The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) grew messier on friday after two claims emerged on the suspension of its National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Whereas one claim said the suspension had been lifted by the executives of Oshiomhole’s APC Ward 10, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo who visited Abuja, a counter position came from Benin-City.
This happened on a day a former National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun, pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari, the party’s governors and other well-meaning stakeholders to immediately invoke the “doctrine of necessity”and set up a Caretaker Committee to take over the affairs of the party. Separately, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rejected the demand of the court endorsed ‘acting National Chairman’ of the APC, Chief Victor Giadom, to stay away from the governorship primary election of the party in Edo State scheduled for tomorrow. Meanwhile, Rivers State Chapter of the party has written the South-South Zonal Executive Committee, indicating its resolve to fill the office of the Deputy National secretary purportedly occupied by Giadom. The Deputy National Publicity Secretary at the APC, Mr Yekini Nabena, pointedly accused a Minister and a governor of being behind the crisis rocking the party. The APC crisis spread to Ondo State where the deputy governor, Hon Agboola Ajayi, has reportedly perfected plans to defect to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday. The ruling party at the federal level and several states across Nigeria had been enmeshed in leadership crisis since the Court of Appeal upheld the suspension order on Oshiomhole by a High Court in Abuja last Tuesday. The development has since thrown up three different acting Chairman including Giadom. The party had, before the suspension of Oshiomhole was upheld by the appellate court, disqualified Governor Godwin Obaseki who was seeking second term in the September governorship election in Edo State on the platform of the party, on the grounds of defective academic credentials. The APC consequently lost Obaseki who has moved his political structure to the PDP where he hopes to realise his ambition. Confusion The confusion over the lifting of the suspension on Oshiomhole unfolded after a group of executives of the APC from APC Ward 10, Etsako West LGA, Edo State stormed Abuja with a resolution purportedly signed by 17 of the 27 members that the suspension of the National Chairman had been lifted. The High Court, which order was upheld by the Court of Appeal, had relied on the Ward resolution in suspending Oshiomhole from office in December last year. Reading out the resolution of the June 4, 2020 Ward executive meeting held at the APC Secretariat in Apana-Uzairue, Edo State, revoking the suspension, Secretary of the Ward, Emuakemeh Sule, in Abuja, said: “We the undersigned, being the Executive Committee of All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ward 10 Etsako West L.G.A, Edo State, having met today, 4/06/2020, affirm the following positions: “That we have reviewed the circumstances leading to the suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and found no merit in the allegation or processes employed. “We hereby lift the suspension placed on Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by the Ward. “We call on all organs of our great party to restore all rights and privileges of membership to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole”. Some of the signatories to the resolution were the Vice-Chairperson, Adizetu Jafaru; Assistant Secretary, Angela Egherua; Financial Secretary, Imokhai Patrick; Assistant Legal Adviser, Akufah Paul and Auditor, Jacob Akhamhe. Others were the Woman Leader, Marian Imonikhe; Treasurer, John Shaibu; ex-officio, Benjamin Yakubu; Organizing Secretary, John Irale; Youth Leader, Cosmas Iyamah and Assistant Financial Secretary, Linus Umoru. Signatories also included Assistant Auditor, Cletus Igwoni; Welfare Officer, Isigwe Abdulai; Assistant Treasurer, Eshemokai Patricia; Assistant Organising Secretary, Abdulrasheed Alabi and ex-officio, Alenkyaha H. Yunusa. Responding, acting National Chairman of the party, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by the National Vice Chairman, South-South, Ntufam Hilliard Eta, thanked the Ward executives for their action. “We have received the resolution of Etsako West Ward 10”, Eta said. “Let me say that 17 out of 27 members have signed this resolution. Let me also say that in matters of this nature, our constitution provides for only a simple majority and 17 out of 27 is indeed more than a simple majority. So, we want to use this opportunity to thank Etsako West Ward 10 for what they have done. History will be on your side. “I am also in receipt of the acceptance and ratification of that resolution by the Etsako West LGA executive dated the 9th of June 2020 and signed by the Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Akokia and the Secretary, Hon. Dauda Ahmed. “I am also in receipt bid further ratification by the state executive committee of the APC in Edo State signed by Col. David Imuse (retd), the acting state Chairman, and Lawrence Oka, Secretary”. But in a counter position, the Chairman of the APC in the Ward, Mr. Oshawo Stephen, spoke in Benin-City, dismissing the claim that the suspension of Oshiomhole as a member of the APC had been lifted.
In a statement, Stephen said the ward executives, elected in 2018, remained intact and had not been displaced by anybody He stressed the claim of the lifting of the suspension as a charade. “The suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by the ward executives remains valid. The statements to the contrary in the media are false and should be disregarded. We stand by our decision and have no reservation on the action as it is in the best interest of the party”, he stated. “The ward executives as well as our counterparts at the Etsako West Local Government level stand by the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole for his divisive role in the crisis rocking the APC in Edo State.” The statement added that the Chairman of APC in Etsako West LGA, Ezolomhe Rabiat, also affirmed that the LGA executives are still members of the party in the state and stand by the suspension of Oshiomhole. ‘Before it is too late’ In a statement titled, ‘Before It is Too Late’, authored by a former National Chairman of the APC and directed to Buhari, the governors and other leaders of APC, Oyegun, who went down memory lane, detailing how APC was formed, stated that bad administrative style of the current leadership has turned the party a threat to government and democracy. According to him, those at the helm of affairs have become intoxicated with ego and selfishness, refusing to recognize opposite viewpoints. Oyegun, who incidentally hails from the same Edo State as Oshiomhole and Obaseki, added that the party has destroyed all known democrat tenets, warning that the trend could turn their victory into a waterloo. The statement reads in full: “When we decided in 2012 to build a political coalition of progressives, we were driven by a deep sense of patriotism to rescue our country and a strong commitment to salvage our democracy. ‘Why APC was formed’ “We believed at the time that the ship of our country was headed for the rocks. Therefore, the significant progressive opposition parties and indeed all men and women of goodwill joined forces, not only to bring it back on course but also to set it on a completely different trajectory that would restore the hopes of our people and make every Nigerian proud of this great country again. “We approached Nigerians with the promise of change that resonated widely across the country. Based on our promise of change, the people voted against the ruling party in a collective political action that was unprecedented in our nation’s history. Never before had our people’s hopes been so raised. It is my fervent prayers that, in a few years from now, we do not look back and say never before have a people’s hope been so dashed. Threat to President, govt, democracy “As former National Chairman of the Party, I remain proud of the great strides of government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. However, I am afraid to note that the legacy of a government is defined mostly by its politics rather than its achievements in other areas no matter how lofty those achievements are. Our recent victory bears enough testimony to this reality. The military government of President Ibrahim Babangida is today remembered mainly for the June 12, 1993 election and its aftermath. Our own political party, the APC, is fast becoming the single most dangerous threat to the legacy our government and our President. “In the last months, we 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. PDP’s benevolence “We must therefore remember that our victory in the 2015 presidential election 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 benefited from a system that offered 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. ‘Democratic principles destroyed’ “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 realize that those who feel more entitled to the party are no longer capable of hearing alternative viewpoints other than those counseled by 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. Cases “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 occuring within the National Secretariat of our great party. There is a most urgent need for the party’s 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 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.” Nabena fingers Minister, Gov Deputy National Publicity Secretary of APC, Nabena, in a statement, yesterday, sounded ominous when he said “the APC is clearly at a tipping point”. Nabena also accused the Deputy National Secretary of the party, Giadom, who initiated the court action that earned Oshiomhole suspension, of doing the bidding of some fifth columnists. “Not too long ago, Victor Giadom claimed the position of the National Secretary, now he is claiming the chairmanship. Unfortunately, Victor Giadom is being used as a destabilizing agent by fifth columnists. On what ground is Victor Giadom claiming the 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”, he said. Anti-party activities The deputy spokesperson went on: “The same Victor Giadom and his sponsors are already engaging in anti-party activities through their continued support for Governor Godwin Obaseki despite formally joining the Peoples Democratic Party to contest the Edo State governorship election. “The National Judicial Council should investigate alleged boasts by suspected 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. “At least 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. NEC meeting “The several court cases and orders over the national leadership of the party have 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. “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”. Ondo: Deputy gov to leave APC In Ondo, barring last-minute change of plans, the deputy governor, Ajayi, will today resign from the APC and defect to the opposition PDP to contest the October governorship election in the state. If Ajayi picks the PDP ticket, he would be contesting against his principal in the event Gov Akeredolu also picks the APC ticket. The deputy governor is expected to resign from the ruling party today at his Kiribo ward in Ese- Odo council area of the state and at pick the PDP membership card. Ajayi, according to his aides, would defect to the opposition party with no fewer than eight members of the state Assembly, some former Commissioners and some former Speakers of the Assembly, among other notable politicians in the state. Sunday Vanguard gathered that leaders of the PDP, led by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, would receive Ajayi at an elaborate ceremony tomorrow in Akure, the state capital. The leadership of the party is expected to give Ajayi a waiver. The deputy governor has been having running battle with his principal to vie fer the ticket of the PDP ahead of the October poll in Ondo and efforts to resolve it proved abortive. Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, South-West leaders of the APC and members of the National Assembly have intervened in the feud to no avail. Primary election INEC said, yesterday, it would monitor the June 22 governorship primary election of the APC in Edo as it had not received any notice of change in schedule from the party leadership. Court-endorsed ‘acting National Chairman’ of the party, Giadom, had, in a letter, dated June 18 and addressed to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, introduced himself as the new leader of the party and asked the Commission to transact businesses with him in that capacity. INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, told Sunday Vanguard that the Commission had concluded arrangements to monitor the Edo APC primary election. “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will monitor the primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the purpose of nominating candidates for the governorship election in Edo State holding on September 19, 2020,” he said. “In our press statement of June 9, 2020, we informed the nation, that 15 political parties in compliance with Sections 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended), indicated their intention to conduct primaries for the purpose of nominating their candidates for the Edo governorship election. “In the same press statement, we informed the nation that the All Progressives Congress (APC) chose June 22, 2020, as the date for the conduct of their direct primary election. The Commission has concluded arrangements to monitor and will monitor the said primary. “The Commission has not been informed and has not received any request for a change or adjustment of the said date. The Commission will, in compliance with the law and its Regulations and Guidelines, proceed to monitor the primary. “We enjoin all political parties conducting primaries for the purpose of nominating their candidates for the Edo governorship election to strictly comply with the law, the regulations and guidelines of the Commission. Political parties should also observe all the health and safety protocols issued by relevant authorities”. Court order In the meantime, the National Vice Chairman, North East of the APC, Comrade Mustapha Salihu, has applied to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court to strike out the order making him the Acting National Secretary of the party. The FCT High Court sitting in Maitama, presided over by the Hon. Justice S.U. Bature, had, last week, purportedly issued an order that Mustapha be allowed to carry out the functions of Acting National Secretary of the party. However, Mustapha, who immediately rejected the order, said he was aware that such plea was entered in March but the recent resolution of the zone endorsing the nomination of Arc. Waziri Bulama for the office of the National Secretary of APC has now overtaken such plea to the court. He said the nomination of Bulama will be forwarded to the National Executive Committee NEC for ratification. According to him, the North East stakeholders involving the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF)l, Boss Mustapha and all APC Governors and members of the National Assembly from the zone, met and endorsed Bulama’s nomination for National Secretary and forwarded same to NEC for ratification.