..Shuaibu returns to NEC, says Obaseki remains APC’s best option in Edo
By Clifford Ndujihe & Omeiza Ajayi
SINCE June 23, 2018 when he became the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Tuesday, March 17, 2020 was a day that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole will not forget in a hurry.
It was a day that his traducers would have removed him as chairman of the ruling party via a National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting that he would not attend on account of his suspension as APC chairman by a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Federal High Court.
However, a day to the controversial NEC meeting called by the Acting National Secretary, Chief Victor Giadom, who laid claim to the mantle of acting chairman, Oshiomhole was handed a lifeline by two events.
First, President Muhammadu Buhari, on the advice of bickering APC governors postponed the NEC meeting indefinitely. And secondly, the Court of Appeal ordered stay of execution of Oshiomhole’s suspension.
Thus, on the day he was to have been sacked, Oshiomhole returned to the saddle and superintended a National Working Committee, NWC, meeting where he acknowledged his mistakes, sued for peace and extended the olive branch to aggrieved leaders of the party, who were after his political jugular.
Vanguard gathered, yesterday, that the reprieve did not come to Oshiomhole on a platter. It came after intense horse-trading by major stakeholders moderated by the Presidency.
To retain his seat, Oshiomhole, Vanguard gathered, was handed some conditions to meet. His traducers were also handed conditions to fulfil in the overall interest of the party.
An inside source, who was privy to the high-wire deals told Vanguard: ‘’You can see that at the NWC meeting, Oshiomhole toned down his combative posture and made conciliatory moves. That was one of the things he was asked to do. He was asked to hands-off Edo, stop harassing northern leaders, and stop his high-handedness. The presidency gave him tasks.’’
Asked if the anti-Oshiomhole forces are ready to sheathe their sword against Oshiomhole as agreed, the source said: ‘’The presidency gave him tasks. We are going along the line of what the presidency directed. No one likes wahala (trouble).’’
Asked if they would withdraw the avalanche of litigations as Oshiomhole told journalists they had agreed after the NWC meeting on Tuesday, the source added: ‘’The direction of the presidency is where we are going. We will withdraw the cases in court.’’
Out of court settlement
Speaking with journalists after the NWC meeting Oshiomhole stated that the NWC had resolved to withdraw all cases from the courts.
“We have also resolved that we are going to withdraw all cases in court that any member of the NWC is involved in so that we must lead by example and we have shown that we are capable of managing ourselves and therefore we do not need the court to help us resolve what we are capable of resolving.”
Lifting of suspensions
Oshiomhole also announced that the NWC has lifted the suspension it slammed on some of its members.
“People had issues which they felt strongly about, and as a result, the NWC took some decisions which affected my friend and brother, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, Deputy National Chairman, North. The NWC had a reason for suspending him as at then. Today, we have reviewed the situation and we believe that in the spirit of our renewed commitment to building unity and true reconciliation, we as leaders of the party elected at the convention should live by example. And that means for those we think have offended the system, we have chosen to lift their suspensions. Sen. Lawal Shuaibu can resume his duties as Deputy National Chairman, North.
“We also reviewed the matter of Inuwa Abdulkadir, National Vice Chairman Northwest. By the same spirit, the NWC was unanimous in lifting the suspension and he resumes work with immediate effect. So, with these two decisions, the two members of the NWC who were suspended, their suspensions have now been lifted”, he said.
Pleads for forgiveness
“I have asked everyone and they have accepted, whatever they considered to be my own shortcomings, I have asked for forgiveness and they have forgiven and whatever I considered to be anyone’s shortcoming that irritated me, I have also forgiven. This is the way it should be. It can only be abnormal if people know how to fight and they do not know how to settle”, he added.
Shuaibu returns to NEC, says Obaseki remains APC’s best option in Edo
As part of the peace deal, APC Deputy National Chairman, North, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, yesterday, returned to the party after the NWC lifted his suspension.
Addressing journalists at the national secretariat, Shuaibu who arrived at about 3:20pm said for the party to make a headway in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State, the incumbent governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki remained its best bet.
Asked whether the altercation between the governor and Comrade Oshiomhole was a time bomb waiting to explode during the elections, Shuaibu said: “It is not a time bomb. We all heard President Buhari during the last NEC meeting announce that any governor who has performed, deserves a second term. There is no time bomb because why should you prefer any other person than the sitting governor? It is like that all over the world even in America where we copied this democracy. Donald Trump has no opposition and nobody is contesting against him. It does not make sense to bring another person to contest against the governor. Governor Obaseki is the strongest candidate of the APC we have in Edo State.”
The former senator also explained his reason for staying away from party activities, claiming: “Nobody suspended me, it was just a fight that I wanted to avoid. I don’t want to continue the fight and that was why I kept quiet. All I wanted to do was to raise my hand before the market burns because by the time the market goes aflame everybody may be consumed.
“All I have said in that letter have all come to pass. It is wrong to say that the war is over because to me, there was no war in the first place. My letter to Oshiomhole was very personal to either save the party or allow it to collapse.
“The structures of the party as a result of the inability of the leadership to reposition the party have become very weak. From wards to the national centre, the structures have become weak and that was what I was trying to avoid.
“I told him to come back to the track and if he cannot do it, let him leave because some of us have suffered to build this party. However, as he said, in the spirit of reconciliation, all these are now bygone because there is nothing anybody can do when he said he has extended the Olive branch.
“Oshiomhole is my very good friend and we have been very close friends but when something goes wrong, I cannot sit down when the house is collapsing on our heads without telling the world what is happening”.
On the way forward for the party, he said: “There are ways of doing it. We are not new comers in this game, we know how to revamp the party but it only depends on whether they can listen to us. I am not the chairman, he is, if we advise and he does not take our advice, what do we do?”
He also spoke on the ability of the Chief Bisi Akande led National Reconciliation Committee to settle the disputes in the party, saying; “Let me tell you something. The pertinent question is who do you reconcile? You told me to come and buy expression of interest form for N2.5 million or so. I bought the form but when it comes to the contest, you will say no that only this person will get the ticket but you didn’t refund my money. How do you reconcile that? We have to create an avenue for a new beginning and move forward because human beings easily forget. Because of the love they have for this party, they will want to open a new beginning.”
It is to be seen if the party leaders will withdraw the litany of suits burdening the party. Court of Appeal will hear Oshiomhole’s appeal against his suspension tomorrow. The case at Abuja High Court making Giadom acting chairman will come up on Friday. The substantive suit suspending Oshiomhole by six plaintiffs from his home state, Edo that he was previously suspended as a member of the party from his Etsako ward 10 and as such should not function as APC chairman, will continue on April 7.