By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA — National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has said the three governors opposed to his conduct of party primaries in their states were behaving like drug addicts suffering from ‘withdrawal symptoms.’
Chief of Staff to Imo State governor, Uche Nwosu, swiftly described the national chairman as a double-faced progressive who was merely thriving in ignorance.
Similarly, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State said Oshiomhole was foisting a broad-day electoral heist on the country.
Vanguard recalls that Oshiomhole has for days, been having a running battle with governors Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State; Rochas Okorocha of Imo and Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, over the position of the national chairman on the outcome of the APC primaries in their respective states.
Speaking with journalists, weekend in Abuja, Oshiomhole said the action of the governors was akin to drug addicts suddenly jolted by the new reality of a lack of access to drugs and who now suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
He said: “At the heart of this challenge is the trauma of going through change. If you know of any addict, such as those who are addicted to alcohol or to drugs, there is what we call ‘withdrawal symptom’ when they cannot see it (drugs) and you try to stop them from that habit they have been addicted to.
“Now, Nigerians are worried that we can have a democracy in which only a few kingpins dominate the polity and that party membership does not carry any weight. It is the so-called godfathers that anoint. You hear of the anointed.
“You hear of godfather imposition. Now, my task as national chairman is to strenuously work to steer everything away from this heinous past which the PDP created, so it can be membership driven.
“Those who have survived so far, courtesy of this kind of impunity, imposition, creating dynasties from their own privileged position to accept the logic of participatory democracy, or bottom-up approach, because nothing explains the frustration of these people, very few people, by the fact that they cannot understand how in a primary, whether direct or indirect, that the vote of a governor is only one and the vote of a sweeper in the governor’s office or alakara (bean cake seller) who is a member of the APC, is also one.
‘’They cannot reconcile themselves with this reality. So, if you have 200 alakara, 300 sweepers voting for a candidate and you have one governor, two commissioners, five special advisers voting for another, the logic of our own preferred democracy is that this army of sweepers will defeat these powerful governors.
‘’So, they are not able to accept this ultimate logic of people-driven, people-based democracy and what I have simply done is to insist that having cautiously chosen change as our slogan, that change must begin with us.
‘’It must be reflected in what we do, how we do it and we should learn however frustrating, to reconcile ourselves with the reality that we are in a democracy.’’
‘Okorocha should provide addresses of 5 million members we’ve lost’
“I watched my dear friend, Governor Rochas (Okorocha) saying five million members have left. I didn’t know he was such a wonderful statistician. Now, the entire membership of the party in Imo State, as far as I know, are under a million, to put it generously.
‘’Where the challenge is coming from is because we have not been able to help him build his political dynasty. It will be nice for him to give further details on the origin, the location of those people who have left.
‘’You could see someone on one hand wanting to run down his party and on the other hand, claiming he is loyal to the party. But the truth is that Nigerians have become more and more sophisticated,” Oshiomhole said.
Okorocha speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said he would not react immediately.
Amosun challenges Oshiomhole
However, Amosun reacting through his media aide, Opeyemi Soyombo, challenged Oshiomhole to name the venue of the primary where Dapo Abiodun emerged as the candidate.
He further accused Oshiomhole of trying to foist an electoral heist on the country as he accused the chairman of trying to abort a pregnancy that had already produced a baby.
He said: “Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s uncouth outburst is diversionary. The aim is to obfuscate or sink the truth regarding the Ogun APC governorship primary. But truth, like a cork, will always stay afloat in spite of pressure to sink it.
“The Ogun APC officials have been consistent on the facts of this matter. There was only one governorship primary sanctioned by the Muhammad Indabawa-led NWC panel sent from Abuja at the meeting with the six governorship aspirants in Abeokuta on Monday, October 1, 2018.
‘’That election, which held on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, produced Hon Adekunle Akinlade as the winner. Whatever happened later, including the drama by the panel to announce a different result in distant Lagos, is a state-of-nature politics, an assault on our hard-earned democracy and a throwback to the backwoods of civilisation.
“There was no election that produced Prince Dapo Abiodun, the winner of Ogun APC gubernatorial contest. The authentic election, conducted on October 2, 2018, was witnessed by INEC and law enforcement agents and was widely reported in the media. Hon Akinlade defeated all other aspirants, including Dapo Abiodun.
“What Oshiomhole is doing now is akin to taking measures to abort a pregnancy that has already produced a bouncing baby, which is a futile exercise.
“Oshiomhole is foisting a broad-day electoral heist on this country. Injustice somewhere is injustice everywhere because of our shared humanity. He is abusing the powers granted to the chairman of the party to submit the list of party candidates to INEC.”
Oshiomhole, a disappointment — Nwosu
However, speaking with journalists at Imo Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, Nwosu described Oshiomhole as a disappointment, saying the ruling party now suffers from lack of internal democracy.
“We all know that the primary election was conducted. The first one was conducted by one Alhaji Gulak. Gulak came with his team and the primary was meant to be conducted and Gulak early in the morning, on October 2, disappeared with the result sheet and came to Abuja and declared a fake result.
‘’Eight of the 12-man committee, stayed back, conducted the primaries, declared me winner and forwarded my name to the national headquarters. But to our greatest surprise, the national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, cancelled the election and even called the two results fake and told us that he was going to set up another committee of credible men and women to conduct the second primaries.
“He set up the committee, led by retired General Agbabiaka; they came to Owerri, conducted another primary, I won. The committee sent their report to the National Working Committee, which approved the result of that committee.
‘’It also wrote a letter through the state chairman of our party acknowledging that I am the candidate of the party and even directed the state chairman to issue me the forms of INEC, the CF001, which I filled and submitted.
‘’But to my greatest surprise yesterday, I saw the same chairman of our party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, saying the Gulak committee he disbanded and formed a new committee on the grounds that it was fake, the same chairman came on air yesterday and said he is accepting that result which he called fake.
‘’The committee that conducted the second primaries, which produced me as APC candidate, also conducted the primaries that produced senators, federal House of Representatives, House of Assembly members. The same chairman upheld that of the senators, federal House of Reps members, and their names were sent to INEC.
“He is now saying that he has discarded the second committee report. From all I heard from the national chairman, I have respect for him as our national chairman. I knew Comrade Adams Oshiomhole right from when I was in school as Director, Transport, Students Union Government.
‘’I worked with him as a union leader in school through Philip Shuaibu. I remember several times we were on the streets in support of his actions as NLC president. I see him as my role model. But what I see now is a disappointment.
‘’There is no internal democracy. I have never seen where you conduct elections and somebody won and from nowhere you bring another person as the candidate of the party, it is unacceptable.
“I envisaged this and went to the party national secretariat. I wrote the first letter, the second and third letters, telling our chairman that something was about to happen and he should come to my aid but no aid was given by the national chairman.
‘’I went to court, I got a court order restraining the party from submitting any name that is not my name, restraining the party from accepting any name that is not my name.
“I got the second order from Owerri High Court restraining the NWC from submitting any name from the purported result that Gulak was parading but even with this, the national chairman told us that he will go ahead and submit the name of Hope Uzodinma. It is unacceptable, what we saw is not democracy.
“Our chairman that we respect very well, what he did is not internal democracy. I won that election. I remain the candidate of APC and nobody can take it away from me. It might take a while but let me state it clearly, I am the candidate of APC and by the special grace of God come 2019, I have no doubt that I will be the governor of Imo State.
“The existing court order has not expired. There is a court order from Justice Ashi restraining the party from submitting the name of Hope Uzodinma, restraining them from accepting the result from Gulak.
‘’Nobody has vacated that court order and if the chairman says it has expired, he should show us a paper from the court that the order has been vacated.”