As the ultimatum given by members of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) bloc in the All Progressives Congress (APC) expired yesterday, the group has started meeting to decide a way forward.
Newsmen gathered that the group has scheduled a meeting this week to consider other options before them as APC begins count down to its national convention on June 2.
A reliable source within the group said baring any last minute intervention by the APC leadership, the Kawu Baraje-led nPDP will most likely pull out from the ruling party before the next national convention.
A prominent member of the group, Timi Frank, who spoke to journalists yesterday in Abuja said they cannot be intimidated or taken for granted.
He said as at yesterday when the ultimatum given by the group expired, the leadership of the APC was yet to initiate talks with the aggrieved nPDP.
Frank, who is the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of APC, said: “Today makes it seven days from the day our group brought this letter to the party. But as it stands, we have not gotten any response yet from them. As we have said, whatever we must have said in that letter, it is not an empty threat. If they fail to ignore us, so be it. But at the appropriate time, we are going to respond to Nigerians based on what we’ve said.
“It is not just a mere threat, it is not just a mere ultimatum but I will tell you clearly that we are meeting our leaders, we are going to come up with a clear positions to brief Nigerians on our next step if finally they don’t attend to us.”
Frank condemned the move by the Senator Abdulahi Adamu and others who tried to discredit the demands of the group.
He urged Nigerians not to take Senator Adamu and his group seriously as they were never genuine members of the nPDP bloc.
The APC deputy spokesman also described as false the allegation made by Adamu that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, was the one sponsoring Baraje.
“I want to make it very clear that we have no faction in our group. I saw in some of the papers I read today that there is crack in the new PDP.
“There is no crack as far as we are concerned. We only have one group. We have only one leader and he remains Alhaji Kawu Baraje, and I can tell you that clearly without fear or favour, and I want to make it known to all of you that Baraje is not alone in that letter.
“He has the mandate of over 95 percent of some of us who joined the new PDP into the APC that make new victories successful in 2015,” he said.
On the claim of marginalisation, Frank said contrary to the insinuation by the Adamu-led group, members of nPDP never got any key appointment except that of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Women Affairs Minister, Hajia Alhassan.
He said other positions held by the members were mostly elective and were obtained through a hard-fought battle.
According to him, “People were elected in their various states, they were elected by their people to represent them in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. They never got there based on the fact that the new PDP should be able to benefit because they contributed in bringing the change and the government of today, therefore, let’s reward them with these positions. So, this is not true.
“It is very clear within our group today. The only two beneficiaries we can remember in our group are Ameachi, the Minister of Transportation, and Hajiya Alhassan, the Minister for Women Affairs. So, I want to make it very clear again that we are not going to be intimidated by any group or anybody.
When asked if it would be wise to allow for the emergence of a new party leadership at the next convention before tabling their demands, Frank said it would late.
He said: “There is a legitimate leadership of APC right now and it has powers and opportunity to address the grievances and resolve issues with our group.”
Speaking on the next line of action by the group, Frank said the leaders would take further measures which would be made public if APC fails to respond to their demands.
While recounting what led to the departure of the group from PDP in 2014 to join forces with the APC, Frank said the same situation is about to repeat itself because PDP did not heed the group caution until it was too late.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, has said President Muhammadu Buhari will win the 2019 election without the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP).
He said this during an interview with State House correspondents yesterday.
El-Rufai said since 2003, Buhari had been winning elections in Kwara, Adamawa, Kano and Sokoto States where most of the nPDP members come from.
“What are we talking about? Who are these new PDP people that are threatening? This is Kwara, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, Rivers but I don’t think Amaechi is part of them. So let’s take these four states, go back to 2003 and check,” he said.
“Buhari then under ANPP won in all these four states. Go back to 2007, Buhari won in these four states. Even when Shekarau was running as a presidential candidate in 2011, Buhari defeated him in Kano. And, I have no doubt in my mind that even if the people threatening to leave, it will have absolutely no impact on the presidential election, the president will win Sokoto, Kwara and Adamawa easily.
“Kano is already in the bag, I mean if you saw the crowd that welcomed the president without the former governor Kwankwaso, Kano has always been the president’s base. To me that is not the issue, the issue is that they have written, they have expressed grievances, some of the grievances are legitimate and should be looked into.
“But to threaten to leave the party is neither here nor there. If they are honest with themselves they know that President Buhari will win those states with or without them. But if you have a grievance, we are a party and politics is a game of addition not subtraction, so we don’t want to loose anyone.
“So, I think those the letters were addressed to ought to study it and look into what is reasonably possible to accommodate them because politics as I said is a game of addition.”