The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, on Sunday raised the alarm over what he described as a plot against him by unnamed party stakeholders.
The alarm was sequel to news reports that some high-ranking party stakeholders including some close associates of President Muhammadu Buhari and some unnamed state governors were plotting to ease him out.
Oshiomhole alleged that the stakeholders were mostly party members who were uncomfortable with his “positive” reforms.
Oshiomhole’s allegations were contained in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Simon Ebebgulem, in Abuja on Sunday.
According to him, the position of such stakeholders was recently given a voice via pronouncements made by a former APC presidential aspirant, Alhaji Mumakai Unagha.
Unagha was quoted as saying that the APC would not win the 2019 general elections with Adams Oshiomhole as national chairman.
Oshiomhole said the APC National Working Committee under his leadership was working tirelessly towards repositioning the party towards achieving greater successes.
He said, “The totality of Unagha’s claims, without necessarily addressing them one after the other, tallies with cooked-up narratives being sponsored by some influential stakeholders in their respective states that Comrade Oshiomhole is responsible for all the problems in the APC at the moment.
“These influential stakeholders, according to the grapevine, have begun to mobilise to pass a no-confidence vote in the leadership of Oshiomhole, having failed to impose their preferred candidates on the party in the nomination process.”
Oshiomhole said he did not become the national chairman of the governing party to bring it down a notch from the pedestal of its 2015 electoral victory let alone to preside over its liquidation.
The party chairman vowed to deploy his capacity to help strengthen and reposition the party as “a truly supreme and disciplined political entity.”
The statement read in part, “Although, it might appear fortuitous to some persons that he became national chairman at the threshold of the 2019 general elections; the truth is that there is no accident in predestination.
“The purpose has begun to manifest in its vast flourish and ramifications: instilling discipline, ensuring party supremacy, promoting due process, dealing with impunity and executive arrogance wherever they manifest to undermine intra-party electoral processes in the states.
“It is sad that while the national chairman is working round the clock, some stakeholders have thrown selfish political agendas into the mix to threaten the building of institutional capacity for the APC
“Rather than resort to needless perfidy at the threshold of general elections, we call on them to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship, bolstered by the fact that the Oshiomhole leadership is propelled more by its interest in propriety in which victory for the party could be grounded. The crime committed by Comrade Oshhiomhole’s leadership is its disdain for impunity and circumvention of due process perpetrated in some of the states at the pleasure of some influential stakeholders.”
Oshiomhole’s handling of the recently concluded APC primaries across the nation drew criticisms from some of the party’s aggrieved stakeholders, including the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari.
Mrs Buhari did not hide her disappointment as she took to her twitter handle to vent her anger. Others who were not pleased with Oshiomhole over the handling of the primaries in their states included the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, and the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, among others.
Aggrieved APC Reps mull options, after loss of appeals
Meanwhile, aggrieved All Progressives Congress members of the House of Representatives went into a crucial meeting on Sunday, findings by The PUNCH have shown.
It was gathered that the members were meeting to take a decision on their next line of action, having lost out completely in the battle to get a return ticket for 2019.
A member of the aggrieved group, Mr Musa Soba, told The PUNCH in Abuja that the meeting was on the tickets.
He stated, “I will get back. I am in a meeting now to decide on our next move.”
Soba, who is from Kaduna State, is among the over 70 lawmakers, who appealed their loss of the primary election in their constituencies.
They had petitioned the APC’s Appeal Panel.
As of the time of filing this report, Soba had yet to reach our correspondent on the progress of the meeting.
While some of the members had complained that the process was “manipulated” to favour some preferred contestants, others alleged that the party approved direct or indirect primaries in one instance, only to make a U-turn the next moment.
Investigations indicated that the panel resolved the petitions of about eight members in their favour. Over 62 others lost the appeal.
When the final list of candidates was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abuja on Thursday, The PUNCH gathered that the majority of the aggrieved members were not captured.
Those confirmed to be on the list were the Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes, Mr Kayode Oladele, Mr Isiaka Ibrahim, Mr Baderinwa White, Mr Aminu Malle, Mr Goodluck Opia, Mr Mayowa Akinfolarin, Mr Lado Abdullahi and Mr Jimoh Oladele.
Recall that a week ago, President Muhammadu Buhari summoned the aggrieved lawmakers to a meeting at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in a bid to pacify them.
He had reportedly called the meeting following threats issued by the members that they would either dump the APC or work against it in 2019.
But the presidential intervention did not do much to help the fate of the lawmakers. One of them, Mr Ayodeji Joseph, had earlier informed The PUNCH that he had nothing to do until he got a report of the panel.
Joseph, who represents Apapa Federal Constituency in Lagos State, stated that since the petition was sent formally to the party, he expected that he would also be accorded the respect of a formal reply.
The lawmaker claimed that he even won the election, expressing surprise how his opponent was declared the winner.
He added, “We expect that there will be a formal report on how the panel resolved our petitions.
“As I speak, I have yet to know. I was not invited by way of a letter or verbally to come and defend my petition, so I don’t know.
“But, the normal thing is that there should be a report. So, I am still waiting.”
On why he petitioned the party, Joseph claimed the election was held in only three out of the 10 wards in the constituency.
He added that he won in those wards but was surprised that another person became the winner.
“I won in the three wards. Initially, there was a disagreement over the method of accreditation of voters.
“Eventually, there was election in only three wards and I won. How another fellow was given the ticket, I don’t know,” he said.
When contacted, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said the APC was aware that party politics was all about conflict and conflict resolution.
He said the party under the current leadership had put in place an effective conflict resolution mechanism to deal with them as they arose.
In an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja on Sunday, Issa-Onilu said, “In the APC, we know at every point in time that conflict is a necessary part of politics and politics itself must be capable of resolving such conflict; that is why the issue of adopting the rule of law, avoiding impunity, ensuring fairness and justice so that everybody will understand what the rule of the game is.
“In one or two instances, where we need to accommodate interests, we will do. At no point will that mean compromising the interest of the political party and in the long run the best interest of the country.”
He further explained that the party was still in its evolutionary stage and that it was not out of place for those who did not share the progressive ideology to exit when their immediate expectations were not met.
He said, “You also know that that the APC is also at its evolutionary period trying to transit from the merger to a position where it can sit down very well and pursue its ideology-the progressive ideology.
“We have a world view that we share as a progressive party some people may not just find that comfortable at all, they may not so, necessarily stay long in a party where the world view is completely at variance with what their own world view is all about.”
Issa-Onilu however said the party under the leadership of Adams Oshiomhole was doing all within its power to accommodate party members who share the progressive ideology which entails a lot of sacrifice for the greater good.
Pro-Buhari senators hail Oshiomhole’s leadership
In a related development, APC senators under the aegis of the Parliamentary Support Group for President Muhammadu Buhari expressed satisfaction with the Oshiomhole’s handling of the conflict which arose from the primaries.
Senators Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta-Central); and Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara-Central) in separate interviews in Abuja, on Sunday said the party chairman and his team fulfilled their promise of protecting the interest of loyal party members in the National Assembly.
Omo-Agege said, “All I know is that the National Chairman has tried his best to carry out the instruction of the Presidency to the effect that all senators who are loyal and have continued to be loyal to Mr President who want to return to the National Assembly be assisted in their efforts to return to the National Assembly. And I know that the national chairman has tried his best to see that, that is the case.”
Speaking in a similar vein, Marafa said, “I am fully satisfied with the way the national leadership of the APC handled the issue of primaries in Zamfara. But what I am not satisfied with is the assertion that there was consensus when the primaries failed. That is what I don’t agree with because there was no consensus. There were no primaries and there was no consensus.
“What I demanded from the party was fairness and a level playing field, and the party has provided me with one and I am satisfied with the way they handled it.”