Monday 22 October 2018

Division In APC NWC As Yari, Amosun, Okorocha Lead Plot To Remove Oshiomhole

The crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which arose as a fall-out of its recent primary elections, has assumed a new dimension as aggrieved governors elected on the party’s platform have infiltrated the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) leading to an internal revolt against the party’s national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

According to Daily Independent’s findings, leading the revolt against Oshiomhole are Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, who is the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF); Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State; Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, and Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.

Aside from this, Oshiomhole has not been in the good books of some APC governors who were loyal to the immediate past national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. The arrowheads of this group are Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.

Since the outcome of the primary elections which did not go the way most APC governors wanted, there had been a series of protests on a daily basis at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.

In an exclusive interview with Daily Independent, Yekini Nabena, the then party’s Acting National Publicity Secretary, had accused the aggrieved governors of sponsoring the protests.

He said: “The problem in APC is also because the party chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has insisted that he will not tolerate any form of impunity from party members again, irrespective of their positions. He doesn’t want to rely on state governors for funds to run the party and that is why we got money from the sale of forms during the primaries. The era where governors will gather and impose their will on the party is gone.

“This time, Oshiomhole has entrenched party supremacy and that is why the governors are complaining. An outgoing governor wants to bring a successor and at the same time wants to be a senator but people said they don’t want to vote for his candidate. It becomes a problem. Some of them are even threatening the party chairman. These governors shouldn’t think they have the rights to appoint successors as if they are appointing personal aides.

“Let the people decide who will lead them in their states. Look at what the Niger State governor is doing: sending people to Abuja to come and protest. Is that how a governor should behave? This is the first time things are done the right way they should be done, not the way the governors wanted it. The governors are the ones sponsoring all these protests because the party is not doing their bidding.”

However, Daily Independent gathered that APC governors who felt humiliated by Oshiomhole’s actions in rejecting some of their preferred candidates are mobilising their loyalists in the NWC to pass a vote of no confidence on Oshiomhole in order to remove him from his position.

According to our source, who is a member of the NWC, there is already a sharp division in NWC as the members are now divided into pro- and anti-Oshiomhole group.

He also confirmed that the national chairman was aware of the plot by the governors to oust him from office “by all means, especially through internal revolt in the NWC.”

The source continued: “It is true. We are aware of the plot. We are always getting intelligence reports of all their plots. They are all fighting the national chairman because they didn’t get what they wanted during the primaries.

“They are seriously plotting but it will come to nothing at the end of the day because the president is in total support of the Comrade Chairman. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), and other prominent people are also on his side. These governors are only concerned about their own selfish interests, they are not thinking about the interests of the party or the president.

“The reality is that we need as many senators in the National Assembly so as to bring the Senate presidency position which is now in PDP back to our party, but the governors don’t care about this. Look at Shehu Sani now, he has dumped the APC. Have we not lost one senator because of Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s personal ambition? This is what Oshiomhole is trying to avoid. He wants to protect the president before this National Assembly and that is why he said the APC senators should be given return tickets.

“The governors are motivated by greed, nothing more. Look at Zamfara, for example. The governor, Abdulaziz Yari, wants to go to the Senate to dethrone a sitting senator. He also wants to install a successor as governor. But the presidency believes his choice of candidate is not popular.

“In Oyo, Governor Abiola Ajimobi wants to go to the Senate to dethrone a sitting senator and he also wants to install the next governor of the state. Don’t forget, this man (Ajimobi) has been a senator before becoming governor for eight years.

“The same thing is happening in Imo. Governor Rochas Okorocha wants to install his son-in-law as his successor and at the same time, he wants to replace Senator Hope Uzodinma at the Senate. The same thing is also applicable in Ogun State. They told these governors they can’t have two things at the same time. You either take governorship or Senate but the governors insisted on having their way.”

Also speaking, another member of the NWC who is loyal to Oshiomhole listed some of the anti-Oshiomhole NWC members as Lawal Shaibu, the Deputy National Chairman (North); Emma Ibediro, the National Organising Secretary; Alhaji Mustapha Salihu, the National Vice-Chairman (North- East) and others.

He claimed these members were at war with Oshiomhole for preventing them from having their way during the primaries.

According to him, the NWC members allegedly collected money from some aspirants promising to ensure they got the ticket but were unable to do so due to Oshiomhole’s adherence to rule of law.

“They are angry because Oshiomhole is not acting their script. Gone are the days when governors call the shots in the party and the national chairman only panders to their wishes like it happened under Chief John Oyegun. Now the party has been returned to the people and the governors are unhappy about this. That is why they have been blackmailing him and threatening him, but I believe their plot won’t work.

“Unfortunately, even some members of the NWC who believe in the old way of doing things are conniving with the governors and are working against the reforms of the chairman. In fact, Oshiomhole has reported these NWC members to President Buhari that they are working against his interest.

“I can mention their names. Someone like Lawal Shaibu, the Deputy National Chairman (North); Emma Ibediro, the National Organising Secretary who is Okorocha’s man; Alhaji Mustapha Salihu, the National Vice-Chairman (North-East), and few others. It is like a cartel. They are always trying to oppose Oshiomhole during NWC meetings.

“These people collect money from these powerful politicians and give them structures. So, their pain now is that most of the people they wanted to plant into positions did not materialise because Oshiomhole blocked everything.

“Oshiomhole ensures he personally signs all the forms going to INEC because if he leaves it to these NWC members, before you know it, they will substitute people’s names and put the names of people who didn’t win primaries after collecting money from them. As a result of this, many of these NWC members have strong hatred for him and we won’t be surprised if they pass a vote of no confidence in him tomorrow.

“What has been happening is that they will go to the president to report him and blackmail him. But the president will tell them to go and iron out their differences with him because he is the national chairman of the party. When they come to Oshiomhole, he will tell them point blank they can’t have their way.

“There are instances when they come to his office and he personally pushes them out. He doesn’t attach any prominence to them at all because he is also a two-time governor and a highly respected Labour leader. He has said it that even if he will spend 10 days as national chairman, he will leave a lasting legacy and cause reforms that will put the party in the hands of the people.”

However, speaking to Daily Independent, a member of the NWC who was listed amongst the anti-Oshiomhole members, accused the national chairman of high-handedness and dictatorship, saying he has refused to carry other members of the NWC along in the day-to-day running of the party.

However, Oshiomhole, in a statement by Simon Ebegbulem, his Chief Press Secretary, enjoined all the aggrieved stakeholders to sheathe their sword and join hands with him in moving the party forward.

While denying claims that he had been taking unilateral decisions without carrying other relevant stakeholders along, Oshiomhole said he was being hounded because he prevented the governors from circumventing due process in the conduct of the party’s primaries.

Reacting to the development, Kola Ologbondiyan, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, said he was not surprised having earlier predicted that Oshiomhole as national chairman had nothing to offer APC but to kill and lead it to its grave.

He said: “When Oshiomhole was elected as the chairman, we said he has nothing to offer the party except to be its undertaker who will lead it to the grave. I think we predicted rightly based on latest developments in the party. We have a perfect understanding of the character of the APC national chairman. We knew he is coming to bury APC and he has not done anything to show that our position about him was wrong.”

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