•Tackle anti-Oshiomhole colleagues, set to meet Buhari
•Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Yobe govs back Oshiomhole
•Oshiomhole’s adversaries plotting to weaken party ahead 2023 —Eta, Vice-Chair
By Omeiza Ajayi
Three governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, are set to lead the charge against some of their colleagues who have continued to strategize on how to unseat the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
The governors — Babagana Zulum of Borno State, Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, are said to be leading about eight other governors who are displeased with the onslaught against Oshiomhole. Others are the governors of Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun and Yobe states.
Some of the governors who would be meeting soon, are said to have resolved to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari, saying no governor has the monopoly of visiting the Presidential Villa, alluding to the manner their anti-Oshiomhole colleagues have been frolicking the Presidential Villa to get the buy-in of the Presidency in their bid to oust Oshiomhole.
“The pro-Oshiomhole governors have now vowed to halt the anti-Oshiomhole governors in their tracks and have perfected plans to also meet with the President.
“They are saying enough is enough with those governors. They believe that these people want to destabilise the party. They believe it is because they have been quiet, that is why others are going to the Presidential Villa to misinform the President.
“What they are saying is that nobody has a monopoly of going to the Villa,” said a top party official who did not want his identity revealed for fear of a political backlash.
Some governors allegedly led by the chairman of the APC Governors Forum and governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, and Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna have continued to sustain an offensive to get Oshiomhole out of office.
While the battle for the soul of the party ahead of the 2023 elections rages, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Oshiomhole’s home state of Edo and Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State are also fighting the chairman ahead of the party’s governorship primaries in their states which will come up later in the year.
These forces are complemented by the Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum, PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman who has consistently accused the Oshiomhole-led NWC of exhibiting thuggish and dictatorial tendencies.
NWC working against itself
At the level of the National Working Committee, NWC, the National Vice Chairman, North-East, of the party, Comrade Mustapha Salihu, is also leading forces against the national chairman over his support for Arch. Waziri Bulama as acting National Secretary of the party.
Deputy National Secretary of the party, Chief Victor Giadom, who is seen as doing the bidding of anti-Oshiomhole forces, had in a notice Friday night, called for an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee, NEC, without stating whether the NWC met to take that decision. The meeting was slated for March 17. In a counter-reaction, however, the NWC on Saturday distanced itself from Chief Giadom, describing his action as a product of mischief.
The NWC statement disowning Giadom was jointly signed by its National Legal Adviser, Babatunde Ogala; National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu; and new Acting National Secretary, Arc. Waziri Bulama.
However, the anti-Oshiomhole forces are predicating their stand on reports that the national chairman had been suspended from the party by his ward executives.
One Steven Oshawo and others of Ward 10, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo state had on November 2, 2019, announced the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole. Oshawo and others from Oshiomhole’s Ward 10 had consequently gone to a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court asking it to stop Oshiomhole from parading himself as APC national chairman, alleging that he had since been suspended from the APC by members of his ward.
However, on January 29, 2020, the court presided over by Justice S.C.Oriji struck out the matter and awarded N100,000 cost against the plaintiffs.
Before then, on January 23, 2020, a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court in Jabi had refused to grant the ex-parte application filed by National Vice-Chairman, North East of the APC, Comrade Mustapha Salihu; a factional chairman of the APC in Edo State, Anselm Ojezua and others, seeking to remove Comrade Oshiomhole from office.
The court instead ordered that the defendants (Oshiomhiole, APC and others) be put on notice before the motion is heard so as to ensure fair hearing in the matter.
However, on March 4, the FCT High Court presided over by Justice Danlami Senchi upheld the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole by party executives of his Ward 10 in Etsako West Local Council of Edo state.
In another legal twist, a Federal High Court in Kano presided over by Justice A. Lewis Allagoa last Thursday temporarily invalidated the action of the ward executives, asking parties in the suit to maintain the status quo ante bellum until the determination of the substantive suit.
Oshiomhole’s adversaries plotting to weaken APC for 2023 polls — Eta, Vice-Chairman
Meanwhile, National Vice Chairman, South-South of the APC, Hilliard Eta, has defended Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, saying those waging war against him were merely plotting to weaken the party in order to push APC members to another party where they (anti-Oshiomhole forces) can realize their ambition of joining the 2023 presidential race.
The APC Vice-Chairman, who disclosed this while debunking report in a national daily (not Vanguard) that the people of the South-South have abandoned Oshiomhole, asserted that Oshiomhole remained the best for the position. He said Oshiomhole was enjoying the support of the leaders of the zone, contrary to reports in a section of the media.
His words: “I was surprised when I read the report that the South-South has abandoned Oshiomhole. That is completely untrue and being fueled by those plotting evil against the national chairman. I am the national vice chairman of the party in the South-South zone, and I know better.
“The political leader of the zone who is the Deputy Senate President (Ovie Omo-Agege) was not contacted by anyone to know the position of the zone.
“So, I wonder where that newspaper got its information from. As I speak with you, the zone is implicitly behind the National Chairman of our party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. We are fully in support of our chairman and people from outside of our zone will not tell us how we will manage the office that was zoned to our region.
“We believe that the Chairman is doing very well and on account of his performance, the zone stands solidly behind him. We have continuously and persistently said so because nothing has fundamentally changed.”
Attributing APC crisis to 2023 presidential ambition of some governors, Eta continued: “Every politician is propelled by his own interests, some interests are genuine while some are not. Their (anti-Oshiomhole governors’) main reason for the grandstanding within the party is the seeming altercation in Edo State.
But the most fundamental and outstanding reason for their war against Oshiomhole is who becomes the candidate of the party in the 2023 presidency.
“Who will be the Vice-Presidential candidate? That is what they are battling. In fact, some are working with some elements in the PDP to do this due to greed. But we are telling them that these selfish interests have the capacity to implode the party and the truth is that all of us will regret it.
‘’It will not pay anybody. These tendencies, nonchalant attitude of these people fighting, have the capacity to destroy the party and we all will be losers. While looking at their personal interests they should also look at the interests of Nigerians who voted for President Buhari.
“We should be mindful of the consequences of our actions because they are distracting our President who is settling down after he won his second term to provide the dividends of democracy to Nigerians. I happen to know that there is this move by some of these people to weaken the party and get some people out so they can form another political group to challenge the party in 2023. But that can be done without heating up the polity the way they are doing now.
“Those who love this party must call the troublemakers to order; whatever happens to this party between now and 2023 will affect the democratic fabrics of this country. So, we must be mindful not just the corporate health of APC but that of the entire Nigerians.
“We are the governing party, so what we do may have a wider dimension in Nigeria. So, they should leave Oshiomhole alone and pursue their ambition within the constitution of the APC and not through blackmail against the person of the National Chairman. Oshiomhole campaigned vigorously around the country for this party while some of these people were sleeping in their states, and we won more members in the National Assembly and our President was re-elected.
“He went on to ensure that the party produced capable men and women as leaders in the National Assembly, so why will anyone out of jealousy or wickedness call for his removal? Those plotting evil against this party should be careful because we will resist them. And let me warn, nobody has a monopoly of any action. We have been calm but they should not misconstrue it as being foolish.”
South-South APC leaders pass confidence vote on Oshiomhole
Leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in South-South zone, yesterday, passed a vote of confidence on the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and dissociated themselves from the March 17 National Executive Committee, NEC, a meeting called by Deputy National Secretary, Chief Victor Giadom.
‘’In line with the position of the National Working Committee, NWC, at its meeting of 7th March, 2020, the leadership of the South SouthZone completely dissociates itself from the illegal and unlawfully NEC meeting purportedly convened by unauthorized persons.
Accordingly, we strongly advise all NEC members from the zone to ignore same and treat any such purported notice of NEC meeting with the absolute disdain it deserves, the South-South leaders said in a joint statement.
The South leaders who passed confidence vote on Oshiomhole are Hon Ini Okopodo (Akwa Ibom), Hon. Amos Jothan (Bayelsa), Sir John Ochala (Cross River), Prophet Jones Ode Erue (Delta), Colonel David Imuse, retd (Edo), Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (South-South leader), and Ntufam Hilliard Eta (national vice chairman, South-South).
They attributed plots to remove Oshiomhole to ‘’vested 2023 interests’’ to destabilise the national leadership of the APC, saying ‘’the SouthSouth Zone of our party is absolutely pleased with the leadership of our National Chairman, Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole.’’
They said in line with the directive of our National Executive Committee (NEC), the South-South Zonal Executive Committee, zonal leaders and stakeholders met in 2018, and endorsed Oshiomhole as national chairman. And at the 2018 national convention delegates of the party across the country elected Oshiomhole.
Restating their support for Oshiomhole, they said: nWe state on our honour that the South-South Zone will not stand by and watch individuals, vested interests, and mischief-makers treat our duly elected National Chairman Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomholewith disdain and disrespect. Any unprovoked attack on our National Chairman is an insult and an attack on the South-South geo-political zone and is unacceptable.
We reject and dissociate ourselves from the brigandage sponsored by mischief makers who are harbouring sinister intentions and motives to disorganize the very foundation of our Party and weaken its electoral strengths, all to serve their selfish 2023 political ambitions.
The zone strongly advises members of the party from our zone not to make themselves available to be used against the interest of the zone by those who not wishing our zone, Party and Nation well will stop at nothing to inflict irreparable harm on us all to promote their selfish and primitive interests.
However, Deputy National Secretary of the APC, Chief Victor Giadom has defended the notice he sent out on Friday night, convening an emergency meeting of the NE, insisting that Oshiomhole remains suspended.
In a statement Sunday night, Giadom who signed off as the “Acting National Secretary” of the party faulted some of his colleagues on the National Working Committee, NWC, for approving the nomination of Arch. Waziri Bulama as acting National Secretary.
The statement reads: “My attention has been drawn to a Notice with the above caption dated March 7, 2020, and signed by Babatunde Ogala Esq., Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu and one Arc. Waziri Bulama which was aimed at discrediting the position of calling for an emergency National Executive Committee Meeting as Acting National Secretary.
The Notice is not only aimed at creating mischief but it is aimed at misleading the esteemed members of the National Executive Committee and the general public at large.
“For the purpose of clarity and putting the issues in proper perspective, I wish to state that the decision to call for an emergency National Executive Committee Meeting for March 17, 2020, was taken in strict compliance with the Constitution of the Party. It is on record that the erstwhile National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiohmole has been suspended by a Court of Competent Jurisdiction.
The two Deputy National Chairmen are no longer in office. The next most senior party officials should be the Secretary-General of the party. But as we all know, our erstwhile National Secretary in the person of Hon. Buni Mai Mala is now the Executive Governor of Yobe State. Hence, as the Acting National Secretary, I have the Constitutional Power to steer the activities of our great party.
“By Article 14.4 (i) of the Constitution of our great party, the Deputy National Secretary is empowered to act as National Secretary in the absence of the National Secretary and all the actions taken since the emergence of Hon. Buni Mai Mala as Executive Governor of Yobe State are taken in my capacity as the acting National Secretary. Article 14.3 (ii) of the Constitution of the party, being the acting National Secretary.
I have the power to issue Notices of meetings of National Convention, National Executive Committee and the National Working Committee of the party. This is the power I exercised on the March 6 and March 7, 2020, calling for an emergency National Executive Committee of our great Party in line with Article 25 (B) (ii) of the Constitution of our great Party.
“Article 25 (B) (1) of our constitution is very clear and it says, “The National Executive Committee of our great party shall meet every quarter of a year”. It is on record that the last National Executive Committee meeting was held on the 22 of November 2019 which is about four months to 17th of March fixed for the NEC meeting which itself is a breach of the party’s constitution.
“While Article 25 (B) (ii) provides that National Working Committee of our great party may summon an emergency National Executive Committee meeting at any time provided at least 7 days notice of the meeting is given to those entitled to attend, the Notice given on the March 6, 2020, is in strict compliance with the provisions of the Constitution.
“I urge members of the National Working Committee to attend the meeting slated for 17th day of March 2020 as it will serve as an avenue to find solutions to the present state of the quagmire the party had found itself in.
The meeting will provide the way forward for the party, knowing that the National Executive Committee is the highest organ of the party after the convention, as such, It cannot be shut out of its responsibilities as provided by the Constitution of our great Party.
“As for Architect Waziri Bulama who purportedly signed the document as the party’s National Secretary, he is not a member of the National Executive Committee or National Working Committee as his alleged Nomination as National Secretary of the Party has no legal footing because it fails to meet the requirements provided by virtue of Article 20(1)(a) of the party’s constitution. He is definitely not the National Secretary the party”, Giadom declared