafemi Awolowo had predicted that at some point, the progressives in conservative parties (who are there for whatever reason known to them) and progressives will coalesce.
“I believe this is coming to pass,” he said.
He defined a Progressive politician as one who “adheres strictly to the principles of federalism.”
He stressed that Nigeria needs a constitutional framework which accommodates its multi ethnic, multi-cultural and multi religious features.
“PDP has been in government since 1999. Have they successfully removed one item from the 68 items in the exclusive list?” he asked.
Asked if APC states have adhered to the tenets of federalism, Mr Adegbuyi said that there are only two tiers of government in an ideal federal state.
“In other jurisdictions, you have a clearly defined sphere of governance between the Federal and the states in the constitution. Correspondingly, between the states and the Local Government, there must also be a constitution, which is lacking in Nigeria and that’s where the problem lies.”
A legal practitioner, Liborous Oshomah, on Wednesday said that the reason some members of the nPDP are yet to decamp to the APC is because they are afraid they would end up losing out in the struggle for power.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Oshomah averred that the cross carpeting of some PDP governors to the APC would have no political consequences as the Federal Government controls everything including INEC.
He added that elections in Nigeria had not been proper conducted and that majority of the governors were elected through the influence of a god-father.
Oshomah also said that “politics in Nigeria is starved of ideology, as politicians are fond of hopping from one party to another, hence the alliance is not about ideology but about personal interests.”
He stated that the crisis in the ruling party was nothing new as the PDP had always been the PDP’s opposition.
Speaking about the reason some aggrieved members of the PDP are yet to decamp, Oshomah explained that they were aware they would cease to be relevant once they no longer wield power.
The suspended National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has denied moving to the APC.
In a statement released by his Principal Secretary, Femi Adelegan, on Wednesday, Oyinlola said “it was imperative that he makes sure his political position is clear, although he was present at the meeting where some other members of the nPDP officially joined the APC.”
The statement disclosed that “Oyinlola remains the National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party and will continue to lay claim his legal and valid status.”
Although he was suspended from the party for his supposed ‘anti-party’ activities, Oyinlola insisted that his “suspension does not invalidate his substantive role as the party’s scribe.”
The former Osun State governor stated that he was committed to the PDP leadership through dedicated and selfless service, as well as rising to challenges and the responsibilities of any office he is privileged to occupy legitimately; as these virtues have become his second nature.
The statement added that Oyinlola, who was elected at the PDP national convention of March 24, 2012, and confirmed by the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC on the exercise, as well as the Court of Appeal, through its judgement on November 6, 2013, will at all times strive to uphold truth, absolute honesty and unimpeachable respect for the Rule of Law and constitutionalism.
Mr Oyinlola however says he is thankful and deeply encouraged by the demonstration of solidarity by well-meaning Nigerians, locally and abroad; who have continued to call to commend him for his indomitable spirit, endurance, courage and the dutiful manner with which he has continued to respond to the political problems of the PDP.
Meanwhile, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has said it is too early to assess the political situation that has arisen with the alliance between some governors of the nPDP and the All Progressive Congress, APC.
Reacting to news of the alliance, he said: “I believes it is a good move if the governors believe they will perform better in the new party and that it is a good development for Nigeria’s democratic growth.”
However, he was not clear as to whether he had also moved to the APC or not.
A legal practitioner, Kenneth Odidika, on Wednesday said that members of the G7 who crossed over to the APC are in for a surprise as they would not have as much freedom as they did while in the PDP.
While speaking on Sunrise Daily, Odidika said that the cross over from the PDP to APC was because their demands for protection from prosecution was not met by the PDP leadership.
As well as a way of positioning themselves for power come 2015 but he warned that “by the time they get there, they will find out that what they thought was, isn’t.” According to him, “these people who moved into APC are going to learn some lessons because they are dealing with a master, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
He added that “in PDP you are allowed a lot of latitude, which doesn’t exist in a Tinubu party, whether ACN or APC.”
Odidika also stressed that cross-carpeting makes no difference in the polity as all parties are the same. The political parties do not have any ideology as their sole target is to fill their pockets with State funds and satisfy their desire to stay in power.
Members of the G7 that joined the APC on Tuesday had been labelled thieves and rogues over the years by the same party but have now become saints by virtue of joining the opposition. “The politics being played in Nigeria has nothing to do with the interest of the average Nigerian,” he said adding that “I’m not surprised they left and I won’t be surprised if they go back.”
Commenting on Governor Aliyu Babangida’s insistence that he is still a member of the PDP, Odidika said that the governor has always been vocal about his willingness to negotiate with the leadership of the PDP.
Odidika added that the actions of the governors who are currently serving their last term are in a bid to protect themselves from the possibility of being held accountable for crimes committed while in office.
“When immunity is removed, EFCC or other agencies could come after them so their problem is how to get protected having committed crimes in the past 8 years,” he said.
Speaking about the legality of retaining their position after cross-carpeting, Odidika explained that “provision of the constitution regarding cross-carpeting does not apply to the Executive arm which includes the President, Vice President, Governors or deputy Governors.
One of the suspended members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Abubakar Kawu Baraje, has resigned as the Chairman, Nigeria Railway Corporation Governing Board.
In a letter to the Nigerian government, Mr Baraje, who is the leader of the splitter group, n’PDP, said that the crisis in the party that led to his suspension had upturned his belief in the present leadership of the party.
He pointed out that the development had also made his continued stay as the chairman of the board uncomfortable.
Mr Baraje was appointed as the chairman of the board in May 2013.
The President, Goodluck Jonathan, and the Baraje-led faction of the People’s Democratic Party on Monday met at the presidential villa and resolved to reschedule their meeting to hold after the Muslim Hajj and Christian pilgrimage.
Addressing state house correspondents after the meeting, the governors of Cross River state Liyel Imoke and his Niger Sate counterpart Babangida Aliyu said they still stand on their resolution of September 15, and are committed to the resolution of their differences.
They apologised on behalf of the governors who are already performing the Hajj and resolved to reconvene at no mentioned date.
Others present at the meeting include the Kwara State governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, Rivers State Goevernor, Rotimi Amaechi, Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankowso, as well as the Kogi State Governor, Idris Wada, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom and Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State.
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.