The leadership impasse rocking the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) is far from over as the camps of Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and Boniface Aniebonam engaged in a verbal war, yesterday.
Kwankwaso’s camp fired the first salvo when it raised the alarm that some expelled members of the party were hatching a sinister plot to discredit its national leader, and presidential candidate, and the Kano State Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf.
The party, in a statement by Ladipo Johnson, on behalf of the NNPP National Working Committee (NWC) under the leadership of the acting National Chairman, Abba Kawu Ali, said it had come to its notice that certain expelled members of the NNPP, which include Tope Aluko, and some ex-state chairmen, who it tagged sponsored elements, were conducting a press conference in Jabi, Abuja, to falsely state as a form of propaganda, that Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf was not a member of the NNPP as at the time of the election, and that Senator Kwankwaso was dismissed from the party.
“These allegations are totally false and inaccurate. We state that the Kano State Governor was a bona fide member of the NNPP at all material times, and that we have confidence in the Supreme Court of Nigeria that justice will be done. These hired/paid hands who seem to be lackeys in the hands of the APC national chairman, Ganduje, seem to have “sold their souls” and will do anything for pecuniary gains at the expense of the Nigerian electorate.
“We remind the general populace that Chief Boniface Aniebonam, one of the founders of the NNPP, recently spoke out in favor of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf and asked that his election be upheld.
“Therefore, it is a mystery that some of his loyalists would stoop so low as to become hired hands to misinform Nigerians.
“In conclusion, we urge that Nigerians ignore the false statements by these enemies of the Nigerian electorate.”
However, the Aniebonam’s camp led by Major Gilbert Agbo told journalists in Abuja that Kwankwaso and his followers were no longer members of the party and, as such, lacked the locus standi to organise a protest in the name of NNPP.
He accused Kwankwaso of instigating the public, especially residents of Kano State against the judiciary and called on the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, and the Department of State Services (DSS), to arrest the former governor and his red-cap followers for impersonation.
“The unrest, characterised by press interviews, protests incitements, attacks on the judiciary, malicious remarks, institutional disruptions, visits to embassies, and road blockades, have reached an alarming level.
“Red-capped individuals, both young and vibrant, wielding various weapons, have taken to the streets, disturbing the peace. Upon thorough investigation, our party discovered that these actions were coordinated by Kwankwaso and led by non-Kano indigenes, namely Dipo Johnson, Kawu Alli, and Onu, all of whom are expelled members of our party. Following a three-day retreat after submitting letters to relevant security agencies and embassies, we have reached the following resolutions: Our party upholds the sanctity of Nigeria and is committed to ensuring the safety of lives and property as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution.
“Our great party, founded by Boniface Aniebonam, categorically asserts that Kwankwaso is not its founder.
“We advocate for legal redress options and reject the notion of self-help in addressing matters. Our party denounces the deliberate mischief of expelled members presenting themselves as the leaders of the protests, specifically Dipo Johnson, Kawu Ali, and Onu.
“These individuals are not representatives of our party. We strongly support the rule of law and the judiciary, disapproving of any attacks against the judicial system.”