The lingering crisis threatening to tear the All Progressives Congress (APC) apart took a turn for the worse yesterday as the New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) pulled out of talks with the Presidency.
The bloc vowed not to return to the negotiation table until there is evidence of good faith and mutual respect in the parley.
The nPDP bloc in the APC accused the Presidency of using the police to persecute its members and condemned in strong terms the alleged attempt by the Police to “frame up” the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State.
Also, the aggrieved APC members accused the Presidency of blackmailing its members and that there is threat to the lives of nPDP members.
The nPDP is made up of Senate President Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; governors including Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Abdufatah Ahmed of Kwara State; former governors, over 50 federal legislators and other key politicians.
Leader of the nPDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, lamented that while his team remained committed to achieving reconciliation, harmony, truce and cohesion in the APC ahead of the 2019 general elections, it appeared that the Presidency was not interested in the talks and may have been negotiating in bad faith.
In a statement issued on behalf of the group and personally signed by him, Baraje accused the Presidency of using the security apparatus to intimidate members of the nPDP.
Baraje recalled that whereas a team from the nPDP led by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara and four others, was billed to meet with the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, certain developments over the weekend had forced the team to suspend the dialogue process.
His words: “Given the unfolding events in the last 24 hours, where the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and His Excellency, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, the Governor of Kwara State, both of whom attended the meeting with the Vice President on Monday, May 28, 2018, have suddenly been accused of sponsoring armed robbery by the Police under the directives of the Presidency.
“Similarly, on Saturday, June 2nd, the Department of State of Services (DSS) also suddenly withdrew more than half of all the security details attached to the presiding officers of the National Assembly under questionable circumstances.
“We were alarmed that immediately after our meeting with the Vice President last week, the presidency misrepresented what transpired at the meeting by trying to blackmail some of the principal actors involved in the discussions in a national daily.
“Similarly, the leadership of the party (APC) went ahead to ratify all the Congresses from ward, local governments, states and zonal where many of our members have complaints, effectively presenting us with a fait accompli.
“The persecution of our members using state security apparatus has continued unabated. We recognize the powers of the Police to conduct criminal investigations, but by rushing to the public with the issue even when they have unfettered access to the leadership of the National Assembly suggest an attempt to undermine, caricature and humiliate the institution of the legislature.
“It appears that there is a fouled and toxic atmosphere and environment of intimidation and threat to life in which we now find ourselves which may no longer be conducive for members of the former nPDP to continue with the talks.”
He disclosed that the nPDP leadership has, therefore, decided to withdraw from the talks to brief its members on the unfortunate development and get a fresh mandate if good faith returns to the discussions.
It could be recalled that leaders of the nPDP have been engaged in talks with the APC and the Presidency in the last couple of weeks.
The parley followed the submission by the nPDP of a petition containing a list of grievances which the group wanted resolved by the ruling party.