APC invites Baraje, other nPDP chieftains for talks

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Outcome of meeting to be presented to the presidency

The national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has held out an olive branch to the aggrieved members of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) who defected from mainstream PDP in 2013 to the APC.

The rapprochement followed the threat issued by nPDP to quit APC if its (nPDP’s) grievances are not addressed.

In a letter dated May 7, 2018 and addressed to the national chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and signed by the former national chairman of the  nPDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, and erstwhile national secretary of nPDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola (who recently defected to the African Democratic Congress, ADC), the group alleged that “there has been no significant patronage and appointments to executive positions in various government agencies such as chief executives and executive directors of government agencies and parastatals as members of our block (sic) of the party continue to helplessly watch as these positions are shared by the erstwhile Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and even All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) blocks (sic) of the party and those who have no party at all.”

It was gathered that the APC had been aware that some of the nPDP leaders had made up their minds to defect from the ruling party, but wanted to give those protesting the opportunity to air their grievances.

The outcome of the meeting, it was further learnt will be presented to the presidency and other organs of the party for consideration.

The meeting which holds today at the APC national secretariat in Abuja is expected to make far-reaching decisions on how to woo and bring back the nPDP proselytes into the APC.

Former acting chairman of the nPDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, who spoke on the proposed talks when he addressed newsmen in Ilorin, Kwara State said the APC had invited the aggrieved group.

*Baraje, arrowhead of nPDP

“The last time we met here in 2016, I told you that the way the party was going, we were on the road to perdition. If you look at the letter we wrote, we never said we gave ultimatum but that we advised them. We hinted the party because of the on-going congresses of the party.

“Now, the party has invited us, exactly on the seventh day of the letter and they wanted us to meet that same day, but because we were speaking for several leaders across the country, we told them we couldn’t meet that same day. Now, they have scheduled a meeting for tomorrow (Monday) anytime from 2pm,” said Baraje.

The nPDP arrowhead dismissed the opposition of the group led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu to their petition, saying that the nPDP is such a large group that it cannot but have “some black legs”.

“We have travelled a long way with the APC and now we are seeing things get worse in APC than in PDP. If we are leaders worth the name, we should be bold enough to speak about it,” he said.

He decried the high rate of internal conflicts within the ruling APC, which has culminated in parallel state congresses in more than 10 states.

He said contrary to insinuations in some quarters, the nPDP’s May 7 letter to the APC leadership was to forestall such occurrences.

He pointed out that the PDP never had such internal wrangling as evident in the APC, and warned that if the APC fails to heed the request of the nPDP, then, its forthcoming national convention will be on the rocks.

Baraje also said the group was desirous of the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari, stating that it was part of factors that prompted them to write the letter to the leaders of the party.

“President Buhari has declared to re-contest in 2019 and we are desirous of his coming back which led us to writing the letter we sent. We want the party to right all the wrongs so that we can win big; we don’t want all the aggrieved members to go into the elections with grudges in mind.

“Let me also warn that every politician has an aspiration and will always go to where his or her aspiration would be met and fulfilled,” he said.

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