By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: Suspended National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has accused the court-endorsed acting National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Giadom of attempting to destroy the party the way his group allegedly did in his home state, Rivers.
Oshiomhole in an online television interview monitored in Abuja also declared that Giadom was no longer a member of the National Working Committee NWC of the party, noting that assuming he was still one, it would not be possible for a deputy National Secretary to superintend over the affairs of the party in the presence of other high ranking officials.
This was as the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Yekini Nabena accused an unnamed Minister in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and a North Central Governor of being behind the leadership crisis in the party. He said both men are using Giadom to destabilize the APC.
On his part, National Legal Adviser of the APC, Babatunde Ogala dismissed the reported waiver said to have been granted Giadom which allowed him to view for an office in the last general elections without resigning from the NWC.
Also, a former National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has called on President Buhari and state governors in the party to take steps to convene a National Executive Committee NEC meeting where a Caretaker Committee would be put in place to oversee affairs of the party.
Oshiomhole’s reference to Rivers state is seen as a subtle attack against the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi whose battle of supremacy with Sen. Magnus Abe led to the court disqualifying the APC from participating in the 2019 general elections.
Giadom is a known political protege of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Oshiomhole said; “My advice to my brother (Giadom) is about common sense. In the absence of the Chairman, there is nothing in our rules, and the courts can only interpret the rules of the party and the Constitution of Nigeria. I mean it serves to common sense that if the Chairman is absent, it should be the deputy. In the absence of the deputy, it is the vice chairman. How does the deputy secretary come in?
“As we speak, we have a Secretary sitting in the office working late hours to ensure that the secretariat functions. I think that my brother, Victor Giadom wants to take our party to the root of Rivers state where they created so much problems that, as we speak today, in Rivers, we have crisis.
“My plea to them is that they should put God first and put our national party interest second and out our democracy deep in their hearts and not try to use externalities to destabilize our party the way it has been destabilized in Rivers state. How can a deputy National Secretary, assuming he was still one, claim to be chairman?”, He queried.
Nabena fingers Minister, Gov
Nabena in a statement on Saturday said “the APC is clearly at a tipping point”.
The APC deputy spokesman also accused Giadom of doing the bidding some fifth columnists.
According to him; “Not too long ago, Victor Giadom claimed the position of the National Secretary now he is claiming the chairmanship. It is unfortunate that Victor Giadom is being used as a destabilizing agent by fifth columnists. On what ground is Victor Giadom claiming chairmanship of the Party when he long ceased to be a member of the National Working Committee following his resignation to contest as the Rivers State Deputy Governorship candidate in the 2019 elections? Whatever waiver Victor Giadom is brandishing cannot stand as the Constitution and INEC guidelines require resignation from public office to contest general elections, which Victor Giadom did by resigning as Deputy National Secretary.
“The same Victor Giadom and his sponsors are already engaging in anti-party activities through their continued support of Governor Godwin Obaseki despite formerly joining the Peoples Democratic Party to contest the Edo State Governorship election.
“The National Judicial Council should investigate boasts by sponsors of Victor Giadom, a minister and north central governor that they are in control of the Court of Appeal and are already using it to further their selfish interest and sabotage the APC.
“Atleast four people are laying claim to the chairmanship of the APC following the court-ordered suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. All manner of Court cases and orders are flying around contesting party decisions and National Working Committee positions. Factions are festering at the national level and many states. The APC is clearly at a tipping point.
Need for NEC meeting
“The several court cases and orders over the national leadership of the party has put the party in a standstill and is a legal threat to forthcoming elections in Edo and Ondo States. President Muhammadu Buhari is the leader of the party and it has become imperative for him to convene an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee NEC to find solutions to the crisis and chart a way forward.” Nabena stated.
“As I have always said, personal interest must never override Party interest. The APC is nobody’s personal property. I call on our dear President to accede to the request by majority of well-meaning party members and leaders and convene an emergency NEC meeting to address the leadership crisis and deliberate on consolidating the APC’s control of Edo and Ondo States ahead of the forthcoming governorship elections”, Nabena said.
Giadom’s waiver defective
National Legal Adviser of the party, Barr. Babatunde Ogala faulted an alleged waiver granted Giadom to return to the NWC having reportedly resigned to vie for an office in the last general elections.
He also dismissed reports of crisis in the APC saying what is happening is just the handiwork of rascals.
Ogala said; “There is nothing strange going on in the APC. The Press call crisis, I call it brigandage and rascality of one or two members of the 20-man NWC.
Lowest ranking NWC office
“Of course we have also heard about Giadom’s court order and we have never been served any order of court, that somebody, one of you, the lowest ranking NWC member has purportedly been asked to resume as acting National Chairman.
“We find it ridiculous because he has never served this process on us, we only saw it in the social media. So, as far as we are concerned, the party is running according to the provisions of our constitution notwithstanding the act of rascality of one member.
“On waiver, going by the provisions of our constitution, to obtain a waiver is a process. You apply through your Ward, the LG, the State, the Zonal and to the NWC. So, it is a process in five steps. The National Chairman cannot give him a waiver without the Ward. But anyway, let us even assume he went through the process, the Supreme Court in Ibrahim Umar’s case had even said the erstwhile executive in Rivers State was illegally constituted and whatever action they had taken was null and void which was what led to the nullification of all APC candidates in Rivers state. So, if it is that same executive that made us not to have candidates, can that executive give him a waiver? Certainly not. So, it is null and void even if he got it but to my knowledge, he never got any”.
Chief Odigie-Oyegun in his statement also called for a NEC meeting, saying that there is need to invoke the doctrine of necessity to put in place a Caretaker Committee.
He said; “This statement is therefore a clarion call to leaders of the party, particularly the Governors and Mr. President to urgently bring a stop to the disgraceful and humiliating charade occurring within the National Secretariat of our great party. There is a most urgent need for the party NEC to meet and institute for the party a Caretaker Committee (even if we have to invoke the doctrine of necessity), whose main responsibility will be to arrange for a special National Convention. The All Progressives Congress was built on the blood and sweat of Nigerians, young and old, too numerous to count, who were willing to give everything in the service of progressive politics. We must not allow their great sacrifices to go in vain. Today, almost every member of the party feels a deep sense of alienation and dissatisfaction with the state of the party. It hurts deeply to see how hollow it now rings to mention our party and ‘change’ together. The time to act is now, before it is too late”.
He said in the last few months, Nigerians have watched how the party has brazenly subverted its own principles of internal democracy and flagrant violation of every rule of decent political engagement in a manner that makes everyone associated with its promise of change liable to be accused of either hypocrisy or apostasy.
“We must therefore remember that our victory in the 2015 Presidential elections and the peaceful transfer of power that followed was a major testament of progress in our nation’s journey towards real democracy. This unprecedented democratic achievement has since inspired progressive forces all over Africa and has become a standard by which democracy is measured in the rest of the continent. Unfortunately, it appears that while other countries around us have marched ahead in the democratic journey, we have largely regressed. Because we were the political party that benefitted from a system that offered the opposition a chance, everyone expected us to show unwavering dedication to broaden the democratic space for everyone; to ensure that equity and justice take precedence over all other considerations and to ensure that our party truly functions as the vehicle for aggregating and managing contending political interests. Unfortunately, what we have witnessed from our party is the steady erosion of even the very basic tenets of democratic principles in a manner that could turn our watershed victory of 2015 to the waterloo of our hard won democracy.
“As a major stakeholder and as a founding member of the All Progressives Congress, I have made various efforts to add my voice to those of several other well-meaning leaders of the party, in ensuring that the ideals and principles that we fought for are not completely thrown overboard. However, I have come to realise that those who feel more entitled to the party are no longer capable of hearing alternative viewpoints other than those counselled by their ego and their self-serving interests, which they have promoted over all other considerations, including that of common decency. Yet, no political party will survive for long, which is unwilling to accommodate competing ideas and provide the space for healthy debates”, said Odigie-Oyegun.