The Peoples Democratic Party has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari is planning to be the sole presidential candidate in the country during the 2019 elections.
It argued that this was the reason agents of the All Progressives Congress were bent on causing dissatisfaction among PDP members ahead of 2019.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, who spoke with journalists in Abuja on Thursday, said those who opened an “illegal office” of the party at the Asokoro District of Abuja were being deceived.
The former ruling party, however, said such plot would fail, adding that its members would not be deceived by the ruling party.
The PDP declared that the plot by some of its members to form a parallel executive was being engineered by the APC.
A group, made up of about five members of the party, had, on Wednesday, ‘opened’ a new secretariat for the main party.
The five members are Obi Nwosu, Alhaji Hassan Adamu, Chief Olusola Akindele, Chief Godwin Duru and Franklyne Edede.
Ologbondiyan, however, alleged that the APC was coming to reality about its alleged unpopularity among Nigerians, adding that the majority of its members would defect to the PDP soon.
He said, “We will not allow the APC to distract us. APC has become very worried since we held our convention. As we speak, the constitution of the APC requires them to hold a convention every two years but they have not done so."
“They are so unsettled that the PDP is progressing and progressing progressively. That is why they are using some people to cause confusion in our party but we have gone beyond that."
“What is more important now is that we are embarking on a membership drive to win more members back to the PDP."
“President Buhari wants to be the sole candidate in 2019; that’s why they (APC) want to cause a crisis in our party."
“We are going to stand as a party and we are going to fiercely contest elections in 2019. Our doors are open to Nigerians and anyone who is interested in contesting an election in 2019 can come in."
“I can assure you that majority of people still hanging around in the APC are coming back home, the PDP. APC is going to the next election as an empty party.”
He said the APC, having failed to scuttle the national convention of the former ruling party, had realized that the convention “marks a new beginning in our sure and steady step to rescue our dear nation and her people from the misrule of the APC.”
He said, “Recall that after our convention, the APC attempted to inject disagreements and rancor among our members, particularly in the South-West, but also failed."
“However, following certain concerns on the outcome of our convention, our conflict resolution mechanism began to address the issues that will engender continuous harmony in our fold."
“Consequently, the National Reconciliation Committee led by Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, met with critical stakeholders and leaders of our party in Abuja, Ibadan and Lagos, where very fruitful discussions were held on issues particularly relating to election into the office of the National Chairman were better resolved or collectively agreed upon.”
He said it was, however, strange, unacceptable and outside every known law and regulation that a group of individuals would come together and claim to have formed a splinter group of the PDP and even made attempt to use its color, name, and logo without authority.
He urged members of the party, who might feel strongly about the outcome of the convention, to explore the opportunities provided by the Dickson’s reconciliation committee in line with the constitution of our great party.
“Thereafter, any person, who for any selfish reason, resort to the ignoble part of attempting to create disaffection and disunity in our party, will be made to face the consequences of his or her actions as provided for in the constitution of our great party and extant laws of the land,” he warned.
They’ve not learned any lesson from their past –APC
But the APC said the PDP had yet to learn any lesson from its sordid past.
This, the APC said, was evident in the ongoing squabbles which had given rise to a splinter group within the party.
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said this in response to questions from one of our correspondents in Abuja, on Thursday.
He was reacting to allegations by the PDP of the House of Representatives caucus of the party that the APC was behind the new PDP faction.
Abdullahi stated, “We are not interested in these individuals; we are not interested in the internal affairs of the PDP."
“Instead of looking for someone to blame, they should search their conscience and realize that nothing built on falsehood can stand."
“It is their falsehood catching up with them less than two weeks after their convention.”
He believed the PDP had no one to blame other than itself because it paid no attention to the grievances within its ranks when it went about town celebrating what it claimed was a successful convention.
“Their falsehood has caught up with them within two weeks, nothing built on falsehood can survive what they are simply demonstrating to Nigerians is that they have not learned any lesson from their past. They should try to sort out themselves.” Abdullahi said.
We’re ready for talks with ‘Fresh PDP’ –BoT chairman
But in a fresh twist, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Senator Walid Jibrin, said on Thursday that the party was ready for talks with the new splinter group in the party, ‘Fresh PDP.’
Addressing journalists in Kaduna, Jibrin, who refused to refer to the ‘Fresh PDP’ as a faction of the party, said he would rather refer to the group as aggrieved members of the party following the outcome of the December 9, 2017, elective convention of the party.
Jibrin, who claimed to have had a fruitful discussion with the leadership of the new group, said from what he gathered from them, they were already remorseful for their action and ready for talks.
He explained that members of the aggrieved group said they were angry with the so-called ‘Unity Lists’ used during the convention.
He said the election of Secondus as the party chairman of the party was divine, asking the aggrieved members of the party to sheathe their swords and embrace the new National Working Committee of the party.
The BoT chairman warned the PDP members against taking the party to court without exploring the internal mechanism put in place to address members’ grievances.
He called on members of the ‘Fresh PDP’ to embrace dialogue, noting that the leadership of the party was ready to listen and address their grievances.
Jibrin urged members to guard against being used by the ruling APC as according to him, the defunct Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee had worked so hard to reposition the party ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He said, “The BoT is also calling on all those that contested election with Chief Secondus as chairman to accept the will of God, the verdict of the delegates and supremacy of the party."
“The BoT will no longer tolerate a deliberate violation of the constitution and any attempt by anybody, no matter how highly placed, to ridicule and undermine the party through any planned or sponsored litigation. The party has witnessed enough of these court cases.”
APC, opposition Reps clash over PDP faction
Meanwhile, the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives said on Thursday that some politicians going by the name of ‘Fresh PDP’ were not known to the party.
The caucus distanced itself from the group, alleging that the politicians were working for the ruling APC.
The position of the caucus was given in Abuja by the Deputy Minority Leader, Mr. Chukwuka Onyema.
He said the politicians were deceiving Nigerians by claiming to be a splinter group of the PDP.
The House caucus called on security agencies to arrest them, arguing that they were impostors.
A statement by the caucus in Abuja read partly, “This band of impostors has the audacity to arrogate the name of our party, the PDP, to its misadventure, using a rented space somewhere in Asokoro, Abuja."
“Feigning complete ignorance that the Wadata Plaza national headquarters of the PDP, that is recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission is located at Wuse Zone 5 in Abuja, they pasted two copies of our flag on the wall and went to town like a band of jesters."
“The PDP House caucus hereby declares that the five leprous fingers said to constitute the mischievous adventure, do not constitute any faction, splinter group or whatever fanciful description they claim within PDP, as they are only serving the errands of the ruling party and elements planning to use them for even more mischief early next year."
“The activities of the said men, claiming to be starting a fresh PDP, deserve urgent investigation and immediate halt by the police and the Department of State Services as we would not want enraged supporters of the PDP to take the law into their own hands in the process of dealing with such miscreants."
“There is the need to investigate how far these five leprous fingers are connected to the APC and its past record of widespread deceit and unscrupulous propaganda."
“Our convention has come and gone in the face of a ruling party that seems so petrified at the thought of facing a re-awakened PDP, even as it remains unable to hold a national convention like we did.”
But the caucus of the APC in the House described the PDP caucus’ position as “wild allegations.”
The Majority Leader of the House and Leader of the caucus, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, said he expected the party and its caucus in the House to be more concerned with the defection of PDP lawmakers to the APC.
He stated, “It is best to leave the PDP to continue to make wild allegations and chase shadows whilst its members abandon it in droves as evidenced in the last two days on the floor of the House.”