The deputy national publicity secretary of the All Progressives congress (APC) and member of the new Peoples Democratic Party bloc, Timi Frank, has said that the group cannot be intimidated and would not be taken for granted.
The so-called new PDP, or nPDP, comprises former members of the main opposition PDP who defected and teamed up with the APC ahead of the 2015 elections, and helped the party win the polls.
Now, the group claims it has been sidelined by the APC. Last week, it issued an ultimatum for the ruling party to act. The ultimatum expired Tuesday.
Mr Frank, speaking to journalists on Tuesday in Abuja, said the APC was yet to initiate talks with the aggrieved nPDP as the bloc’s ultimatum expired.
Following the ultimatum given in a letter to the chairman of APC party, John Oyegun, lamenting the lack of appreciation of their efforts, another faction of nPDP led by former governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu, distanced itself from claims of marginalisation.
Mr Frank condemned Mr Adamu’s move and those who distanced themselves from the claims and demands of the group, while urging Nigerians not to take Mr Adamu and his group serious as they were never genuine members of the nPDP bloc.
“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.
“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 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 which the Adamu-led group denied, he said members of nPDP never got any key appointment except that of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Women Affairs Minister, Jumai Alhassan.
“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,” he said.
When asked if they would allow new party leadership at the next convention before any action, he said it would be late.
“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,” Mr Frank said.
Mr Frank said the next line of action by the group is that the leaders would take further measures which would be made public if APC fails to respond to their demands.
Recalling what led to their departure from PDP, Mr Frank said the same situation is about to repeat itself and the PDP did not heed the group’s caution until it was too late.
However, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, has said President Muhammadu Buhari will win the 2019 election without the nPDP although he spoke of the need to address their grievances.
“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.
“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,” he said.
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