Aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress, including members of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party, have announced the formation of the Reformed All Progressives Congress.
The National Chairman of the group, Alhaji Buba Galadima, announced the new party executive at a press conference held at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja, on Wednesday.
The group has Dr. Fatai Atanda from Oyo State as the National Secretary and Kazeem Afegbua from Edo State as the National Publicity Secretary. Galadima is a former ally of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari has demonstrated incompetence, nepotism, says R-APC
Galadima explained that the decision to form the R-APC was informed by the realisation that more than three years after the formation of the APC and its promise to positively change Nigeria, the party had deviated from its core objectives and institutionalised the same vices the previous administration was punished at the polls for.
He also noted that the recently concluded congress of the APC and its outcome were invalid because they violated the letter and spirit of the APC constitution.
He said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC had over the last three years demonstrated incompetence and elevated nepotism to the level of statecraft.
Galadima also said the administration had demonstrated intolerance for any form of dissent.
This, he said, was demonstrated in the various attempts to muscle aggrieved party members of the nPDP bloc for making their grievances public.
According to him, the R-APC remains the authentic party hence there is no need to seek fresh recognition from the Independent National Electoral Commission. He challenged anyone who had a different opinion to seek legal interpretation.
Reading from a prepared text, he said, “…The APC has run a rudderless, inept and incompetent government that has failed to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people. It has rather imposed dictatorship, impunity, abuse of power, complete abdication of constitutional and statutory responsibilities, infidelity to the rule of law and constitutionalism. It has failed to ensure the security and welfare of our people and elevated nepotism to an unacceptable height.
“The APC has failed to deliver on its key promises to the nation. There is no evidence of any political will to reverse the decline of our party, while leaders who have created these circumstances continue to behave as if Nigerians owe our party votes as a matter of right.
“The APC government has been a monumental disaster, even worse than the government it replaced. The political party that was a vehicle for enthroning the government was rendered powerless by manipulations and complete lack of due process in its operations.
He noted that the last straw that broke the APC’s camel back was the congresses and the convention of the party held recently, where there were parallel congresses in 24 states.
The R-APC also condemned the recently concluded national convention of the APC which produced Adams Oshiomhole as the national chairman.
Galadima said, “The so-called National Convention of the APC was even worse. The National Convention of the party was ridiculed with constitutional infirmities that were so glaring and obvious that no fair-minded person can claim that a legitimate and lawful executive emerged from that process.
“The Chairman of the Organising Committee, Jigawa State Governor, His Excellency, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, declared 18 seats unopposed and uncontested, since only one valid candidate stood at the end of the grossly manipulated exercise for each of the offices. He therefore proceeded to declare them duly elected in flagrant abuse and violence to the constitution of the APC.”
Galadima added, “Under the circumstances, patriotic elements and most of the original founders of the APC have found themselves in the opposing side of this charade. Most of the delegates who bought and paid for forms for the congresses and convention and were elected as delegates have come together to take control and give legitimacy to the APC to be now known as and called Reformed-APC (R-APC).”
R-APC names national officers, state chairmen
He said that the R-APC had constituted officers in all the wards, 774 local governments areas, and all the 36 states of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory.
He said the R-APC included all the progressive forces in the APC, including most of the leading members of the defunct nPDP, CPC, ANPP, ACN and others.
He added that R-APC would work with like-minded political parties and groups to offer Nigeria qualitative good governance in 2019.
Galadima said the R-APC had appointed national officers for the faction.
Galadima, who is from Yobe State, said these include Bala Muhd Gwagwarwa (National Deputy Chairman, North); Chief Theo Nkire (National Deputy Chairman, South-East); Eko Olakunle (National Vice-Chairman South-West); Hussaini Dambo (National Vice-Chairman, North-West); Mahmud Abubakar – (National Vice-Chairman, North-Central); Godwin Akaan (Deputy National Secretary); Dr Fatai Atanda (National Secretary) ;and Kazeem Afegbua (National Publicity Secretary).
Others include: Daniel Bwala (Financial Secretary); Abba Malami Taura (Deputy National Auditor); Kayode Omotosho (National Treasurer); Nicholas Asuzu (National Youth Leader); Baride Gwezia (Legal Adviser); Hajiya Aisha Kaita (National Woman Leader); Mrs. Fatima Adamu (National Welfare Secretary); Alhaji Isiak Akinwumi (Deputy Financial Secretary); Alhaji Bashir Mai Mashi (Deputy National Treasurer); Hauwa Mamuda (Deputy Welfare Secretary); Shuaibu Gobir (Deputy National Publicity Secretary); M. T. Liman (National Organising Secretary); and Dr Theo Sheshi (Deputy National Organising Secretary).
Some of those who were named as state chairmen are, Dimas Ezra (Adamawa State); Sir Toby Chukwudi Okwuaya (Anambra); Sani Shehu (Bauchi); Noah Mark Dickson (Benue); Nasiru Dantiye (Jigawa); retired Col. D. Gora (Kaduna); Umar Haruna Doguwa (Kano); Sada Ilu (Katsina); Alhaji Hadi Ametuo (Kogi); Alhaji Idowu Adeleke (Ogun); Adewale Taofeek (Ondo); Alimi Isiaka Adisa (Oyo); Mohammed Dalah (Yobe); Nasiru Yakubu (Zamfara); Samaila Yusuf Kontagora (Niger); and Adaji Usman (FCT).
Remain in APC, Oshiomhole begs Saraki, others
But Oshiomhole on Wednesday led the NWC of the ruling party to a meeting with the Senate Caucus.
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, together with most members of the caucus, received the APC NWC at his office where they discussed issues affecting the party.
It was however observed that a former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and Senator Shehu Sani, both of whom had openly expressed their grievances with the APC, were not at the meeting as of the time it entered into a closed session when journalists were sent out of the venue.
Oshiomhole, in his opening remarks, urged the lawmakers to remain in the APC, assuring them that issues bedevilling the party would be resolved.
“So, I ask you, Mr. President of the Senate and distinguished senators, to trust that working together along with our leaders who are not here, we are committed to finding solutions that everyone will be able to smile, remain in the house, work in the house,” Oshiomhole said.
Earlier at the introductory session, Senator Kabiru Marafa, who is leading a faction of the APC in Zamfara State, made reference to the non-recognition of his faction at the recently held national convention of the APC.
Oshiomhole stressed that those who were worried about party structure could record electoral victory if they had the support of the electorate and when the election was free and fair.
“Because of the dynamic nature of politics, it means that we have to put on our thinking cap and deal with issues as they arise, preferable deal with them proactively if they had already developed, and find the courage to deal with them to the best of our ability so that the issues can be resolved,” he said.
Oshiomhole also noted that the party would address the issues across the states based on their peculiarity.
“The purpose of today’s meeting is to have a heart-to-heart conversation, this time focusing more on solutions because we must have the capacity to find acceptable, sustainable solutions so that our party can continue to grow from strength to strength. This, I am committed to,” he said.
Saraki, in his remarks, expressed his confidence in the new Oshiomhole-led NWC to resolve the crises in the APC.
“You have captured it, with your emphasis on finding solutions. Your emphasis on finding solutions is commendable. The essence of leadership is finding solutions, your attitude, your approach are very promising,” he said.
APC may give nPDP senators automatic ticket
Speaking with one of our correspondents after the closed-door session, a senator at the meeting said the NWC would be offering automatic tickets to the lawmakers. This, he said, was a move to stop aggrieved members who were considering defection in the APC.
The source said, “We talked about automatic ticket to senators. They said our issues will be addressed, particularly that of Marafa who openly expressed his grievance at the meeting. They said they are going to give automatic tickets to most people who are aggrieved. It is to keep everybody (in the APC).
“The essence of the visit was to pacify people not to go out of the party. As a panacea, they are not thinking of giving automatic tickets to people. But where the problem will come is how to satisfy the interest of senators who are seeking governorship tickets of the party. I don’t know how they are going to approach that one.”
PDP senator joins APC
Meanwhile, Senator Sunday Ogbuoji (Ebonyi-South) subtly announced his defection from the PDP to the APC while introducing himself at the meeting. He described himself as “the latest catch” by the ruling party.
The lawmaker, who is the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, was however not cheered when he made the remark.
In Kwara State, the three senatorial chairmen of the APC pleaded with Saraki, to take them to another party.
The three APC senatorial chairmen are Alhaji Jimoh Balogun (Kwara South); Alhaji Jimoh Adesina (Kwara Central) and Alhaji Isiaka Oniwa (Kwara North).
PDP to grant Kwankwaso, others waivers
Meanwhile, the PDP is planning to grant waivers to defectors ahead of the 2019 general elections, The PUNCH has learnt.
Investigations by The PUNCH showed that members of the NWC of the PDP had agreed to grant waivers to politicians to enable them to vie for the positions in the party .
Among those being expected in the party, according to our impeccable sources, are Kwankwaso, the Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal; and some prominent members of the National Assembly.
The National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, told one of our correspondents in an interview in Abuja, that his party would grant the expected defectors automatic waivers to vie for any ticket in the party.
He said, “We will give them waivers to aspire for any office of their choice. We will give them automatic waivers. You can join (the PDP) today and you are free to contest for the number one position.”
Our chair incorruptible, Kwankwaso still with us – Baraje
Meanwhile, the former National Chairman of the nPDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, has said the choice of Galadima as the National Chairman of the R-APC is informed by his incorruptibility.
Baraje spoke during the unveiling of the R-APC, in Abuja, on Wednesday.
He noted that Galadima’s outstanding leadership qualities and his commitment to the Nigerian project remained unblemished all through his public life.
He said, “Sometimes last week, I made a press release on the nPDP when a lot of you were making enquiries about where we were going? What was going to be our next step, are we still talking to the government or the APC? I dropped a hint that before the end of the first week of July, where we are will be made known to Nigerians and today you have now seen where we are.
“Secondly, I was going through the papers today (Wednesday) and one of the national dallies caught my attention, it said Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso had said bye to the APC. We just finished speaking with him and he is in support of Mr. Chairman. He was astonished that such a story could fly. That is part of the antics the chairman is referring to.
“Engr. Rabiu Kwankwoso is very much with this group. We were together when the national officers’ names were being put together and we held final meetings on the address of today (Wednesday). So there is no cause for alarm.
“We believe that the dummy that has been sold to the public, particularly the innocent masses is the idea of fighting corruption, if you are looking for any incorruptible person, within the camp of the present President, he is number one.
“We knew the content of the manifesto that the APC was supposed to run and we stood for three years and came out when we waited for three years hoping for things to change and it never changed and we came out to say no.
“Before you know it, they even went deeper with the mischief today (Wednesday) with the news items in the said national paper. This is the beginning of all mischief, this is the beginning of the real, Reformed APC. This is the struggle for the emancipation of our country to stop the bloodletting, rejuvenate the economy of this country, to ensure there are three square meals on the table of the average Nigerian.
“This is what we stand for, strengthening the system and not the individual.”