New PDP grievances ‘genuine’, says APC
NEWS DIGEST – The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and a faction within it are upbeat at the end of their first round of talks to resolve a simmering dispute. Daily Trust Reports
The nPDP, a major bloc in the formation of the APC, had accused the ruling party of short-changing it in the sharing of posts in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
It therefore gave the party a seven day ultimatum to arrange a meeting with the president to address its grievances.
Yesterday, both sides met for the first time since the ultimatum at the party secretariat in Abuja.
At the end of yesterday’s talks, APC Deputy National Chairman, North, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, said: “We have listened to them and we are taking up their matter seriously.
“It is a good beginning,” chairman of the nPDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje also said.
Senator Shuaibu, who represented the party chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, said the grievances of members of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) are genuine.
Speaking to reporters, Shuiabu said: “We have not yet resolved. They wrote a letter to us. They are party men. They have grievances. We looked at the letter, their grievances are genuine. And they requested a meeting within seven days and before the seven days expired, I called them and they were not ready to come. They said we should shift the meeting till today, which we did.
“So, we are listening to them. We have listened to them and we are taking up their matter seriously. We will address it. We don’t ignore our people except if you don’t send your grievances to the party. But if you send, we will always address your grievances.”
In his remarks, Baraje said the party had responded to their request by inviting them to the roundtable.
He said the group requested the party leadership to shift the meeting to yesterday because of logistic reasons.
He described the reaction of the party and the discussion held so far as “beautiful” and a “very encouraging time.”
Asked to highlight, in specific terms, the requests that had been addressed by the meeting, Baraje said, “We have addressed all the requests. We have not concluded. The discussions continue.”
On whether he was satisfied with the outcome of yesterday’s parley, the nPDP leader said, “So far, so good, we have just started… But it is a good start, it is a good beginning.”
Baraje, who was asked to give a definite date when the on-going talks would be concluded, said “No no…! When talks begin, you can’t say it will end on a particular day. It goes on and on. It may please the party to say, Okay, let’s shift the meeting to another venue to discuss with other stakeholders.”
On whether the group was now on the same page with Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led faction of the nPDP that wrote a counter-petition, Baraje said his group was “95.9 per cent intact”.
He reiterated his position that the petition submitted to the APC leadership was not a threat for defection, saying that “We never threatened. I said it yesterday (Sunday) to your colleague.”
Baraje on May 9, led a delegation to the APC national secretariat to protest against alleged marginalization.
The delegation that included Sen. Ibrahim Abdullahi Dambaba (APC, Sokoto South) gave a seven-day ultimatum to Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-National Working Committee (NWC) to schedule a meeting with them to look at their grievances.
A petition addressed to Odigie-Oyegun on April 27, and signed by Baraje and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and copied to President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, listed their grievances.
In the petition, the nPDP voiced concern that the efforts and sacrifice of its members were never acknowledged ‘publicly’ by President Buhari.
The petition, titled ‘Request for Redressing of Grievances of the Former New PDP Block within the APC’, stated that the nPDP was side-lined in the constitution of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
It claimed that the only member of FEC that belonged to former nPDP block came from a State that contributed virtually no vote to the APC in the 2015 presidential elections.
The petition further read, “There has been no significant patronage and appointments to positions in various government agencies such as Chief Executives and Executive Directors of government agencies and parastatals as members of our block of the party continue to helplessly watch as these positions are shared by the erstwhile CPC, ACN, ANPP, and even APGA blocks of the party and those who have no party at all.
“In appointments into Boards of various government agencies, very few former New PDP members were patronised. These are, however, not commensurate with our contributions to the growth and victory of the party.
“When members of the former New PDP block showed interest in running for the offices of President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, they were subjected to a vicious and relentless political opposition as if they were not legitimate members of the APC family.
“During the party primaries preparatory to the 2015 General Elections, most of the promises made to sitting members of the National Assembly, who belonged to the former new PDP in terms of a level playing field were reneged upon or observed more in breach.
“There has been general lack of consultation, non-recognition and even persecution of former New PDP members and leaders by the party and government. For example, some of our leaders are denied the security cover necessary to visit their constituencies even though they are elected representatives of the people in a government they sacrificed so much for.
“Harassment, intimidation and persecution of former New PDP leaders by the government, is still an on-going affair. We do not want to overstate the obvious by cataloguing names of former new PDP stalwarts that are targets of this political pogrom.
“There is inadequate reflection of programme and policy contributions of members at the former New PDP block in the running of the government.”
They said the letter was meant to alert President Buhari to the grievances existing within the party with a view to ensuring justice for all members of the APC family regardless of the blocks they came from before the formation of the APC.
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