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President doesn't want a meeting with nPDP, here's why

APC insiders explain why Buhari has said no to a meeting with nPDP.

How did the nPDP become a thing in the politics of Nigeria?

The beginning of nPDP

On August 31, 2013, seven governors belonging to the PDP, walked out of the special delegates’ convention of the party in Abuja, in a fit of rage.

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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar led the seven governors out of the PDP gathering to the Yar'adua center for a press briefing.

The governors who staged a walkout on the day were joined by a former chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje and some senators.

Senate President Bukola Saraki was among the disenchanted senators.

The angry politicians would become known as the new PDP or nPDP.

Soon after their walkout, the nPDP members joined the APC and collapsed their respective structures into the political party that would go on to unseat the PDP from the center in 2015.

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The nPDP is being led today by Baraje and from the look of things, the splinter PDP group didn't fully assimilate into the APC.

nPDP cries of marginalisation

On April 27, 2018, the nPDP wrote a letter threatening the APC and the presidency.

In the letter, the nPDP threatened to pull out of the APC if its grievances aren’t met.

President Buhari was copied in the letter.

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In the letter, the nPDP said it had been marginalised in the APC and wasn’t getting its fair share of federal appointments.

“Harassment, intimidation and persecution of former new PDP leaders by the government is still an ongoing affair. We do not want to overstate the obvious by cataloguing names of former new PDP stalwarts that are targets of this political pogrom.

“There is inadequate reflection of programme and policy contributions of members of the former new PDP bloc in the running of the government”, their letter read in parts.

Osinbajo holds meeting with nPDP

On May 28, 2018, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo invited aggrieved members of the nPDP bloc to Aso Rock for peace talks.

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Those who attended this meeting were Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara and other chieftains of the party.

On Monday, June 4, 2018, the nPDP pulled out of a scheduled second meeting with Osinbajo after the police invited Saraki over for an alleged involvement in the Offa robbery in Kwara which led to the loss of over 33 lives.

The nPDP bloc saw the whole Saraki link with the Offa robbery incident, as another attempt by the main APC bloc to humiliate its members.

Again, the nPDP threatened to pull out of the governing party.

In a statement, the nPDP frowned at latest developments since its meeting with Osinbajo and said it was clear that its previous meeting with the presidency achieved little.

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“While we are truly and earnestly committed to achieving reconciliation, harmony, truce and cohesion in the APC as we approach the 2019 general elections, it appears that the presidency is not interested in the talks and that they may have been negotiating in bad faith”, the statement read.

APC convention in the midst of crisis

The last thing the APC wants at the moment is to head into its national convention of Saturday, June 23, a divided house.

The debate in political circles has been over whether President Buhari will engage in one last bout of peace talks with the nPDP faction of the party he leads before he faces a major re-election battle in 2019.

But a presidential source told reporters that the president has vowed never to sit down for talks with aggrieved nPDP members of his party.

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According to the source, the president made his stance known to governors elected on the platform of the APC after a recent meeting.

“The president told the governors as well as national leaders of the party pointedly to resolve the issues,” the source said.

The source quoted Buhari as saying: “ I am not ready to sit down with any faction. If they have problems, they should go to the party. I will not interfere.

“Governors as party leaders in the states should deal with all issues. Where there is need, the party leadership can come in. I will not get involved.”

Buhari was said to have commended an earlier meeting between Vice-President Osinbajo and the aggrieved nPDP members and gave his nod that the discussion should continue.

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The source added that the governors had different takes on the nPDP issue.

“Some hardline governors asked the president to ignore the nPDP while the majority felt the party and the VP should continue to talk to them,” the source said.

Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, was unavailable for comments before this story was filed.

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