NNPP faces existential threat as crisis deepens


The crisis rocking the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, has continued to rage on between the Kwankwasiyya and the original members.

The latest was the alleged expulsion of Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso by the NNPP’s National Executive Committee, NEC, following his refusal to appear before the party’s Disciplinary Committee.

Mr Abdulsalam Abdulrasaq, the Acting National Publicity Secretary of NNPP, who announced the expulsion, stated in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos that the NEC had immediately expelled Kwankwaso because of his refusal to honour the committee’s invitations.

“The NEC met in an emergency session on Friday, 1 September and resolved as follows:

“Following the refusal of Sen. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to appear before the disciplinary committee, which sat on Thursday, 31 August, after being duly invited in writing, he is hereby expelled from NNPP with immediate effect.

“That the erstwhile presidential candidate, Sen. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, will be reported to appropriate quarters to answer questions on financial impropriety relating to mismanagement of public funds,” Abdulrasaq said.

Saga Gist reports that the crisis within the NNPP deepened when the NWC of the party loyal to Kwankwaso announced the suspension of the NNPP founder, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam and the National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Agbo Major, on 24 August.

The Kwankwaso group specifically accused Aniebonam of creating a parallel group within the party to cause disaffection in the NNPP.

The group also upheld motions to extend the tenure of the acting national Chairman, Mallam Abah-Kawu Ali, and to redesign the party’s logo.

The development followed the party’s two factions holding parallel meetings in Abuja and Lagos. The faction led by the party’s National Chairman, Abba Kawu Ali, held a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at Bolingo Hotel in Abuja, where the expulsion of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, and the National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Agbo Major, and 14 others, were ratified.

In a parallel meeting in Lagos held by the Aniebonam faction, composed of BoT members, Major was appointed Acting National Chairman of the party.

The Aniebonam faction also, at the Lagos meeting, suspended Kwankwaso for six months over alleged anti-party activities.

The BoT also suspended the party’s National Working Committee (NWC). It appointed new national officers headed by Dr Agbo Major as the acting National Chairman and Mr. Ogini Olaposi as the acting National Secretary, with 18 others.

Saga Gist reported that the NEC of the NNPP also set up a Disciplinary Committee and directed it to invite Kwankwaso to defend allegations of gross anti-party activities and mismanagement of party/campaign funds within five days.

Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting in Lagos on Tuesday, Secretary of the BoT, Babayo Muhammed Abdulahi, accused Kwankwaso of hobnobbing with President Bola Tinubu, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Mr Peter Obi, without the board’s authorisation.

Abdullahi also announced that Kwankwaso had been stripped of the NNPP national leader status by the board. He described the purported suspension of the NNPP founder by another party’s faction as a flagrant gross violation of the party’s constitution.

But reacting to the alleged suspension of Kwankwaso as the National Leader of the party, one of the founding fathers and chieftain of the NNPP, Buba Galadima, described the suspension as a “Nollywood and Hollywood joke”.

Galadima spoke on Channels Television, claiming that the group’s leaders, who announced Kwankwaso’s suspension, had earlier been expelled from the NNPP.

He also insisted that the party was still intact and had no crisis as being peddled.

“When I saw it on social media, I thought it was like a Nollywood or Hollywood joke.

“Now let me make a small correction: those that were expelled were Boniface Okechukwu Aniebonam and Gabriel Agbor Major.

“All of them who were expelled were called to a disciplinary committee. They were drilled, and they accepted their sins, and it was on the basis of their acceptance that they were recommended to the National Working Committee for expulsion,” he said.

Speaking on the alleged anti-party activities, Galadima explained that “as a politician, we can meet with anybody. He (Kwankwaso) took permission from us.”

On his part, the Kano State Chairman of the NNPP, Hashimu Dungurawa, said that Kwankwaso had not been suspended from the party, noting that “right now, he was attending a well-represented NEC meeting of the party in Abuja.”

Dungurawa insisted that Kwankwaso is held in high esteem within the NNPP and recognised as a legitimate leader, making the allegations of suspension false and damaging his reputation.

However, the crisis took a further twist when the party’s new leadership under Dr. Agbo Gilbert Major on Sunday resolved to probe into the mismanagement of over N1 billion raised from the sale of forms to aspirants during the 2023 general elections.

In a statement issued by the Acting National Publicity Secretary, Abdulsalam Abdulrasaq, following a maiden meeting at the Abuja National Secretariat on Sunday, the party confirmed its withdrawal from the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, signed by it with the Kwankwasiyya Movement and The National Movement, TNM, insisting that the principles of those two groups did not aline with the party’s policies of openness and inclusivity.

The new leadership also called for written complaints from aggrieved candidates who were short-changed after making payments for forms into the party’s account, while disclosing that it had resolved to overhaul its structures across all levels nationwide in the coming days and weeks.

Before then, Saga Gist reported that the Forum of State Chairmen of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, had raised the alarm over what it described as desperate moves by what it called the illegal National Working Committee of the party to amend for the third time in six months, the constitution of the party.

A statement by the Spokesperson for the Forum of State Chairmen of the NNPP, Dada Olayinka Olabode, alleged that Kwankwaso was behind the illegal onslaught against the party and its uncompromising leaders.

The Forum called on the party’s Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chief Boniface Okechukwu Aniebonam, to, without any further reconsideration, cause outright revocation of the Memorandum of Understanding he entered with those desperadoes masquerading as democrats.

They said the latest plan was aimed at deleting relevant articles in the party’s constitution to whittle down the powers of the BoT Chairman due to his uncompromising stand, never to allow injustice to take root in the party.

Meanwhile, Dungurawa said in an interview that the ruling party is trying to divide the NNPP because of their selfish interest.

Dungurawa insisted that people claiming they suspended Kwankwaso were not members of the party. According to him, they have been expelled from the party.

He argued that their actions did not carry any weight, saying they were unidentifiable people who were just making noise.

Dungurawa said: “Since we are in a democratic dispensation, many things have happened. That is the nature of our politics. But what I see is that the ruling party is trying to divide the party because of their selfish interest.

“I said that because, you see, the only viable political party in this country is the NNPP. Why? If you look at all other political parties after APC, if you talk of the Labour Party, it is too regional, is too ethnic, and is too religious. That is one. If you look at PDP, the crisis rocking the party is like it is nowhere to be found.

“The only consolidated party that is working within our democratic space is NNPP because we have reached out everywhere in this country, and our leader has no case with the EFCC or with any courts. He is different from other politicians.

“If you allow him to have a free hand in this context, he will definitely be a problem to the ruling party. That is why they are trying to create a crisis within the party. But with little knowledge and experience, we are taking measures to curtail all this propaganda.

“We are now in court, and the court will take charge of everything, and definitely, we will regain our freedom to continue our good work to make sure our party is becoming stronger and stronger.

“In every system, there must be a problem, but trying to manage the problem is what matters. So, we are trying every possible means to manage this problem, and God willing, we will overcome it and come back stronger very soon.

“If you look at the crisis, there was nothing Senator Kwankwaso did in line with what they claimed that he had done- he has done anti-party; he has not performed very well.

“If you look clearly at the whole country, where did this party prove that it is a party? It is only where Kwankwaso is; that is where he won his governor, the federal constituencies, and the state constituencies, and he won all the senatorial seats, except one.

“Those claiming they suspended Kwankwaso are not members of our party. Already, they have been expelled from the party. It does not carry any weight. For us, it is unidentifiable people that make this kind of noise.

“My advice for Nigerians in general is that this is the party they believe will solve the problem of insecurity, lack of power and accessibility of roads, and even the health sector.

“This party is the most organised. My request to our teeming supporters is for them to put their heads together and work for the good of the party.

“You see, This man (Kwankwaso) they see as their mate is not theirs. He is one of the most intelligent politicians in the country. He is the only one who has gone through all the levels of governance in Nigeria. He was once a deputy speaker of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when President Bola Tinubu was just an ordinary senator.

“How can you agree or accept or bear in mind that this man has done wrong in the party? Where did this party score anything without him, even up to Jigawa State, his neighbouring State, and even Taraba and Gombe, which are still part of the north?

“So look at it thoroughly: the people that are claiming this man has done wrong in the party, if you ask them what they have done to improve the acceptability of the party where they came from, there is nothing they won there.

“You cannot just come and start saying something just like that for selfish interest. This man performed well. So we formed our NEC meeting on 29 August last month in Abuja, where we put up seven agenda and agreed on them.

“The first one is that the party constitution has been long overdue; it has been there for almost 20 years. We all agreed, according to the NEC, to amend the constitution. The second is the party logo, which has given us a headache, especially during the election; our supporters are finding it difficult to identify it.

“We agreed to amend and redesign the party logo. The committee also decided to expel people we had suspended on 24 August. They are seventeen in number.

“Also, we all agreed that Kwankwaso is the person who keeps the party alive. He is the one that makes the party strong in Nigeria. So we agreed that he needs to be recommended and encouraged to continue with his good job. That is how we came to the conclusion of NEC on 29 August 2023”.

Meanwhile, the immediate past National Chairman of the NNPP, Prof. Rufai Ahmed, has left the party.

Rufai, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said he decided to quit “after consulting widely”.

Rufai’s action is considered by observers as a huge blow to the party that has been engulfed in a major crisis.

The former national chairman, who resigned from the top job on 31 March, said he had offered to step aside then, to give the group an opportunity to move ahead by injecting people with new ideas.

“When I resigned from being national chairman, I wanted the NNPP to move fast and consolidate on the indisputable gains made in the 2023 general elections and prepare for future polls.

“Unfortunately, in the last few weeks, the party has slipped deeper and deeper into avoidable crises and conflicts that have led to several cases of suspension and counter-suspension of key leaders.

“There has been an acrimonious press war, accusations and counter- accusations which, regrettably, has torn the party into factions.

“After the historic merger of the party in March 2022, together with other astute, highly dedicated, hardworking and loyal members, we put in place a robust political structure nationwide.

“The National Working Committee forged cohesion among our members and created a formidable platform that fielded candidates for all elective offices. I am proud to be part of that dream team.

“It is on record that within a period of less than one year and despite the limited time corridor from the merger to the general elections, the party won a governorship seat and many other slots in the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly.

“I voluntarily stepped aside as the national chairman shortly after the general election to give room for new hands and fresh ideas in order to advance the party forward.

“As far as I was concerned, I never believed in the culture of sit-tight in leadership positions nor that I was indispensable.

“We wanted to build a new Nigeria on the solid foundation of dedication, hard work, resilience and personal sacrifice.

“Recent disturbing developments that threw up factions working against each other are really unfortunate and counter-productive.

“Sadly, there appears to be no end in sight in this needless war of attrition.

“It seems that there’s an unwritten code by the warring factions not to allow elders of the party to mediate toward finding a lasting solution to the crises.

“This is indeed regrettable and unhealthy for the growth and survival of any political party, especially an emerging group like the NNPP.

“Having consulted widely, I hereby announce the withdrawal of my membership of the NNPP forthwith, and I pray and wish the party the best in her future endeavours,” he stated.

Rufai called on friends, associates and supporters to “remain calm and resolute while awaiting communications on future developments and our next direction”

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