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2019: APC not jittery over Atiku’s Dubai meeting—Tinubu

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—Says Nigeria won’t go back to PDP’s illusion

—Backs Oshiomhole’s leadership

—I won’t mortgage my conscience—Oshiomhole

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA—NATIONAL leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Wednesday said that his party was not jittery over the alleged meeting held by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Tinubu and Oshiomhole

This is as the APC national leader has thrown his support to the party’s Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s style of leadership, saying that the party surrendered all rights to the National Working Committee headed by Oshiomhole

Speaking to State House correspondents after meeting behind closed-doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Tinubu said the meeting was about the nation, the country, Nigerian people, peace, stability and economic progress.

Asked if he was jittery over Atiku’s meeting in Dubai whaich was aimed at defeating President Buhari in 2019, he said that the PDP’s presidential standard bearer can have meeting anywhere in the world even in the jungle, but that Nigerians cannot go back to the illusion of the party.

He said, “We don’t fear, whether it is in the jungle, or is in Dubai or is in Abu Dhabi, people are free to meet and strategies in any way they form but we are not going back to the illusion of the PDP. It is not possible, Nigerians will not do that.

“They say slow and steady wins the race , we inherited that from our forefathers and knowledgeable people. We can’t go back to the pit that we inherited for 16 years. They can strategies from anywhere but a leopard cannot change it skin.”

Also asked whether he was in support of the alleged planned removal of the APC national Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole by some aggrieved party members, he emphatically said, “No.”

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He further added, “We all have to respect the party supremacy. You were all here when we had the Congress, we elected the new executives, the convention we had it, the NEC was formed and we surrendered to avoid conflict, to avoid domination, to avoid abuses of power, we surrendered our rights, all rights to the National Working Committee headed by Adams Oshiomohole that the National Working Committee should set up electoral bodies to supervise various state congresses and elections.

“We signed off for it. So, if it is not in our individual favour, so be it. We gave three options, consensus, where there is no consensus because if you are more than two or three and you cannot agree to one candidate, you go to the next level. The next level is the stakeholders delegate and it has to be supervised by the National Working Committee of the  party, national election committee of the party.

“That shows party supremacy or the freest option, the less cumbersome is to open direct primary, line up and count the number, one, two three.  If you win, you win and if you fail, go home.  Then appeal committee was set up to listen to all appeals, internal mechanism for conflict resolution.

“It was there, you cannot turn round against that, you cannot turn against all of that. No. Party is supreme, party must be respected, abuses will not do it and anger will not do it. It is party politics, somebody will win and somebody will lose, too bad.”

Also speaking to State House correspondents after meeting the President, Oshiomhole said he has no illusions on his position as the APC national Chairman, adding, “this job I am doing is not a pensionable job; but I did promise myself that I am going to be on this job for one day, I will do according to the rules and according to my conscience; I will be fair and just to all and God will give me the courage and the wisdom to do His will.”

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Continuing, he said, “The truth is, we have 36 states and FCT and we do have 36 state organs and FCT and as far as I know, we have 23 governors; to be exact, I believe three governors are not particularly pleased with the outcome of the primaries in their states and you cannot grudge anyone for not being happy if a particular outcome does not coincide with his expectations.

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“I don’t  have power to appoint and I don’t have power to change particularly when things have been properly done. Now if this makes one, two or three people unhappy, it is unfortunate but they are my friends; If things are to be reduced to who is my friend, who I can do favour to, obviously having been a governor for eight years, I have more friends and more governors than any other group within the party whether they are Senators, House of Reps members or other aspirants within the party.

“If there was any temptation in Nigeria, it is temptation towards power not temptation towards the powerless. So, all I have tried is to find some courage to enforce the rules and I think an overwhelming majority of the governors appreciate that I have done best because change is not easy.

“We all want change but the process of change can be quite traumatizing, because it is not painless. People have been used to a particular way of doing things; to encourage them to do them differently can be a challenge.”


Former Nigerian vice-President Atiku Abubakar

He said that the country has a political system that tries to make people more powerful.

He said, “So, here I am as national chairman conducting primaries, the outcome of which some very powerful people did not see their preferred candidate emerging. Let me say that if there is a choice between my conscience-what I believe is right and mortgaging that conscience in order to keep the job, I will have no difficulty resolving it in favour of my conscience .And those who know, know that at my age I cannot learn new tricks.

“I am absolutely committed to justice, fairness, I a stickler to enforcement of rules; because the source of relevance is derived from rules. I have lived my life fighting for justice and fairness.”

Stressing that three governors were not particularly pleased with the outcome of the primaries in their states, he said, “Change is not easy. We all want change but the process of change can be traumatizing.”

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“So, it is not surprising that there is some disquiet but I remain a friend to this governors, I respect them; I appreciate them for the fact that but for their support, I will not be chairman and you don’t go stepping on toes of those who helped you to get into position..

“But however, I thought I was clear and I remain clear that helping me to get to the position, it was to help APC to return to its core values of progressive politics, of fairness, of justice, of adherence to rule of law and total submission to the extant provisions of our party constitution.

In doing that, you don’t look at power; you look at what is; what is just.

“I think that with time, we will reconcile all these; (Ibikunle) Amosun is my good friend; we have known each other for a very long time; we exchange personal visits in addition to official visits; Zamfara governor has been the  Chairman of NGF and I was an active member of that forum; we have wonderful time together and I believe in the future, we are still going to have wonderful time together.

“Governor Rochas Okorocha was one of those who had issues with my predecessor and I did my best to try and resolve those issues in a way that has been given him a new platform. And I am happy that God used us to do that not by cheating in his favour but by doing what is right.

“It is just that once you stick to the goal, sometimes, you either get caught on the right side or the wrong side. I will say it is the tree that bears fruits that attracts stones; the tree that doesn’t bear fruits doesn’t attract any stones.

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“It is only in Nigeria that you can have ten aspirants competing for one seat and one person emerges and the remaining nine wonder why they didn’t win. In other climes, once you file out and there is another person, the more the number, the more the number of losers.

“I have for example (Osita) Okechukwu; I heard he was particularly hard on Channels TV. He is one of the beneficiaries of Mr. Presidents goodwill, DG of VON and I thought he will remain the Voice of Nigeria but he went through an election and he was defeated by a Lady who is also working for this government.”

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