Feel free to join PDP, APC scribe tells aggrieved members
.Be humble, ask for secret of my success — Oyegun
.Face your self-inflicted woes, PDP replies APC

By Omeiza Ajayi & Dirisu Yakubu

ABUJA— The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday in Abuja, attacked its former National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, saying his era personified impunity and indiscipline.

Oyegun and Oshiomhole

The party also asked any of its aggrieved members who no longer feel comfortable with its style of operations and political engagements to feel free to exit and join the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Chief Odigie-Oyegun had last week, described National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as lacking the capacity to drive a national party like the APC in the 21st century.

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The APC also formally reacted to issues raised by its Deputy National Chairman, North, Senator Lawali Shuaibu, particularly as they related to the fortunes of the party under Comrade Oshiomhole.

Oyegun lacked discipline,  encouraged  impunity

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, noted in a statement yesterday that the immediate-past NWC, led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, as national chairman, lacked the courage required to confront the pockets of political despots who could not operate by the party’s rules.

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The resultant effect, he said, was widespread indiscipline across party ranks, lack of respect for party supremacy as witnessed in the 8th National Assembly leadership and its overall inability to align the varying interests of the legacy parties that came together to form the APC in 2014.

He said:  “Let me agree that the NWC that led the party into the 2015 elections and continued till June 2018 did nothing different from what you would find in PDP. It was a period the party was seen as a mere vehicle to attain political office.

‘’The system accommodated impunity as certain members appeared to be superior to the party. Their interests were far more important than the collective interests of the APC, even when most times, such interests are at variance with the ideals the party stand for.

“You would recall that it was under that leadership that some impudent members of APC called the bluff of the party by imposing themselves on the National Assembly as leaders, contrary to the position of the party.

‘’Where was the party? Where was the discipline when this happened? It would be difficult to calculate what lack of courage to assert the party supremacy cost APC over that period. The consequences of the inaction of the party were unimaginable.

‘’We all saw the consequences on governance as the National Assembly practically held our government to ransom. The impunity, which President Muhammadu Buhari has rightly described as lack of patriotism, constituted an unfortunate hindrance to the smooth running of government.

“The leadership under Chief Oyegun, with due respect to him, condoned all sorts of acts of indiscipline from certain members. It is not surprising that the current National Working Committee, NWC, inherited such a huge mess, where the party was struggling to differentiate itself from the delinquent PDP.

‘’We all know that PDP was practically dead, following the devastating defeat of 2015. The PDP bounced back not because the party has changed its insidious way or did anything different, but because APC did not live up to expectations.

“It goes without saying that when an organisation is unable to enforce its own rules, it would suffer the consequences sooner than later. We should not be ashamed to say that our party’s leadership under Chief Oyegun lacked the courage required to confront the pockets of political despots who could not operate by the party’s rules.’’

Be humble, ask for the secret of my success — Oyegun

But the former National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, again yesterday, launched another attack on his successor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, accusing him of looking for scapegoats rather than focusing on his personal failings as the current party chair.

“Oshiomhole should not destroy what others had laboured to build. If he needs tutorial on how to run a party, he should ask for it  in a civil manner. John Oyegun will be more than happy to help,” the former chairman said yesterday in a statement issued by his Public Affairs Adviser, Ray Morphy.

Chief Odigie-Oyegun was reacting to an earlier statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu which described the erstwhile chairman’s era as a replica of the indisciplined and iniquitous style of Peoples Democratic Party PDP.

Noting that his principal’s era was the golden era of the APC, Morphy said: “The Oshiomhole executive is about a year in office, why does he find it hard to function without looking for excuses and scape goats?

‘’It is common knowledge that Oshiomhole ran the most questionable primaries in the history of politics in Nigeria. Recall that INEC said so when it adjudged Oshiomhole primaries as the worst so far.

‘’The courts are saying the same thing today by upturning many APC primaries for being undemocratic and less than fair. Was it Oyegun who ran the primaries?”

He described Chief Odigie-Oyegun as “an accomplished technocrat, a super permanent secretary, a former governor, a man without blemish working with others, cobbled together creditably the legacy parties, and held them together with tact, diplomacy and finesse until Oshiomhole came along.  To his credit, Oyegun did not lose one member of the party.”

While he said the former chairman, being an elder, would not join issues with his successor, Morphy said it was absurd for the APC to have lost more states with all the resources at the disposal of Comrade Oshiomhole.

“As an elder, as a leader, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun will not join issues with those who apparently are looking for excuses for their inability to manage a ruling party successfully. Indeed, it is absurd to lose states with all the capacity at the disposal of the current chair.

“Party members know that APC witnessed its golden years under the chairmanship of Oyegun and no one can change that bit of political history.

“By the way, the vote increase to Mr President is a reflection of the confidence the people reposed in the President, despite the fumbles of Oshiomhole’s sole administratorship of the party!

“It will be recalled that Chief John Odigie-Oyegun just received The Zik award for Political Leadership, alongside John Mahama, the former President of Ghana. In the award citation, he was extolled for exemplary political leadership of APC.

‘’Posterity has already given its verdict, Oyegun led the party to resounding victory. Oshiomhole should not destroy what others had laboured to build. If he needs tutorial on how to run a party, he should ask for it in a civil manner.

‘’John Oyegun will be more than happy to help, after all, no man would like to see his son scatter what he had laboured to build,” he added.

Aggrieved members can join PDP

Replying the Deputy National Chairman of the party, North, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, Issa-Onilu said the next three years were very important as the APC under the leadership of Comrade Oshiomhole would continue to strengthen compliance with the rules, build support structures for democracy, ensure discipline across board, and deliver good governance for the benefit of all Nigerians.

“We expect members who have different agenda to join their kind in PDP. We will welcome with open arms those who share our progressive ideals so that by 2022, we will have a party whose members are truly progressives,” he said.

Issa-Onilu noted that in the aftermath of the 2015 general elections, the APC had witnessed disputations among some party leaders on account of post-primary issues and some losses recorded in some states through the ballots or courts.

According to him, if Oyo, Imo, Bauchi, Adamawa, and Zamfara states in the last elections were taken one after the other, it will be discovered that there were peculiar issues in the respective states that accounted for how the APC lost them, rather than the voters preferring the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

“I would put the painful outcomes broadly under two reasons. One is indiscipline on the part of some members of our party in most of the states.

‘’The second reason is that the party leadership did not do much between 2015 and 2018 to move the party from being an amalgam of different political parties to become a truly blended progressive political party,” Issa-Onilu noted.

Shuaibu’s          letter in bad faith

The APC spokesperson said Senator Lawali Shuaibu’s assertions in the letter to the National Chairman portrayed the NWC as a bunch of cowards looking for a scapegoat to pass on the blame, following undesired results in his home state, Zamfara.

He said:  “When he (Senator Lawali Shuaibu) alleged that the National Chairman is running the party like a sole administrator, does that mean the rest of us are incompetent? I doubt if he would have many members of the NWC supporting him on this.

‘’The ability to rise up to challenges and to take responsibility for mistakes are important qualities of a leader. If the NWC had taken any action that did not produce the desired result, it would be plain cowardice to look for a scapegoat or pass on the blame to another person.

“Since the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC came to office, we have been doing our best to institutionalise the best ideals of progressive politics. We understand that we must bring everyone under the fold of the party, where all of us would be subject to our party’s rules and conventions.

‘’We understand that impunity can provide temporary advantage and even successes. But ultimately, those successes would be short-lived. PDP is a living example of the inherent calamity of impunity.

‘’The PDP era brought calamity to the country and ultimately led to the loss of power. What I read from that letter is a call to continue along that trend. With due respect, that is not what APC stands for.’’

Enhanced  fortunes

He said despite some 2019 election losses recorded in some states, the APC has improved significantly on the result of 2015 under the leadership of Oshiomhole, adding that the national chairman could not be blamed for the avoidable losses recorded in some states as some stakeholders failed to follow the party’s directives and ensure internal democracy.

Issa-Onilu said: “Since we are comparing 2015 to what has happened now, we should remember that our President was elected in 2015 with over 15 million votes, against the PDP’s 13 million plus.

‘’There was about 2.5 million votes difference. Under Oshiomhole, we have over 15 million votes against PDP’s 11 million plus. There you have nearly four million votes difference. So for the Presidential election, our party has improved significantly on the result of 2015.

“The situation was, as expected, different at the state level. The state players have the foremost responsibility to win elections in their states. What we can do at the national level is to provide the necessary support.

‘’The support starts from conducting transparent primaries that ensure the party produces popular candidates. Of course, certain state players in our party expected business as usual where other players are subjugated for them so that their wishes are imposed on other APC members in their states.

‘’This we could not do and I don’t think we need to apologise for doing the right thing. By now, the states that failed to follow the party’s directives are the ones that may be regretting.

“We have examples of governors who are true progressives who worked with the NWC to ensure things were done right. Look at Kaduna, Plateau, Niger, Kano, Nasarawa, Katsina, Jigawa, Borno, Yobe, etc.

‘’The governors and leaders of APC in these states worked according to the rules, in conjunction with the NWC and we all can see that the sweetest victory is the one achieved under a free and fair engagement with the opposition.

“This is what our party wants to showcase. This is the example President Buhari has shown by ensuring that we had a presidential election in this country without seeking to award himself any advantage over his opponents.

‘’The President has the instruments to use, but he rather subjected himself to the rules of the contest. If the President did not expect the party to manipulate his own election, why should anyone else expect that from the party?

“These people who are looking for who to blame are not talking about Kwara and Gombe. These were PDP states that we won landslide. We won in these two states because the local players adjusted to the change agenda of the party.

‘’I am from Kwara, we won 100 per cent in such a transparent manner that the PDP had nothing to complain about. Do not forget that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, is from Kwara.

‘’Kwara presented us the evidence that if we shun impunity and play by the rules, Nigerians would reward us with votes. The same is the situation in Gombe. Do these people want to give Oshiomhole credit for our victories in Kwara and Gombe states? Or they just believe APC must win by all means everywhere?”

Face your self-inflicted woes, PDP replies APC

Reacting to APC’s directive to its aggrieved members last night, the PDP counselled the ruling party to deal with its own demons rather than dragging it into its internal affairs.

The PDP said APC, by choosing to fight dirty in the public, “has again demonstrated its insensitivity and contempt towards the values and feelings of Nigerians.

‘’How else can it justify its choice of fouling the national space at a time compatriots are observing the blessings of Eid-el- Fitri?”

The party in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it was most reprehensible that “after pushing Nigerians into anguish and economic misery, the crisis-ridden APC will not allow our people to celebrate the end of Ramadan in peace.”

The statement read: “It is imperative to state that the PDP, as a responsible party, will not join the APC in its shameless dance, yet, the APC must know that it must answer for its failures, depravities and unrestrained mismanagement of our resources in the last four years.

“This is the same APC, whose national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, confirmed as a sanctuary of unpatriotic people when he declared that ‘once you join the APC, your sins are forgiven.’

“It has also become clear to Nigerians that the APC is fixated on the PDP and has become feverish by the reinvention of the PDP to serve the interest of the people. This is in addition to the fact that majority of Nigerians now believe more in our party, the PDP, after seeing through the lies, deceit and failures of the APC and its government.

“The APC must face the truism that having divided our people, wrecked our once robust economy, returned our nation to a debtor status and brought so much misery, to the extent that our compatriots now resort to suicide and slavery mission abroad as options, Nigerians cannot continue to lend it any support.

“The determined optimism expressed by majority of Nigerians for the retrieval of our stolen Presidential mandate at the tribunal as well as the spontaneous jubilation across the country over the victory of the PDP in state governorship elections show that the people are eager to have the PDP back at the saddle of governance.

“This is because while in office, the PDP, as a people-oriented party, remained dedicated to the well being of the people.

“The PDP administration salvaged our nation from a pariah status, paid off our foreign debts, grew the economy to become one of the fastest growing economies on the world map, revolutionized our aviation, telecommunication, automobile, education, agriculture, sports, entertainment, health, housing, railway, power and other critical sectors of our economy for the good of the people.

“The PDP also strengthened our democratic institutions, created anti-graft agencies, equipped our security agencies, engendered equity and social justice, maintained a strict adherence to rule of law, respect for the rights of citizens and provided electoral reforms that guaranteed credible elections in our country.

“Nigerians are saddened that the incompetent, divisive, vindictive and deceitful APC has reversed all the gains achieved by the PDP in a space of four years. If anything, the APC has only succeeded in bringing economic misery, escalated insecurity, piling foreign debts, dilapidated infrastructure and despondency in our country.”

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