•Ondo gov accused of leading anti-Oshiomhole protests
•Female aspirants say APC has scammed them
•Governors meeting on hold over leak
By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA — With protesters, yesterday, laying siege to the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in support and denunciation of the party’s recent primaries, Governors Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), yesterday, denounced new narratives allegedly spun to pitch them against President Muhammadu Buhari.
The demonstrations took a different dimension when scores of female APC aspirants stormed the party’s national secretariat and accused the national leadership of the party of scamming them during the recently concluded primaries.
The female protesters who threatened to go against the ruling party if concrete steps were not taken to reverse their situation, said even after being made to cough out millions for the purchase of forms, they were schemed out of participating in the primaries.
However, a little respite came the way of the embattled National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as he, yesterday, received support from other party activists who stormed the secretariat to pledge support for him. The demonstrators representing several groups under the aegis of the Federation of Buhari Support Groups picked out Governor Akeredolu of Ondo State of being behind the demonstrations against Oshiomhole.
That assertion was immediately dismissed by the Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, who described the claim as fallacious and against the grain of the governor’s support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term.
Meanwhile the reported meeting of APC governors scheduled to hold in Abuja for the purpose of mobilising signatures to force a National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting failed to hold yesterday. Sources said that the aggrieved governors might have decided to be more subtle in their plans against the national chairman in the face of the apparent body movement of the president who is yet to give a definite signal for his dismissal.
Why women are protesting
Speaking with journalists during the protest of female aspirants, one of the aspirants from Imo State, Milicent Duru, said despite paying a huge amount of money for nomination and expression of interest forms, the ruling APC marginalised them at the primaries nationwide.
Duru said: “We, women have been marginalised for a very long time, and it has to stop because we still need to be included in the 2019 general elections. We were promised 35% affirmative action for women. In August, the President of Nigeria came for a summit organised by Women in Politics, the president spoke that women were going to be included, his wife the First Lady also spoke that women would be included and even the National Chairman of the APC promised us that this time around, we must get our 35% affirmative. So far, what we have in the APC now is about 0.5% from statistics.
“So, to us, it is a scam, and it is not as if we do not have the capacity or we did not buy nomination forms; we bought the forms, we paid half of the money compared to other parties, which did not charge women for anything. So, we paid good money but to our surprise……we are wondering why we should not be included in the affairs of the country.
“If this continues, it shows we are going to boycott the 2019 elections. That is exactly why we are protesting today.”
When asked about their demands from the leadership of APC, Duru said: “What we are having now in APC is 0.5%. It doesn’t meet up at all. We also have the right to protest; we bought the forms, we should be included. We shouldn’t be treated like people who do not have a right in this country; we have every right to do anything we need to do so we should be respected.”
Pro-Oshiomhole group attacks govs
Earlier, another group of protesters had stormed the secretariat in solidarity with Comrade Oshiomhole.
The protesters, under the aegis of Federation of Buhari Support Groups, were drawn from various platforms including the Buhari-Osinbajo Movement Group, Forum of Buhari Support Groups, Love to Love Foundation for Buhari 2019, Niger Delta Women for Buhari, the Buhari-Osinbajo Destiny Group, Women for Buhari and Osinbajo and the Farmers Congress for Buhari.
They said Gov. Akeredolu’s alleged desperation to destroy the APC and truncate President Buhari’s re-election bid is waxing stronger by the day, noting that a lot of damage has been done underground by some “conservative governors” to thwart the bright chances of the party in the forthcoming general elections.
Leaders of the federation, Alhaji Ibrahim Sikiru, and Gbenga Bojuwomi said they had in their previous submissions raised the alarm on several occasions that “Gov. Akeredolu of Ondo State is determined to fight three personalities in APC, President Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Oshiomhole.”
In an address jointly signed by the duo and read during the protest, the federation said; “Mr. Governor of Ondo State is not happy with all the strategies by APC NWC to reunite the party with a view to bringing democracy to the door-steps of party members by the introduction and adoption of direct primaries for all elections.”
Akeredolu moving round, collecting signatures
“As it is in Ondo State, President Muhammadu Buhari cannot get 10% votes in the 2019 general elections due to the de-marketing policies of Gov. Akeredolu. Instead of this accidental governor to focus on projects that will better the lots of good people of Ondo State, he is busy running from North to South collecting signatures of governors and party chairmen of various states to pass a vote of no confidence on Adams Oshiomhole. More so, Governor Akeredolu is not contesting in any election this time around. It clearly shows that Gov. Akeredolu does not care about the success or victory of APC in all elections in 2019.
“It was revealed that Gov. Akeredolu is the leader of the new conservative movement within the APC coupled with the assistance of Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Gov. Bindow of Adamawa State.
“It is evident that Gov. Akeredolu is purely a mole in APC, it would be recalled that he worked alongside with Gov Fayemi and Gov Amosun against the party’s choice in Osun election. Right now, he has instructed all his loyalists and cabinet members in Ondo State to work against all party candidates in Ondo during the general elections.
“We believe in the leadership of the party ably led by Adams Oshiomhole and his determination to reposition the party for a landslide victory in the forthcoming elections. Our party is greater than any individual or group, so let us come together and face our common goal of remaining the most efficient and trusted party in our clime”, they counselled.
Reacting yesterday, Akeredolu speaking thorugh Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, the Ondo State Commissioner for information said: “We are talking about election and election is something that is measurable, and if you are talking about president winning, it is what happens on the ground that will go a long way to show where we stand.
“At the end of the day election is in February, and at the end of the day we will know who is supporting Buhari or not
“Anybody can make any claim but the election is what is done on the ground, and it is not something abstract, people will go to the field, and a winner will emerge.
“Those who make such frivolous allegations are just afraid of their own shadow.
“My governor is firmly in support of Buhari; our governor is a loyal party man regardless of what some may be saying. In fact, only yesterday he instructed us to go back to our constituencies to go and sell Buhari.”
Dismissing the insinuations of a conspiracy with the conservative class to derail a second term for the president, he said: “If you know his antecedents, he has always been with the progressives, and this is not the time to turn back. We are not focused on what they are doing and the sponsored protests, but focused on what we are doing for our people and our country.”
Amosun dismisses conspiracy tales
Also yesterday, Governor Amosun was dismissive of alleged conspiracy theories linking him with murmurs against President Buhari.
In a strongly worded statement titled “My Relationship With Mr. President Remains Strong” the Ogun State governor said that his relationship with President Buhari remains strong and unimpeachable in spite of what he described as the desperation of political opponents to orchestrate a disaffection between them through propaganda.
The governor vehemently denied allegations against Buhari attributed to his person, describing them as lies from the pit of hell.
Amosun said: “The ultimate aim of the purveyors of these unconscionable falsehoods is to drive a wedge between me and the President and tarnish my hard-earned reputation. This hatchet job will not work as Mr. President is discerning enough to know the sources of the pack of concocted lies.
“The relationship between President Buhari and myself transcends partisan politics. Senator Amosun holds President Buhari in the highest esteem and nothing will change that.”
Governor Amosun said that the target of the grand campaign of calumny is actually President Muhammadu Buhari.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let me state categorically that the people trying to cause disaffection between those of us loyal and committed to Mr. President and the success of APC, are plotting to strip Mr. President bare, so that their grand design to achieve unfettered domination of the party would be achieved.”