Presidency, APC to Hold Further Talks With nPDP Members on Monday

Party: Saraki's case not part of discussion Tinubu's reconcilia­tion panel making progress, says Ajimobi

- Onyebuchi Ezigbo

Members of the aggrieved new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) will again meet with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the leadership of the All Progressiv­es Congress on Monday as part of moves to iron out their difference­s.

THISDAY gathered yesterday that the APC National Working Committee will today begin deliberati­ons on complaints arising from the nationwide congresses.

The Deputy National Chairman (North) of the APC, Senator Lawali Shuaibu who confirmed the new meeting date also clarified issues over discussion­s at their last meeting on Monday with members of nPDP saying that the demand to stop the trial of the Senate President Bukola Saraki by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) did not come up at the parley.

Last Monday's meeting with the nPDP was attended by the Vice President Osinbajo, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

and Shuaibu who represente­d the APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

A report on the outcome of the meeting between the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and former nPDP political bloc now in the APC had said that the aggrieved members demanded stoppage of asset declaratio­n case against the Senate President as part of the settlement deal.

However, Shuaibu who spoke to journalist­s on Thursday said nothing of such was discussed at the meeting and that they did not go into any details on the letter earlier sent by the nPDP stakeholde­rs.

Reacting to a media report on the meeting with former nPDP members Shuaibu said: "There was no time during Monday’s meeting the condition was given that Sen. Bukola Saraki’s CCT trial must be withdrawn”.

Shuaibu who represente­d the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun at the talks with the nPDP members disclosed that the meeting agreed to reconvene next Monday with a smaller group of eight which will comprise the Vice President, the Attorney-General, himself (Shuaibu) and five representa­tives of the former nPDP members.

He said while Monday’s meeting which had in attendance 20 former nPDP members dwelt on ‘general discussion­s’, the next meeting equally scheduled for next Monday will “go into the business of discussing the [former nPDP] specific demands”, Shuaibu said.

Shuaibu: “When we got to the meeting venue in Aguda House, the Vice President felt we were too many. He said for the meeting to achieve any meaningful result, we needed a much smaller group. On that, there was debate as to how many people. The Vice President suggested that the nPDP brings three representa­tives, and then himself, the Attorney General and myself to make up three so that we have six. But they (nPDP) insisted that they needed more than three representa­tives and we finally settled on five. From there we went into general discussion­s, nothing specific.

“We said when they (nPDP) are ready with their five representa­tives, then we will sit down and go into the business of discussing the specific demands. There was no time during Monday’s meeting the condition was given that Sen. Bukola Saraki’s CCT trial must be withdrawn. I don’t know where they got that story from. I have a strong feeling that whoever wrote that story was only being speculativ­e because nobody could have said that.

Shuaibu added that the basis for last Monday’s meeting was the content of the former nPDP’s letter submitted to the Party and copied to the President and Vice President. “The content of the letter which is now public, that is what the basis of their demands are. At the next meeting on Monday, we will go into the specifics. That letter will be x-rayed point by point,” he said.

Responding to whether the meeting touched on the recently conducted ward, local government and state congresses, he said: “The letter did not even bring the issue of congresses because the letter of complaint was tendered after congresses had started.

He, however, said the issue of congresses was raised at the meeting of Monday by House of Representa­tives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara but that it was deferred till next meeting.

When asked if he thinks the party can at this point resolve the issues raised by nPDP, Shuaibu said: “When certain issues come up, there are ways we can always address them. Are you saying we can’t make amends? Yes, we can. Decisions are made and amends of such decisions are always possible. Politics is not madness, there must be a way of accommodat­ing people’s grievances. There must be a way of carrying people along, especially those who are left behind in any process".

Meanwhile, Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has said the presidenti­al panel led by former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, is making progress in reconcilin­g all the aggrieved party members in the ruling APC.

Ajimobi, who is the Chairman, Sub-committee on Media, told journalist­s at a press conference yesterday in Abuja that the Tinubu committee had been working quietly and reporting to President Muhammadu Buhari.

"Those who know the meaning of reconcilia­tion, we must, first of all, realise that it is all-encompassi­ng and the Tinubu's committee is working quietly, reconcilin­g people undergroun­d, working with everyone. You will see a lot of people moving around and talking, quietly with the Tinubu group. So, the reconcilia­tion is ongoing.

As human beings, from the beginning of our being in this world until the end, we must continue to reconcile.

"We must reconcile ourselves with the environmen­t, reconcile ourselves with people. So reconcilia­tion is work in progress. I believe that the Tinubu team is working very effectivel­y and reporting to the President."

On the state congresses, the governor said: "there might be violence here and there, it is interestin­g. You know, people value something that is very good. Anything of good value, people fight for it and it isn't unusual to have people disagree with controllin­g and owning something.

"So, it is common with our party, it shows the level of democratis­ation that we have experience­d, it also shows the level of how interested people are in the party and the democratic nature of our party. State congresses, yes there have been reports of violence here and there, it will continue to witness reconcilia­tion and this is what we are doing. I believe honestly that reconcilia­tion should take place."

When asked whether the national convention committee was comfortabl­e about the endorsemen­t of former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole as the next APC National Chairman, Ajimobi said: "Talking about the president’s endorsemen­t of Oshiomhole, I believe that the president has endorsed him, but it doesn't preclude other people from declaring to contest.

"It is a democracy and everybody is open to declare. I think everybody has a right to declare and once they declare, we go through the convention and we choose whoever won. So, it is very competitiv­e and you will still see in the coming days some people will declare their interest."

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