In a statement released on Wednesday, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) provided insight into why its former National Chairman, Prof Rufa’i Alkali, and several other members of the party defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Abdulsalam Abdulrasaq, the National Publicity Secretary of the NNPP, stated that Alkali, Prof Bem Angwe, Senator Othman Hunkuyi, and others left the party “due to high-handedness and an insatiable desire to take over a platform benevolently donated by Dr Boniface Aniebonam and its mother organisation – NAGAFF for use in the 2023 general election.”
The APC had previously announced on its official handle that its national chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje, received 26 chieftains of the NNPP into the party in Abuja.
The ruling APC stated, “The National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje received into the APC, 26 chieftains of the New Nigeria People’s Party, including the immediate-past National Chairman of the party, Prof Rufa’i Alkali, and three governorship candidates.”
According to Abdulrasaq, “Recall that the role of Prof Bem Angwe and Senator Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi as signatories to the MOU between Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and NNPP leading to the fusion of the Kwankwassiyya and TNM groups has been repeatedly revealed to the press.
“Note also that Alkali emerged as national chairman at the convention that cemented the union on March 30, 2022, but left the party and his position on March 30, 2023, due to alleged high-handedness and irreconcilable differences with Kwankwaso on issues of undemocratic tendencies and lately the desire to take over fraudulently, a platform that he was benevolently given by a gentle old man to actualise his ambition of running for the presidency of Nigeria.”
Abdulrasaq further revealed that Angwe, who withdrew his signature before the MOU itself expired after the 2023 election, allegedly complained of attempts to sell off his governorship ticket in Benue state, which he worked hard to win, to the highest bidder.
“He thereafter developed cold feet even though it affected his performance in the 2023 election despite the overwhelming love he enjoys from the good people of Benue State.”
The statement also disclosed that Senator Hunkuyi, who also withdrew as a signatory to the MOU, had been at odds with Kwankwaso even when he served within the party’s administrative structure as National Organising Secretary.
“He complained of high-handedness, imposition, refusal to listen to others, and several other reasons while serving the party. The irreconcilable differences extended to the period after emerging as the governorship candidate of NNPP in Kaduna state.
“While the campaign lasted, there was no noticeable contact or synergy with the governorship candidate due to the rift which was very obvious,” part of the statement read.
The statement added that Hunkuyi had communicated his withdrawal to the party’s founder, Dr Boniface Aniebonam, and apologized for all the embarrassment faced despite his benevolence during the period they joined the party.
Abdulrasaq expressed that the defection of the 26 chieftains hit the party like a thunderstorm at a time when the new leadership of Dr Agbo Majo had set up a Special Committee to interact with them.
“Our job at this point is to wish them well in their stay in the new party. It is our hope that they would enjoy the true essence of internal democracy and openness, the reason why they left NNPP for their new party.”
“It was truly our desire to have retained them under the new leadership of Dr Agbo Major who is presently working very hard to restore internal democracy and constitutionality in the party’s leadership.
However, he noted that the doors of the party are still widely open to receive the 26 defected members back as co-fathers of the new NNPP it is presently building.
“In the interim, we wish them well in their struggle to re-invent our dear country, Nigeria through their new political party,” he expressed.
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