Prof. Rufai Ahmed, the immediate past National Chairman of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), 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 hit by a major crisis.
The former national chairman, who resigned from the top job on 31 March, said he had offered to step aside 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, hardwork, 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”.
Rufai’s departure is coming shortly after a faction of the party announced the expulsion of Sen Rabiu Kwankwaso, the party’s candidate in the 2023 presidential elections.