Former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) have pulled out of the planned meeting with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo over the crisis rocking the ruling party.
Leader of the nPDP faction Kawu Baraje disclosed this in a statement issued on Monday.
Accusing the government of President Muhammadu Buhari of being insincere, Baraje protested the withdrawal of some operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) from Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, the speaker.
Solacebase had reported that half of the DSS operatives attached to Saraki and Dogara were withdrawn “without any reason”.
Saraki and Dogara are members of nPDP, the faction that broke away from the PDP in 2013 to team up with APC for the 2015 elections.
Baraje also cited the allegations levelled against Abdulfatah Ahmed, governor of Kwara state, also a member of the faction, and Saraki.
Some of the suspects who participated at the robbery in five commercial banks in Offa, Kwara, in April, were said to have alleged that they were thugs of Saraki and Ahmed.
But Baraje described this as a blackmail, wondering why the police made the matter public instead of consulting its members privately.
He said while members of the faction were committed to “achieving reconciliation, harmony, truce and cohesion” in the APC, it appeared that the presidency might have been negotiating in bad faith.
“The public may recall that there have been ongoing talks between members of the former Npdp, the APC and the presidency in recent days,” the statement read.
“Nigerians may further recall that a team from the former nPDP led by Speaker of the House of Representatives, His Excellency Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara and four others, were to meet with the Vice President, His Excellency Prof Yemi Osinbajo today.
“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.”
Baraje added that despite the grievances listed by some members of the faction who participated in last month’s congresses of the APC, the leadership of the ruling party went ahead to ratify all the congresses from ward, local governments and states.
He said the negotiations would continue if the government show sincerity.
“The persecution of our members using state security apparatus have continued unabated.
We recognise 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 suggests 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. Given the unfolding events in the last 24 hours, where the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and His Excellency, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, the Executive Governor of Kwara State , both of whom attended the meeting with the Vice President on Monday 28 May, 2018, have suddenly been accused of sponsoring armed robbery by the Police under the directives of the presidency.
“Similarly, on Saturday, June 2nd, 2018, 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.
“The nPDP leadership has decided to brief our members on the unfortunate development and get a fresh mandate if good faith returns to the discussions.”