By Olayinka Ajayi
The recent exit of political protégées of Governors Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun brought to a climax the upheaval that arose from the quest by the new leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC to enthrone internal party democracy in the ruling party.
Okorocha had vowed that Uche Nwosu, his son-in-law and until not too long ago, his chief of staff would be his successor on the platform of the APC. His vow, however, came to a bruising end last Tuesday when it emerged that he had ditched the party for Action Alliance, AA, a party founded by Okorocha about 15 years ago for his own presidential aspiration.
The apparent humiliation of the Imo State governor was an exception in a political terrain that had nurtured governors to become semi-gods. In the majority of cases, outgoing governors like Okorocha and Amosun almost on their own chose their successors, albeit with some measure of political levelheadedness. The apparent failure of Okorocha to have his way, however, has been traced to what political stakeholders claim as taking his swagger to the extreme.
The developments in Imo and Ogun States have been traced to the change of orientation and enthronement of internal party democracy in the party.
The development alongside some other measures taken by the Adams Oshiomhole led national executive of the party are believed to have inspired the threats that were conceived against it.
Abuja based political analyst and publisher, Sufuyan Ojeifo observed that right from the outset of his interest in the chairmanship of the APC, Oshiomhole knew that his programmes of reform, which formed the major plank of his electioneering promises, would not only ruffle the feathers of some influential stakeholders but also break their backs.
“Some governors unsuccessfully mobilised for a no-confidence vote in Oshiomole. They also influenced the invitation by the Department of State Services (DSS) over the conduct of the governorship primary elections in some States. When the first two gambits failed, they resorted to the third option, which is to consistently make bribery allegations through some proxies,” he noted.
Dr. AbdulAzeez Olatunde, the spokesman of the party in Oyo State spoke in the same vein that the national chairman had helped through his efforts to stop the reign of impunity in the party.
“Don’t forget that we are in the thick of intense politicking where all manners of decorated lies are being thrown at the national chairman because of his intimidating character as a former labour leader with lots of accomplishments.”
“The APC is unshakable. We are marching Nigeria away from the era of impunity,” he added.
Ojeifo asserts that Oshiomole has been uncompromising to the chagrin of his traducers who are doing a great job, stoking the fire of the war of allegations of bribe-taking.
“They have resorted to media propaganda, using their hirelings to disseminate the phantom amounts in millions of dollars that Oshiomhole allegedly received and added that their odious strategy is simple: “continue to assail the sensibilities of Nigerians with the lies so that, with time, they could pass off as truth.”
Several persons who spoke on this subject in Abuja said that Oshiomole’s staunch desire to stamp discipline in the APC should not be neglected arguing that the political class must learn to starve their selfish desires in the country while working on serving the collective good.
Meanwhile, Oshiomhole has also gotten significant encouragement from some party leaders including the National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu.
Speaking in an interview through his Media Adviser, Mr. Tunde Rahman, he stated that allegations such as the one against the APC chairman were bound untenable given that they came from those who lost out in the recent party primaries.
While Tinubu is backing Oshiomhole, there are many others including Osita Okechukwu, the director general of the Voice of Nigeria, VON who have taken up arms against Oshiomhole. In Delta State, there have also been allegations of unfair dealing by the party leadership in the conduct of the party’s internal primaries for all positions.
For Rotimi Fasan, a political columnist, things were always bound to end like this. He said that there are too many contending interests in the APC and there was no way any party chairman could satisfy one interest group without offending another.
“It was in a bid to satisfy one group at the expense of another that the former chair of the APC, John Odigie Oyegun, was made to bite the dust and pave way for Oshiomole. If Oshiomole would retain his position, it would not only be with the support of those who have him in their good book but how much stronger that support is than that of the governors’ group,’ Fasan observed.
He added that “In a sense, therefore, the battle between Oshiomole and the governors is a proxy war between Bola Tinubu and the governors opposed to his position in the APC. Oyegun lost his position mainly because he lost Tinubu’s trust. Oshiomole restored that trust but has in the process displeased others.”