..says he won’t deal with political mercenaries in APC
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – NATIONAL Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC,Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Monday threatened to suspend the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, from the APC, if he fails to surrender to orders of the party.
The APC National Chairman also said if the Minister was expelled from the party, he will press it on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack him from the cabinet.
Recall that Comrade Oshiomhole had recently directed Ngige to inaugurate governing councils of boards in the ministry but Ngige explained that three out of the four had been inaugurated and that the delay in the inauguration of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Funds, NSITF governing council was due to the alleged fraud perpetuated by the former board.
Ngige also explained that the Administrative Panel set up by the ministry to look into the finances of the board had recently submitted its report where over N40 billion was said to have been unaccounted for.
Speaking to State House correspondents after meeting with President Buhari and the Chief of Staff to the President at the State House, Comrade Oshiomhole said his leadership as the APC Chairman will not condone any act of indiscipline.
According to him, “If the minister refuses (to inaugurate NSITF governing board) we will suspend him from the party. You know we must return to internal discipline.
“For me it is the height of mischief for any minister, you cannot purport to be honourable minister and you act dishonourably and nobody is greater than the party. And if the President condones disrespect for his office, I will not condone disrespect for the party.
“And when we expel the minister we will prevail on the president that he can’t keep in his cabinet people who have neither respect for his own decisions nor have respect for the party without which they would not have been ministers.
“There are no independent candidate in our system, nobody, I emphasis no minister is above the party and they have taken undue advantage of the president’s fatherly disposition.
“Now, it is the same green pen that made them ministers that appointed these boards that they are refusing to swear in. And it is absolutely illegal for a minister in a democracy to prey the powers of the board because the laws establishing those institutions are clear, that the boards have procedures to follow.
“So, when a minister sits in his office to appropriate the powers of the board in a democracy, not in a dictatorship, award contract that didn’t go through boards, those are clearly abuse of office for which they are liable.
“I am convinced that what they are doing is not with the endorsement of Mr. President. Over the period they have tried to drop the president’s name but I tell them it is the same authority that appoint these people.
“So, we are informing them that it is either they comply to the president’s instructions or they comply with the party’s position or they go and administer outside the government.
“We have respect for ministers but only to the extent that they recognize that they are a product of a political party and we are not negotiating that. If they did that in the past, under our leadership we will not tolerate it.
“They either comply or we will expel them from the party. When we expel them we will find out how a government can keep a rebel in the cabinet. There is no question about that.”
On the allegations that he was losing sleep as a result of the regrouping of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ahead of the 2019 elections, he said he had no cause to lose sleep.
He said, “No, I am not losing sleep. I am sleeping very well. I still maintain that I don’t see any many of honour who with his eyes open left PDP on the account of their gross mismanagement, abuse of the treasury and all of the crime that the PDP committed.
“I don’t see them whatever their irritations, that cannot be a justifications to return a house that all we need to do is to play back their own tape about what PDP represents and why they left.
“I still hold the view that you can’t vomit in the morning and covert it to lunch in the afternoon if you have honour. And that position still remains the same.
“Number two is that yes, I have made this point clear that we can distinguish the mercenaries from those who genuinely have complains. Our business as party leaders is to try and manage, listen and find solutions to those who have verifiable complains.
“But those who are permanent mercenaries and are in this business for personal issues, there is not much we can do about that and we are not going to change the core values of the party in order to retain them.
“So, let me reinstate, we remain committed and I have said so from the Word go in my acceptance speech when I was elected, that we knowledge the fact that there are people with genuine complains, for such people we are ready to listen, we are ready to act in the basis of justice, fairness, no arrogance and inclusion. I remain committed to those.
“However, on principle I do not deal with political mercenaries, that remains my position. I will not miss my sleep because a lot of these guys cannot on a good day deliver their unit. And we have the records that tells us who won elections where.
“And I am a tested fighter, I fought them from Edo from zero- zero and I overcame their most powerful godfathers. So, I know what I am talking about, I speak from experience and I will talk, negotiate and persuade but there are core principles that are not negotiable.”