APC CRISIS: Pro-Oshiomhole Forces Fight Back

…Say his removal will spell doom for APC

…Plotters attacking Oshiomhole afflicted with 2023 virus – Tinubu


By Clifford Ndujihe, Dirisu Yakubu & Ozioruva Aliu


Abuja (Precise Post) – AHEAD of tomorrow’s National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, that will make or mar the party, forces loyal to the embattled National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, weekend, put up a spirited battle to save the former labour leader.

Aside lobbying some governors, the presidency and other top stalwarts of the party, the pro-Oshiomhole forces, who reeled out the achievements of the immediate past governor of Edo State, said disgracing Oshiomhole out of the APC hierarchy will spell doom for the party.

This came as National Leader of the APC and former governor of Lagos, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday, threw his weight behind Oshiomhole.

Likening the crisis in the party to the Corona virus disease, Tinubu, in a 1,593-word personal statement tilted: ‘’2023: A Different Form of Ailment,’’ said in spite of his weaknesses as man, Oshiomhole has many merits that helped the APC in recent elections and hence should not be improperly booted out of office in flagrant disregard for party rules and regulations.

His words: ‘’It is against this backdrop that we should view the present ploys and plots to undermine the APC National Chairman. The Chairman is human; thus, he has his merits as well as his flaws. Yet, his humanity cannot be grounds for his dismissal. If so, the position will forever go vacant.

The Chairman has been a tireless campaigner and mobilizer for the party. He has steered the party through difficult elections. His contributions should not be undervalued now that the bulk of elections are behind us. To do so would be an act of ingratitude. It is no secret that the Chairman and Edo Governor Obaseki are in dispute. This is unfortunate.

‘’However, the party has moved through proper procedures within the proper organs of the party to hopefully resolve this spat. All party members know this. Such decisions are part and parcel of internal party governance. Yet, motivated by ambitions that have nothing to do with the quality of the Chairman’s performance, people shunned the agreed party reconciliation mechanism and resorted to other means to oust him. These self-help attempts are unwarranted. These attempts reveal more about the mala fides of their perpetrators than they do about the Chairman.

‘’The plotters launched their attack solely because they perceive the chairman as an obstacle to their 2023 ambitions. People went to court knowing full well the party constitution prohibits such action because these people had not yet exhausted all internal disciplinary procedures.

‘’We even had a national deputy secretary improperly call for a NEC meeting on the basis that he believed himself the acting national chairman. Clearly, this man would not have summoned the temerity to make such a move had he not been instigated by powerful individuals who he thought would reward or, at least, protect him for committing the wrongful act.’’

Indeed, his supporters said since he assumed office as national chairman in June, 2018, Oshiomhole has demystified members who considered themselves demigods. He fought former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha who wanted to impose his son-in-law in the last governorship election against the interest and will of APC members in Imo. Oshiomhole’s plans hit a stumbling block when Oshiomhole kicked against his moves, allowing the party to choose other contenders for the seat.

But for Oshiomhole’s combative manner that truncated Okorocha’s anti-party moves, APC would have been a laughing stock in Imo.

The same drama played in Ogun State. The immediate past governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, plotted to hand over the governorship baton to one of his favourites but Oshiomhole’s stance aborted the move, they said.

Apart from his commitment to instil discipline in the party, they said under Oshiomhole’s leadership, APC maintained its winning streak at the 2019 presidential election and would have exceeded expectations in the governorship election but for the discordant voices that refused any form of harmony such as the crisis in Zamfara that arose from the rift between the former governor Abdulaziz Yari and Senator Kabir Marafa.

Oshiomhole’s attempt to resolve the case only fetched him more animosity. Little wonder that Marafa alerted the public on the alleged plot to oust Oshiomhole from power, last year

“It is evident that the plot to unseat Oshiomole by a gang of President Muhammadu Buhari’s adversaries has thickened. This plot is merely aimed at hijacking the party structures and handing it over to Yari – who till now is the arrowhead of all the people that harbour a lot of bitterness against the president,” Marafa said last December.

Expectedly, Yari denied the allegations but more reports followed, insisting that the growing number of Oshiomhole’s detractors were busy plotting and countering moves that will put him in good light.

In their estimation, the party is better off without a leader whose goal included ridding the party of selfish and corrupt members.

One of the supporters of Oshiomhole, who is expected at tomorrow’s NEC meeting said: ‘’The removal of Oshiomhole will only spell doom for APC. The party is already suffering from an ego implosion. The midnight meetings and closed-door whispers are only a spectre of the pending disintegration. As much as the detractors who have been working tirelessly to unseat Oshiomhole since, last year, would like to portray their actions as a collective good for the party, there’s no uncertainty that it is for their personal interest.

‘’Any observer of the political landscape in Nigeria would easily concur that APC enjoyed a certain degree of decorum since Oshiomhole became chairman of the party. He spoke a language that most corrupt members of the party were unused to. He crushed egos and promoted selflessness. Not one to be cowed by his opposition’s remarks, Oshiomhole aims at professionalism and excellence, two traits that have accompanied him since his days as a union leader. His ultimate objective is to ensure that the party’s structures and ideals are maintained and not used to serve selfish interests. This was clearly seen in his first public speech after the High Court ruling.

Oshiomhole said that he was more concerned about his legacy than the title. ‘I worry more about what I will be remembered for when I was chairman rather than how long I was chairman.’

‘’But he need not worry about this. His impact would be felt by many and even his traducers are likely to regret their steps. At least, none can accuse him of promoting anti-party policies or embezzling funds.

‘’He is aware of the battle ahead but he is not having sleepless nights over it. ‘Whatever you do, those who want to fight you will fight you but I know that my tenure will be defined by God and not man,” he said at that public address.’

His confrontational style might have yielded him more friends than foes, his loss will cost APC more than just a title.

However, those who started the current round of troubles for Oshiomhole think differently. Incidentally, they are from his home state.’’

Indeed, when Oshiomhole was suspended by a Federal High Court in Abuja, recently, the jubilant comments in Edo included: “There will be peace in Edo State.”

Justice Danlami Senchi of the court in Jabi ordered Oshiomhole to step down on March 4, pending the determination of the substantive suit by Edo state chapter of the party seeking his removal as APC chairman.

The ruling came almost a fortnight to the NEC meeting which Oshiomhole should preside over. In his absence, going by the constitution of the party which stipulates that the deputy national chairman, South should assume the exalted office of chairman of the party in an acting capacity if there is a leadership vacuum, Abiola Ajimobi, who was approved as deputy national chairman of the party, the same day, ought to have taken the seat.

However, in another drama, some members of the party endorsed Chief Victor Giadom, APC’s national secretary to occupy the seat.

We must cure old Ambition-virus 2023 in APC – Tinubu

Analysing the development, yesterday, Tinubu said: ‘’Due to alert responses of Lagos and Ogun state governments, actively supported by the federal machinery, Nigeria was able to quickly identify and isolate the two cases of the novel Corona virus 19. This action, thus far, has stopped the spread of the disease into the wider community as has been seen in other nations. We are grateful to God and to all those involved in the response effort, particularly the brave and committed medical teams on the frontline.

‘’While Corona has been presently contained in Nigeria, we must be alert to another sickness that seems rampant within a certain segment of society. That sickness is old Ambition-virus 2023. This illness afflicts many in the political class along with their allies in the media.

‘’Those touched by this malady find that their ability to tell time and discern the difference between the present and the future has been strongly impaired. The carriers of this sickness are confused as to the very season our nation now finds itself.

‘’They conflate things, which no sensible person would conflate. The primary symptom of their malady is the driving tendency to believe the events of 2023 will be decided before we even exit the year 2020.

‘’Consequently, everything they say and do is geared toward obsessive jockeying for position to control and manipulate a race still three years away. In doing so, they recklessly undermine the very party which they claim to serve and weaken the administration of President Buhari to which they claim to be loyal. They line up to run a race for which the track has not even yet been constructed.

Put another way, they seek to pluck the fruit before the seed is even planted. As such, their actions border on the pathological. True, ambition is inherent in human endeavour. Without it, nothing great is achieved. However, strong ambition applied in the wrong way has never done anything positive.

At best, it results in confusion. Usually, its results in something worse. No matter how great one’s ambition and how able one may be, nobody can rush or speed time. That is beyond the realm of human capacity. To do so is to contest against fate itself. When it ends, such a contest rarely ends well.

‘’In a well-structured society, people come to understand that the time for politics is seasonal; it is periodic. The responsibilities of governance are what is perpetual. Many of our politicians sadly have inverted this reality. Politics and electioneering are secondary to governance for they are but tools of governance, the platforms by which one demonstrates his or her worthiness to lead a great people.

‘’The more a person obsesses over and constantly engages in political manoeuvring is a warning sign. Not only is he prone to the 2023 virus. He likely has little to offer in the way of good governance. He wants to hold public office that you might serve him not he serve you. For if he had adequately studied and been acquainted with the ways and means of progressive governance, he would be focused on that important task at the present moment. He certainly would not drown himself and all around him in harmful political intrigue.

‘’It is against this backdrop that we should view the present ploys and plots to undermine the APC National Chairman. The Chairman is human; thus, he has his merits as well as his flaws. Yet his humanity cannot be grounds for his dismissal. If so, the position will forever go vacant.

The Chairman has been a tireless campaigner and mobilizer for the party. He has steered the party through difficult elections. His contributions should not be undervalued now that the bulk of elections are behind us. To do so would be an act of ingratitude. It is no secret that the Chairman and Edo Governor Obaseki are in dispute. This is unfortunate.

‘’However, the party has moved through proper procedures within the proper organs of the party to hopefully resolve this spat. All party members know this. Such decisions are part and parcel of internal party governance. Yet, motivated by ambitions that have nothing to do with the quality of the Chairman’s performance, people shunned the agreed party reconciliation mechanism and resorted to other means to oust him. These self-help attempts are unwarranted. These attempts reveal more about the mala fides of their perpetrators than they do about the Chairman.

‘’The plotters launched their attack solely because they perceive the chairman as an obstacle to their 2023 ambitions. People went to court knowing full well the party constitution prohibits such action because these people had not yet exhausted all internal disciplinary procedures.

‘’We even had a national deputy secretary improperly call for a NEC meeting on the basis that he believed himself the acting national chairman. Clearly, this man would not have summoned the temerity to make such a move had he not been instigated by powerful individuals who he thought would reward or, at least, protect him for committing the wrongful act.

‘’Those engaged in these manoeuvres see themselves as clever or cunning. They do so because they only understand the mean craft of political intrigue. They have yet to understand the value and long-term utility of democratic governance. Thus, they embark on the strangest of quest. They would rather dismantle and weaken the institutional core of their party just to gain control of that weakened edifice in order to pilfer the party nomination, which they crave. This is more than sad.

Many of us expended sweat, tears, toil and sleepless nights to build this party. Our personal sacrifices were not insignificant. We built this party not simply as a vehicle for personal ambition. ‘’We built the party because we saw it as perhaps the only enduring hope to bring progressive governance to this nation. Those who now seek to abuse the party by using it as their personal device do it great harm. They should not be allowed to sacrifice this collective enterprise at the altar of their self-aggrandizement. Somehow, some way they should find in themselves the bearing to adhere to the democratic spirit on which the party was founded. To be an APC member means more than merely carrying a membership card. It means to believe in a set of ideals and principles geared to our highest purpose as a party and a nation.

‘’In a broader context, those afflicted with the 2023 virus do a grave disservice to President Buhari and his administration. They should be trying their best to help the president. Instead of seeing President Buhari as our present leader and commander-in-chief, their sole contemplation is upon his eventual exit. Yet, not even a full year has passed since his second inaugural. How can they be committed to helping him realise his mandate when the fullness of their gaze is affixed to seizing this very mandate for themselves?

‘’The President is faced with many challenges. He is fighting hard on security to keep the population safe. He is pushing for economic reforms that will augur future sustainable growth. His disdain for corruption remains unwavering. Add to it now the Corona crisis and its resultant social as well as economic impact. Politicians express loyalty to him but the words of too many of our politicians are like butter under a burning sun; they melt quickly away. Better to be loyal in deed. Instead of trying to manipulate party and other mechanisms solely to their political gain, it is time to shelve political intrigue for the time being. It is time for all party members to truly see what is at stake and work with Mr. President for the collective good of the nation.

‘’This means we must rally around President Buhari. Instead of everyone saying they are working for the party and nation but going their separate ways based on their selfish designs, we must help him build a stronger national consensus on policies that will ensure safety and bring greater prosperity. If need be and when called upon, we must offer ideas and suggestions that move policy and progress forward. This is the time for governance. It is not the moment to bring the politics of 2023 into 2020. In due course, 2023 shall come. Nothing can prevent it. However, that time is not today. If we are earnest, the present offers sufficient work and challenges for us without trying to add to it by rushing the future. Let us dedicate our energies to helping President Buhari win the present. In this way, you better secure the future for the nation, the party and even for whatever personal ambitions you may nurture.

‘’I have said what is on my mind in hopes that some people may leave the 2023 frenzy and commit themselves to the harder yet more rewarding task of improving progressive governance, whether within the party or at the local, state or federal levels. Yet, I am not so naïve to think all will heed this counsel. The stubborn, those obsessed with the obsession of their ambitions, will ignore all advice. They will constantly pull 2023 into all that occurs in 2020. Their vision is blurred and judgement made faulty by their ailment. We are democrats so we cannot physically quarantine them. However, we can quarantine their ideas and antics by not falling prey to them. This is the best way.’’

Oshiomhole will triumph over his traducers says Odubu

Speaking in like manner, former Deputy Governor of Edo State and a 2020 governorship aspirant, Dr Pius Odubu yesterday said the current threat to Oshiomhole’s office are the handiwork of traducers that will not yield dividends.

Odubu was deputy to Oshiomhole for eight years and who many believed ought to have succeeded Oshiomhole, said his commitment to Comrade Oshiomhole’s leadership is “unwavering and unshakable in the face of the very egregious conspiracy of a few party members against him spearheaded by the Edo State Governor.”

He noted that Oshiomhole has shown time and again that he is a leader and a tough man. “Surely we all know that tough times never last but tough people do.

“The number of lives he has touched and the development he brought to Edo State outweigh his shortcomings and God will give him victory over those who he raised that are now plotting his downfall.”

He urged party members and leaders in Edo and across the country to leverage on his skills to deepen the positive leadership he has provided for the APC.

On the allegation that Oshiomhole’s attempt to become a godfather was responsible for the crisis between him and Governor Godwin Obaseki, Odubu said: “There is no godfather in Edo politics. Comrade Oshiomhole fought godfatherism to a standstill and made sure that every vote counted while the people also led. They are just giving a dog a bad name in order to neatly hang it. ‘’Severally, we have challenged the Governor to name the overbearing tendencies or proclivity of Oshiomhole in Edo State and how he had tried to influence political activities in the state. Comrade Oshiomhole stated some time ago that he influenced the appointment of only one Commissioner in Obaseki’s cabinet and the said Commissioner had since been sacked. Is that the way of a godfather? They know that there is no other way they can possibly fault Oshiomhole than to come up with the nebulous terminology that he is playing godfather. Governor Obaseki’s problem in Edo State is not located at the door step of Oshiomhole. He is responsible for his own problem because he has refused to show respect to party members and the leadership of his party in the scheme of things, so he should not blame Oshiomhole for his problems.”

Why Oshiomhole must resign now- APC chieftain

A chieftain of the party, Mr. Jackson Ojo, has advised Oshiomhole to step down from his plum office to save the face of the party adding that the fight between the chairman and Obaseki is one Oshiomhole is not fated to win.

In an exclusive chat with Vanguard, yesterday in Abuja, Ojo noted that the feud “which has been allowed to degenerate into a dangerous level,” will consume the party if nothing was done to find a solution to it in the next few weeks.

“The best thing now to save the face of APC is for Oshiomhole to resign. If he is dropped by the National Executive Committee, NEC meeting, the crisis that would engulf the party is one that the APC won’t be able to recover from for a long time. Do not forget that the APC is a mix of different political groups forced to come together with the common goal of stopping President Goodluck Jonathan at all cost. The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP and the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN came together for this purpose. Do not forget too that some of those who came from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP like Bukola Saraki and Rabiu Kwankwaso have since returned to the PDP. So the collapse of the APC is the prayer of many of these people because they have somewhere to return to even though some of these parties no longer exist. They can come together and build a third force to fight the APC,” he said.

On the chances of APC retaining Edo in this year’s governorship election, Ojo noted that the contest would stretch the ruling party to the limit, stressing that unless the warring parties sheathe their swords, APC would have a mountain to climb.

“I sympathize with the APC in Edo state. The state is almost 50 per cent APC and 50 per cent PDP. Our victory there has always been a narrow one. What we need to do is to pull more support for the governor in order to have an upper hand in the 2020 governorship election. If Oshiomhole is removed as the national chairman, Oshiomhole’s faction will work against the governor and if this happens, PDP will be the ultimate beneficiary. On the other hand, if Oshiomhole is retained, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says it is only the national chairman that would forward to it the name of the governorship candidate and as it is, Oshiomhole will not go with Governor Godwin Obaseki. Should this happen, those who have sympathy with Governor Obaseki will work against the party. If he does not get the ticket of the APC, PDP is waiting in the wings to do a deal.’’

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