Sometime ago, Umar Labdo Muhammad, a Professor of Islamic Political Thoughts at Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, came under fire for his view that Benue State belongs to the Fulani by conquest. In this interview, he insisted on his earlier position on the contentious issue even as he made another startling disclosure that the Hausa/Fulani…
• President’ll win without you – El-Rufai
Romanus Ugwu; Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Aggrieved members of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) within the All Progressives Congress (APC) have vowed to shock the ruling party and President Muhammadu Buhari, if their grievances are treated with levity.
Spokesman of the Alhaji Kawu Baraje faction of the nPDP, Mr. Timi Frank, during a parley with newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, also dismissed the Senator Abdullahi Adamu faction which members he said were “mere noise-makers.”
The group recently petitioned the national chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun and copied President Buhari among other chieftains of the party complaining about marginalisation. In the petition dated April 27 and signed by Baraje and Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the group gave the party seven-day to meet with its members to resolve the differences.
As the ultimatum expired yesterday, Frank who reinterated that the threat contained in the letter was not an empty one, said the faction would soon meet to take a decision.
“Everybody knows that it was our participation in the APC that practically brought the victory we are all enjoying today. So, when people like Senator Adamu who used to be one of us came up with some of his positions, he must have forgotten history and I want to make it known to him that whatever they’ve said to counter our position are total lies. Nigerians are there to testify. They said the nPDP group has benefitted massively from this government. That is one of their claims, which is not true. But, I want to make it very clear that we are not here to respond to individuals, we are here to make it known that our letter is to the party. So, it is left for the party to either take it seriously or not. But I believe any serious party will take whatever position or decision we have brought them to look into.
“Today makes it seven days from the day our group brought this letter to the party. But as it stands, we’ve not got any response yet from them. As we have said, whatever we must have said in that letter, it is not an empty threat. If they decide to ignore us, so be it.
“But at the appropriate time, we are going to respond and make our position known to Nigerians based on what we have said. It is not just a mere threat, it is not just a mere ultimatum. But I will tell you clearly that we are meeting with our leaders and we are going to come up with a clear positions on our next step if finally they don’t attend to us,” he said.
“I want to use this opportunity to remind my party that this is the same way we were trying to correct the wrongs of the Goodluck Jonathan government while in the PDP, but they never listened to us. We told them why we were aggrieved. Our leaders moved round the states to talk to party members, to ask the government at that time to listen to our views, but at the end of the day, they refused, they ignored us, that is how we left.
“When we left, we joined the APC and that was how today, we are enjoying this so-called change agenda we are talking about. So, if today, 95 per cent of us, who came from the nPDP are aggrieved and they felt they are going to undermine us or they are going to ignore our group, so be it.“But at the end of the day, we believe we are going to take a decision that will benefit the Nigerian people because we believe that democracy should be all inclusive. Democracy should not be a situation where when you speak the truth, you will be harassed and intimidated.
“Today, everyone that is harassed within the APC came from the nPDP. We have not seen anybody from the ACN or the CPC or the ANPP or the section of APGA that joined us being intimidated or harassed. It is clear. So, we are not going to be intimidated.
“We believe we are going to be doing the right thing. We believe we are going to do everything possible to rescue Nigeria the same way we rescued Nigeria from the PDP. So, if today, we decided to lay our complaints to the party and they feel it is not important for them to attend to our issues, we will leave them to God. God will some day judge.”
He insisted that there was no faction within the group.
“I want to make it known to all of you that Kawu Baraje is not alone in that letter. He has the mandate of over 95 per cent of some of us that joined the nPDP into the APC that made victories possible in 2015,” he said.
However, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai dismissed the nPDP with a wave of the hand.
El-Rufai, who was in the Villa to brief the president on the outcome of the local government election told State House Correspondent that the group cannot diminish the political value of the president.
“Who are these new PDP people that are threatening? This is (they’re are from) Kwara, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, Rivers but I don’t think (Rotimi) Amaechi is part of them. So let’s take these four states, go back to 2003 and check. Buhari then under ANPP won in all these four states. Go back to 2007, Buhari won in these four states. Even when Shekarau (ex-Kano governor) was running as a presidential candidate in 2011, Buhari defeated him in Kano. And, I have no doubt in my mind that even if the people threatening decide to leave, it will have absolutely no impact on the presidential elections, the president will win Sokoto, Kwara and Adamawa easily. If they are honest with themselves they know that President Buhari will win those states with or without them. Kano is already in the bag.”
If you saw the crowd that welcomed the president without the former governor Kwakwanso, Kano has always been the president’s base.
“To me, that is not the issue, the issue is that they have written, they have expressed grievances, some of the grievances are legitimate and should be looked into. But to threaten to leave the party is neither here nor there. If they are honest with themselves they know that President Buhari will win those states with or without them. But if you have a grievance, we are a party and politics is a game of addition not subtraction, so we don’t want to loose anyone.
“So, I think those the letters were addressed to ought to study it and look into what is reasonably possible to accommodate them because politics as I said is a game of addition.”