The former Chairman of the now defunct New Peoples Democratic Party bloc within the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, on Saturday, unveiled a list of prominent aggrieved members of the APC, who attended a meeting of the nPDP, where the group considered three options that they might take soon.
Baraje, in a statement he signed in Abuja on Saturday, revealed that he met with prominent members of the nPDP after the meeting he held with the leadership of the APC in Abuja last week.
He said, “Nigerians may recall that members of the former New PDP Bloc within the All Progressives Congress addressed a letter dated April 27, 2018 to the Chairman of the APC where we informed the party of our grievances and expectations from both the party and government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Following this development, the party invited us and we honoured its invitation to a meeting. We met with the leadership of the party last week during which we resolved to report the outcome of our meeting to our members and stakeholders before arriving at any decision or proceeding with the next phase of discussions or actions with the APC and government.
“I am glad to inform you, therefore, that we have briefed our members at a meeting convened in Abuja on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, where we reviewed the state of the nation and our party, APC, and constituted committees on various issues, especially on how to rescue Nigeria from economic, social, political and especially security challenges.”
Baraje listed the names of those in the defunct nPDP and others top APC chieftains, especially members of the National Assembly, who attended the Abuja meeting.
He added, “The meeting was well attended by members of the nPDP, including serving and former governors, senators, members of the House of Representatives, and other aggrieved APC stakeholders.
“Those who attended the meeting included President of the Senate, Sen. Bukola Saraki; Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara; Governor of Sokoto State, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal; Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso; Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Admiral Murtala Nyako (retd.); Sen. Mohammad Aliero, Senator Danjuma Goje, Sen. John Enoh, Senator Andy Uba, Sen. Ibrahim Gobir, Sen. Rufai Ibrahim and Sen. Ibrahim Danbaba.
“Others are Sen. Suleman Nazif, Sen. Isa Misau, Sen. Muhammed Shitu, Sen. Shehu Sani, Sen. Dino Melaye, Sen. Suleiman Hunkuyi, Sen. Shaaba Lafiagi, Sen. Bala Ibn Na’Allah, Sen. David Umaru, Sen. Barnabas Gemade; Chairman, former nPDP, Alh. Abubakar K. Baraje; Mr. Aminu Shagari, Mr. Kabiru Marafa, Mr. Isa Ashiru, Mr. Muh’d Soba, Mr. Mark Gbillah, Mr. Sani Rano, Mr. Garba Durbunde, Mr. Aliyu Madaki, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, Mr. Rufai Chachangi, Mr. Razak Atunwa, Mr. Emmanuel Udende, Mr. Hassan Saleh, Mr. Nasiru Sule, Mr. Orker Jev, Mr. Aliyu Pategi, Mr. Isah Halilu, Mr. Rabiu Kaugama, Mr. Abdussamad Dasuki, Mr. Ismaila Gadaka, Mr. Lado Suleja, Mr. Dickson Tarkighir, Mr. Babatunde Kolawole, Dr. Bode Ayorinde, Mr. Danjuma Shida, Mr. Danburam Nuhu, Mr. Sunday Adepoju, Mr. Sani Zorro, Mr. Ahmed Bichi, Mr. Garba Mohammed and a host of others.”
SUNDAY PUNCH also learnt that eight serving members of the House of Representatives from Oyo State had also joined the group, but their names were not given.
A member of the National Assembly, who is one of those listed by Baraje as having attended the meeting, but spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media on the issue, confirmed the meeting to SUNDAY PUNCH.
The source said, “We met like our chairman said in the statement.
“After he briefed us about the discussions he held on our behalf with the leadership of the APC, the floor was thrown open for discussions and suggestions. We all agreed that we were not being fairly treated within the APC.
“Opinions were however divided on how best to proceed. There were those who felt we should pull out and join a party yet to be determined.
“There was the second group which felt it was better to remain within and fight it out through further discussions and negotiations.
“The third group consisted of those who felt we should pull out, adopt a new platform and ensure we have a written agreement so as to avoid a repeat of what we are seeing (experiencing) in the APC.
“At the end, it was agreed that we set up a committee to look at the most viable option. However, the committee has yet to be formed and we are leaving our doors open for further discussions with the APC for now.”
Saraki’s Special Adviser on Media, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said he was not aware of the meeting.
“I don’t know anything about that meeting. We learnt that Baraje issued a statement in which he made the claim. Ask him to speak more on his claims,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has said, without prejudice to what is happening within the All Progressives Congress, it is still forging ahead with plans to woo members of the defunct new PDP bloc in the ruling party.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, told SUNDAY PUNCH in a telephone interview on Saturday that the task of rescuing Nigeria was too critical to be abandoned.
The PDP spokesman noted that the PDP was still in talks with “all Nigerians of goodwill, genuine democrats and those who love the country and want to rescue her from the situation in which we have found ourselves as a country today.”
In response to a specific question as to whether the PDP was still holding talks with its former stalwarts in the APC and how far the talks had progressed, he said, “Talks are proceeding very well. The committee we set up is making progress.
“We are talking to everybody, not just members of the nPDP. We are talking to people in the APC; we are talking to all genuine democrats who have seen through the deceit the ruling party represents.
“This is not about parties; it has gone beyond parties. We are talking about our dear nation which we all know can be better with proper management of our resources. We are talking and very soon, the results will be glaring for all Nigerians to see.”
Ologbondiyan maintained that consultations had reached a very “advanced stage” and that more Nigerians across party lines had come to appreciate the enormity of the task at hand.