By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA— The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has accused some unnamed elements in the party of frustrating his plans to reposition it, alleging a gang-up on their part with the ultimate aim of passing a no-confidence vote on him.
Oshiomhole made the allegation, yesterday, in Abuja in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Simon Ebegbulem.
Oshiomhole assured that the party under him was in safe hands as it marches, sure-footed, to victory in the 2019 general election.
The statement was against the background of recent mutterings among party leaders which at one time saw state party chairmen from several states mobilising to pass a vote of no-confidence on the party chairman.
Besides the state chairmen and state governors, who also had issues to square up with Oshiomhole, Vanguard learned of mutterings from within the Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee, NWC, with members accusing the national chairman of treating them as errand boys and summoning them to statutory meetings of the party in his private office.
Comrade Oshiomhole’s retort yesterday was upon claims by one of the party’s presidential aspirants, Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, who had in an interview with Saturday Vanguard, affirmed that the party would find it difficult to win the forthcoming general election with Oshiomhole as national chairman.
“I am worried if the party can still win in the midst of the problems we have under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. He has to resign for the party to clinch victory in the forthcoming election,” the Delta State-born Alhaji Unagha who had sought the presidential ticket of the party, had said in the interview.
Responding yesterday, Oshiomhole 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.
Plot to sack Oshiomhole
“These influential stakeholders, according to grapevine, have begun to mobilise to pass a no-confidence vote on the leadership of Oshiomhole, having failed to impose their preferred candidates on the party in the nomination process.
“Comrade Oshiomhole did not become 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.
“Rather, his single-minded goal, from the outset of his declaration of interest in the position, was to deploy his capacity in helping to strengthen and reposition the party as a truly supreme and disciplined political entity.
“Although, it might appear fortuitous to some persons that he became national chairman at the threshold of the 2019 general election; the truth is that there is no accident in predestination.
“We must appreciate the fact that it has pleased the Almighty God to place him in the saddle of APC leadership at this time for a purpose.
“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.
“From the outset, we never expected that those who cherished and supported the status quo, which Comrade Oshiomhole supplanted, would cave in easily under the magnitude of the current political revival that he spearheads.
Efforts to rebrand APC
“Indeed, while the progressives are enamoured of change, the conservatives find it difficult to embrace it. That is the current reality in the deliberate effort to rebrand the APC.
“Again, we were not, in the least, deluded that the process of rebranding or rewriting the narrative of the four-year-old party would be easy. What we are witnessing in the APC today is Comrade Oshiomhole’s adroit management of the strains and pains that accompany the birth of a resuscitated governing party.
“The leadership provided in the recently-held primary elections, and the large-scale integrity of the processes are developments that should hence serve as exemplars in the administration of governing parties.
“Indeed, the message therein is very clear that the party, and not pseudo political empires in the states, has the power to superintend the primary elections for the nomination of the party’s candidates in the general election.
“While the party will not surrender its functions, which are constitutionally circumscribed, to any other entities, it will always be ready to moderate the divergent tendencies and mediate the disparate political camps in the interest of party cohesion.
“This is one of the hardnosed truths that the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC preaches and practises with an apostolic zeal to the chagrin of some influential stakeholders in the states.
“Comrade Oshiomhole envisions an APC that is capacitated to pragmatically build a corpus of leadership and membership that do not only submit to the high ideal of party supremacy but also the credo of party discipline.
“These-party supremacy and discipline- are two fundamentals that had been eroded even before the emergence of the Oshiomhole leadership. It is sad that while the national chairman is working round the clock, some stakeholders have thrown selfish political agenda into the mix to threaten the building of institutional capacity for the APC.
“Rather than resort to needless perfidy at the threshold of a general election, 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 Oshiomhole’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.
“Overall, Comrade Oshiomhole has not, since stepping in the saddle, taken any unilateral decision in the running of the party affairs. All decisions, so far taken, passed through the mills of NWC deliberative sessions and enjoyed unanimous resolutions. The records are there. History will justify Comrade Oshiomhole and posterity will vindicate him.
“Therefore, with eyes firmly fixed on the general election, especially the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the scheduled February 16 poll, Comrade Oshiomhole assures all stakeholders in the APC of his respect for them. He assures them of his readiness to work with them for the good of the party.
“The comrade chairman also proposes a common front in the general election and believes that the APC, as a governing party, will do a commemorative post-mortem next year to appraise and reappraise the political developments and decisions that presaged the election, which it would win emphatically.”
Cracks in NWC
The assertions nonetheless, Vanguard checks have revealed a major crack within the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party.
It was gathered that the cracks began when Oshiomhole tried to force the mode of primaries on the NWC.
The most virulent opposition came from the North East Zonal Vice Chairman, Comrade Mustapha Salihu, who was said to have asked Oshiomhole not to interfere in the affairs of the party in the latter’s home state, Adamawa.
Things, however, got worse following what an insider described as attempts to run down the Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, who also chairs the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.
The party chairman had accused the governor of using state agents to rig the botched primaries in the state. Oshiomhole thereafter dissolved the executives of the party in the state down to the local government level.
“This was what infuriated the Deputy National Chairman, North, Senator Lawali Shaibu who was obviously not carried along in taking such a major decision. Of course, he protested to the point of even denouncing the dissolution of the executives”, a party insider said last night.
NWC members not students
According to him, the only way there will be harmony in the NWC is for Oshiomhole to stop treating members as if they were his students.
“We have our national secretariat, but he drags us to his private office for most of our meetings. We initially thought it was something that would be once in a while, but it has now become the pattern.
“When you have a dissenting opinion on an issue, you are viewed as an enemy. We all represent different flanks within the party, and we cannot forget our constituents in a hurry, but when you talk, they say you want to make trouble”, he added.
Another member of the House, E.J Agbonayinma, representing Egor/Ikpoba-Okha Federal Constituency of Edo State said: “Well, those who are making those derogatory statements are out to witch-hunt or blackmail Oshomohole, and, of course, you don’t expect anything good from the PDP because they are worried.
“Oshiomhole has taken the mantle not just as the national chairman of our great party; he is also going to lead us to victory, come 2019. Since he came in, you can see he has won the elections that have been conducted so far.”
‘’How can you now be saying that PDP will take over? I don’t believe that Nigerians are sleeping. They know better. It is only PDP that has a short memory. They have forgotten how they plundered Nigerian resources and of a sudden, they are talking about getting power back. How can they win?”