Strategists of President Muhammadu Buhari are awaiting the next line of action from leaders of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), following an ultimatum the latter issued to the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for a meeting.
In a four-page letter the defunct nPDP leaders addressed to the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, dated April 27, 2018, they alleged that their members had been relegated to the background in the APC in spite of their contributions to the success of the party.
But despite the seven-day ultimatum, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Odigie-Oyegun and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) are yet to meet on the protest letter.
There were indications that the party leadership was tactically awaiting the return of President Muhammadu Buhari, the leader of the party, before taking a decision.
But some Buhari’s strategists who spoke with our correspondent last night said they were not “losing sleep” over the ultimatum, adding that it was anticipated and they had guarded against it.
They are only awaiting the next step of the nPDP leaders after the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum for counter-response.
Investigation conducted by our correspondent revealed that the party is overwhelmed with activities, including the governorship primary in Ekiti State, the conduct of local government congresses, state congresses and the forthcoming national convention.
It was learnt that managing the aftermath of the Ward Congresses in some states had been herculean for the party which is trying to ensure peace and reconciliation among its members.
A member of the NWC said the leadership of the party might not discuss and respond to the nPDP letter in isolation.
“Apart from being busy, the issues raised in the letter are weighty and all other organs might have to be involved,” the source said.
Another party source, however, said: “The party appears to be tactically awaiting the return of the President because most of the issues raised border on the disposition of the Presidency.
“You cannot get a letter and go to town with a response without hearing from the other side. With feedback from the President, the party will be in a good stead to lay the cards on the table.
“Even on the eve of the President’s departure to the United Kingdom, he had audience with some of the key leaders of nPDP who joined hands to form the APC coalition.
“No one knew whether or not the April 27 letter came up for discussion.”
When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, simply said: “The party has not had the opportunity to discuss the letter.”
A source in Buhari’s camp, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are not losing sleep over the ultimatum, because we know their ultimate target is exit from APC. We had anticipated it long time ago and we have our plans on how to curtail them.
“The letter was just the first stage of a pre-planned agenda to embarrass APC and President Buhari.
“They have lined up more activities before they finally defect. We got all the intelligence report long before hand.
“On the alleged side-lining of the nPDP members, we will respond with appropriate statistics at the right time. The letter was misleading and inaccurate.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “Unlike in 2014, the political dynamics are different this time around because Buhari is a covert strategist.”
A leader of the nPDP said: “We cannot talk of the next step now until Buhari comes back to the country. We want his reaction to our notes too.
“His body language will determine our next move, which is being jealously kept.”
The nPDP leaders lodged their protest in a letter dated April 27, 2018 which was delivered to the APC National Secretariat in Abuja yesterday.
The letter was signed by a former National Chairman (nPDP), Alh. Abubakar Kawu Baraje and ex- National Secretary (nPDP) Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
Those copied include President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
In the said letter, they listed seven grievances on why the coalition which led to the birth of APC was not working.
They include lack of concession of any position to nPDP in power sharing; no significant patronage and appointments to executive positions in various government agencies; fewer appointments of nPDP members into boards of various government agencies; opposition to the emergence of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives; general lack of consultation, non-recognition and even persecution of former New PDP members and leaders; and harassment, intimidation and persecution of former New PDP leaders by the government.
SOURCE: THE NATION