Reactions have continued to trail a statement credited to former Governor of Osun and Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Bisi Akande that some Northern elites were behind the crisis rocking the governing party.
In a hard-hitting statement on Monday, Chief Akande had alleged that “Most Northern elite, the Nigerian oil subsidy barons and other business cartels, who never liked (President Muhammadu) Buhari’s anti-corruption political stance, are quickly backing up the rebellion against APC with strong support”.
The elder statesman was reacting to the crisis that has engulfed the APC since the National Assembly leadership elections took place last month.
One of the main actors fingered in Mr. Akande’s statement, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, has however, expressed disappointment in the former APC chairman.
Baraje, who is a close ally of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and a former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a statement in Abuja, said he was disappointed that Akande, who had led the APC and served as a state governor could author a statement in which he was allegedly seeking to divide the nation by pitting the North against the South-West.
He said: “I do not know where Chief Akande and his cohorts are getting this unsubstantiated information they are circulating. We challenge them to provide proof and let Nigerians make their judgment.
“Akande and co believe that they have exclusive right to determine who occupies what position in today’s Nigeria and whoever tries to challenge their position must be subjected to savage attack in the media. That tactic is definitely undemocratic.
“I have known Chief Akande to be an honest man. I got the shock of my life when he alleged that I had a meeting in my house with ‘some old and new PDP members with a view to hijacking the National Assembly’ through the aspiration of Dr. Bukola Saraki as the Senate President.
“I have been quiet as a leader so as to not to be seen as taking sides because of my closeness to Dr. Saraki, else people will read meaning into it.
“Akande has been playing a role which I admire. He will recall that he met some actors, with a governor from the North-West and a leader of the party from the South-West, where the leader from the South-West was cautioned to be reasonable in this crisis.
“He (Akande) supported the view of the governor from the North-West that the particular leader from the South-West should be admonished for his action. It is therefore surprising that Akande is now being economical with the truth and painting a picture that exists only in his imagination”.
Baraje said the allegation by Akande that a purported meeting took place in his (Baraje’s) Abuja residence shortly after the general elections, where “a so-called new PDP group plotted with a view to hijacking the National Assembly…with an ultimate aim of resuscitating the PDP as their future political platform” was a mere fabrication.