The deputy spokesperson of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, Timi Frank, has said that the party must resolve its ongoing crisis or risk losing reelection in 2019.
Mr. Frank, who addressed a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja said, the national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, must resign his position for promoting impunity within the party.
He said what is happening in the APC now is what led to the departure of some prominent members of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that eventually saw it lose the 2015 election after 16 years in power.
As the Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Frank was expected to assume the position of the spokesperson of the party after the departure of Lai Mohammed who was appointed Information Minister by President Muhammadu Buhari.
However, the leadership of the APC under Mr. Oyegun blocked him from assuming the position which has pitched him against the national chairman.
“We cannot keep quiet anymore. The crisis in the APC is getting worse every day. We cannot pretend to hide some of these critical issues anymore. The time to reform now, otherwise it might be too late,” he said.
Mr. Frank said the APC was running out of time because politicians have already begun preparations for 2019 elections.
“There are a lot of political alignment going on in the country and my party has only between now and January 2017.
“If we do not; I repeat; if we do not harmonise all the interests, grievances and crisis before January 2017, I fear it might be too late. Many leaders will be thinking of the next step to pursue their political agenda.
“I am speaking out of experience. This was the same thing that chased some of us away from the PDP and that is what is happening today in the APC,” he said.
Mr. Frank said members of the new PDP, including five governors and many senators and members of the House of Representatives, kept pushing for the removal of the then chairman, Bamanga Tukur, from office due to what he called “infighting and impunity”.
He however, said the president at the time, Goodluck Jonathan, “refused to listen to our cries but by the time they decided to remove Bamanga Tukur it was already late”.
Mr. Frank said beyond addressing the media, he has concluded plans to write another letter to President Buhari as well as the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and many other top leaders of the APC.
He also said he would follow up his letters with personal visits to all the leaders of the party and founding fathers.
“This is a rescue mission that I am about to embark on. Let me use this opportunity to let you know that this fight to rescue our party is not personal. It’s because I love this party so much and as a loyal member of this party, I will do everything it takes to ensure that we re-build this party,” he said.
Oyegun can still frustrate Buhari
Mr. Frank also said Mr. Buhari should recall that it was Mr. Oyegun as national chairman of the ANPP that frustrated him out of the party in the past, forcing him to form a new party, the CPC.
“Mr. President should go back and rethink his experience with Oyegun when he was the National Chairman of the ANPP.
“It was because of the incompetence of Oyegun at the time that drove him out of ANPP and force him to form the CPC. Buhari was frustrated out of ANPP.
“The president must act fast to see reason why Oyegun has to go because the same thing that drove him out of ANPP then is now about to drive majority of our members out of APC,” he said.
Mr. Oyegun was not the national chairman of ANPP. He was the party’s deputy national chairman, south.
Mr. Frank also accused Mr. Oyegun of planning to appoint an acting spokesperson for the party. He said the chairman has no such powers. He also said if a new spokesperson is named other than him, he would sue the chairman and the party.
He said he was speaking the mind of many APC faithful and that if things continue this way, “Nigerians will lose confidence in us and there might be no APC in 2019”.
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