Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim (APC-Yobe East) has said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC was in many ways not better than the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) it defeated in 2015.
The lawmaker made this known at a dinner to mark his 70th birthday and book launch on Saturday.
Ibrahim said he, like most Nigerians, had a dream that the nation would be changed for the better when the APC took over in 2015, but that more than three years down the line, those hopes had been dashed.
He warned that unlike in 2015 when it had a smooth ride to power, the APC would have to do more to convince the people of the North-East to consider voting for it because a lot had changed.
The senator said: “Simply put, things have not changed and many things are worse and the people are bitter. We should not assume that we can win even with massive rigging.
He said a lot of work was required if the APC was to return to power in 2019.
“The economy has gone down because of our actions and we are blaming the past too much rather than solving the present problems. I am going to give a dire warning.
“Let the North-East not be taken for granted that we must support the APC. Our interest in the North-East has always been progressive and I will personally be watching for improvement in the APC,” he said.
Another APC senator who spoke on condition of anonymity to Punch because he claimed he did “not want to jeopardise ongoing peace efforts”, said the party was toying with its chances in 2019 with its poor handling of the fallout of the primaries.
“The party has not lived up to our expectations, the least one expects of a political party like the APC which promised change is for it to respect the principle of internal democracy. A political party should respect the wishes of the majority of its members, not an individual,” he said.
Similarly, a member of the House of Representatives, Kehinde Odeneye, has also expressed his bitterness over the turn of events in the APC.
Speaking on Sunday to Punch, he warned that the party might be kicked out of office in 2019 if genuine efforts were not made to address the frustration of many loyalists.
The lawmaker said: “It’s very unfortunate where we have found ourselves today. If we are not able to resolve the issues, they may affect our chances in 2019.
“A lot of people are aggrieved, most especially National Assembly members, who stood by the party. There was the promise of compensation but that has not been the case. The National Assembly members are the grass-roots people working for the party.”
The lawmaker hinted that President Muhammadu Buhari too was disturbed and had summoned another emergency stakeholders’ meeting for Tuesday (tomorrow) to address some of the issues.
Odeneye added, “I understand Mr President is going to meet with the stakeholders on Tuesday to step in and discuss with everybody and see how to resolve all of these issues.
“My prayer is for him to have God’s enablement to assuage the grievances of people; else winning in 2019 will require a lot of work.”
Speaking on the same matter a member of the House of Representatives from Imo State, Nnana Igokwe, also criticised the APC for applying “policies not known to law” in picking candidates for 2019.
Igbokwe who cited the crises in Imo, Zamfara, Rivers and Ogun State, noted that the APC “deliberately” breached the Electoral Act, the 1999 Constitution, the electoral guideline and its own constitution in deciding who would become a candidate.
He said: “In Imo State, are we saying that a man, who introduced this party should not have a say in its affairs?
“Governor Rochas Okorocha brought APC to the South-East at a time they were calling it Hausa party.
“He went round the states to sell this party. Today, look at what is happening. Where on earth do you substitute someone, who participated and won the primary, with the name of another person?”