By Simon Ebegbulem
THE Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha yesterday gave reasons why the Federal Government was solidly behind Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the next national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying Oshiomhole was the man the party needed to lead it to victory in the 2019 general elections.
Meanwhile, Chief Clement Ebri, one of the chairmanship aspirants who stepped down for Oshiomhole Thursday, said he did so not out of pressure but due to his sincere belief that Oshiomhole was capable of doing the job.
Mustapha, who pointed out that Oshiomhole became the chosen one due to his track record, said “his skills and experience as a former labour leader and former governor of a tough state, Oshiomhole was well positioned to provide the leadership that APC requires at the moment. I believe he has got all it takes to lead our party in the future. So I have come to encourage him because I believe we need somebody like him at the moment to give the purposeful leadership that we require,” Mustapha said.
He explained that out the nature of the electioneering for 2019 will be slightly different from that of 2015 as APC will be showing its scorecards to the electorate as against making promises that was the case in 2015.
“I believe Comrade (Oshiomhole) has got the tenacity, the intellectual ability and the organisational skills having been a labour leader and served as a governor for eight years in a very difficult state like Edo. He will be able to take us and usher us to a brighter 2019,” the SGF added.
He dismissed insinuations that there was a special list of anointed candidates for the Convention. “We are a democratic party. Nobody is going to be gagged. Nobody is going to be stopped from contesting any office. But you know as part of the election processes, there are negotiations and there are agreements and there are consensus building mechanisms that have been put in place. The beauty about the APC is that we came from different legacy parties but we deployed all the available skills and resources that we had to craft our constitution to also craft the manifesto and even the election manifesto.
“Comrade (Oshiomhole) was a very fundamental part of it. So he understands the working of the party because he participated in the crafting of these instruments that we are using. The truth about it is that in every party and in every system, the supremacy of the party is always non-negotiable because that is the platform that produces everybody.
“It means that the platform should not only be used for the purposes of election but for the purposes of the evolution of policies of government and programmes of government. That is the direction we are going to. And I can assure you that with Comrade at the summit of our leadership, bringing his skills from organising labour and organising a state government will be able to put us on a pedestal that our party will cease to be just ordinary platform for the purposes of election but also as a platform for the evolution of policies and programmes of government.” Ebri on his part, congratulated Oshiomhole for emerging as chairman unopposed, asserting “Your firmness, your experience in labour and as Governor of Edo State for eight years definitely put you in a position where you can aspire to an office of this nature and at the end of day be trusted sufficiently to the point of not even going to voting.
“If you were just any other person, probably you would not have got to that level. But because you have already proved it in other spheres of endeavour it had to end at this point. I have no regrets whatsoever. And all I can tell you is that you have my full support.
“And I have always believed that when we are doing things like this we must do it with all fairness. I became a victim of a lot of injustice in this party and so many others. And these are the things we want corrected. In the course of correcting these things, I also think that we should also allow people’s voice to count.
“There are so many organs in this party in which people were not allowed to express themselves. There were so many areas where people ran a one-man show in the states and they did not allow full participation. There are several organs of the party. In fact at the last count about 30 of them and 90 percent of them were not functional. These are some of the areas I want you to address.
“In Cross River in particular, if you look at the injustice that is there, I think you will be disappointed that a thing like that could be happening when people like us are there. And people look at us in the face and say to hell. Then it means there is a problem in this country. I think that we have to respect people and there must be discipline also in this party. That is why I was even happy when you talked about making sure that the law takes its course.
“I believe also in party supremacy. But the party supremacy I believe in is one where the party itself does not breach the constitution. This is because if you breach it, if you are going to equity, of course, you must go with clean hands. If your hands are not clean and you do the wrong things and expect someone to obey, then it won’t happen. That is what I think we should be able to do.
“I can assure you that with the energy in you; with the zeal, the determination, combined with the support of all of us we will be able to ignite a landslide victory for Mr. President Come 2019 election.