The defectors meet, Friday, to take final decision on shaky merger
The members of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, who defected to the Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, may dump the latter over alleged irreconcilable differences with its national leadership.
The spokesman of the group, Dennis Aghanya, who disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, said a meeting of the group had been schedule for Friday to discuss the issues at stake and consider the next line of action.
The defunct CPC members led by its founding chairman, Rufai Hanga, had on October 28 last year announced the official merger of its structure nationwide into the then newly-registered PDM.
The merger, according to the splinter group, which instituted a suit against the then Tony Momoh-led CPC, was based on mutual trust and therefore unconditional.
However, Mr. Aghanya, who was the founding national publicity secretary of the CPC, said since the merger, the National Chairman of the PDM, Bashir Yusuf, had ensured that the CPC defectors were completely and carefully schemed out of every activities of the party.
He alleged the former CPC members were not considered fit to serve in any committee of the PDM and were never informed on meetings while all programs of the party were handled with utmost secrecy and shielded from them.
“Our first shocker came during the courtesy visit by members of our party from the South East zone to the national secretariat,” Mr. Aghanya said.
“In course of discussions, Mallam Bashir Yusuf told us to our face that members were not comfortable to integrate us into main stream affairs of the party because of our former link with Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
“Though we may have parted ways politically, Gen. Buhari has not committed any crime that should have warranted such comment from the likes of Mallam Bashir.”
He stated that while the group was still trying to overcome the shock, Mr. Yusuf made all the National Executive Committee, NEC, members to sign their resignation letter leaving the column for date empty before their names were submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, during the party’s registration.
Stating that the action was ill-intended, Mr. Aghanya stressed, “We were also informed that upon registration, the national chairman was meant to hand over the registration certificate of the party to those who sent him on that errand, an agreement he later reneged on. This is one of the reasons the continuous existence of the party has remained uncertain.”
The spokesperson of the defunct CPC alleged that further involvement of the defectors in the activities of the PDM revealed that “a mafia-like group” was planted from within to thwart every meaningful effort that would not only disallow its growth to the expectations of all who applauded its registration, but also had “a hidden agenda against the fingers that fed it up till date for undisclosed reasons.”
Mr. Aghanya added, “Rather than accept inputs on how to move the party forward, the national chairman has unnecessarily become apprehensive and beclouded with unfounded suspicion believing that Senator Hanga will contest against him for the position of the national chairman during the national convention.
“As a measure to put us on check, Mallam Bashir tested the depth of the river with one leg by issuing me (Aghanya) a query and threatened to sack every former CPC members from the South East Zone after the very first South East meeting which was held and a communiqué issued on how to move the party, which was in comatose in the zone, forward issued.”
He also alleged that the PDM national chairman “further tested the depth of the river with his two legs by announcing the suspension of Senator Hanga and nine other members from Kano for no stated reasons while he (Hanga) was away to Saudi Arabia.”
Mr. Aghanya said Mr. Yusuf had bluffed all efforts to discuss the matter for a better understanding and that the national chairman instead insisted that Mr. Hanga and co must face a disciplinary committee even though no reason was adduced for their suspension.
He claimed that apart from Kano and Katsina States, where the sole effort of the former CPC members had moved the PDM forward, the party only exists on pages of newspapers.
He alleged, “Rather than ensure the spread of the party in the entire states of the country, the national chairman chose to spend money on frivolities by relocating the national secretariat of the party from its former location to a choice area in Maitama and furnished it tastefully for his personal comfort. He became inaccessible and arrogated the status of a demy god to himself.
“To make matters worse, the chairman at the just concluded expanded NEC meeting, informed his NEC and all the interim state EXCOS that the forthcoming Congresses and National Convention would be by affirmation just to ensure that he is returned.
“Where are the internal democracy principles? What does the PDM intend to offer Nigerians that would make it different from other political parties? If the party under its current national chairman does not plan to participate in forthcoming elections, why deceive innocent minded members who joined in other to pursue their political ambition?”
Mr. Aghanya said the CPC defectors, who were already returning their PDM cards, had been mounting pressure on Mr. Hanga to lead them out of the party.
He said the group would meet on Friday to review situation and consider the next line of action.
Efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to speak with Mr. Yusuf on Thursday failed as he declined picking calls to his mobile phone.
When contacted, the PDM National Secretary, Oluwole Akinwumi, asked this reporter to come to the party’s national secretariat, saying “It is not a matter to discuss on phone and this is no official hour.”