The National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, vowing not to be pressured into acting against his conscience over the crisis in the ruling party.
Speaking to State House corespondents after the meeting, which took place in the president’s office, he insisted that only three APC governors were unhappy with his running of the party while the majority are confident that he is doing his best.
He maintained that he would rather obey his conscience than pressures to do what is wrong.
ALSO READ: Oshiomhole: The gang-up thickens
The former Edo State governor said: “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’m 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.”
He said the problem he has with the aggrieved governors is a family matter, which he is confident will be resolved.
Oshiomhole states: “Three governors are not particularly pleased with the outcome of the primaries in their states.
Change is easy, we all want change, but the process of change can be traumatising.
“These are internal family issues; they are my friends, and that is important, even in moment of distress, that friendship, I want to believe is enough to help us to build a reconciliation.
“There is no running away from the fact that we are the governing party who has a higher stake; we are the one in the news; if we were in the stock market, our shares would have increased considerably.
“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 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; 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.”
He further said: “I have no illusions; this job I am doing is not a pensionable job; but I did promise myself that if 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.
“How far that can take me is exclusively in the hands of God.
“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.
“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 these 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 my best because change is not easy.
“We all want change, but the process of change can be quite traumatising, because it is not painless. People have been used to a particular way of doing things; to encourge them to do them differently can be a challenge.
“We have a political system where it seems to the observer and even the analyst that we have run a political system over the years where some of you are very powerful, you simply can’t.
“So, here I am as national chairman conducting primaries, the outcome of which some very powerful people did not see their preferred candidate emerging.”
Oshiomhole regretted that “It is only in Nigeria that you can have 10 aspirants competing for one seat and one person emerges and the remaining nine wonder why they didn’t win.”
Also, at the presidential villa for a meeting with the president was a national leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, who told correspondents that he does not support the attempt to remove Oshiomhole from office as the national chairman of the APC.
Asked whether he supported the move by some aggrieved state governors, Tinubu responded: “No. 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 you have 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, 1,2,3. 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.”
Tinubu also dismissed the chances of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, winning next year election, saying that Nigeria will not return to the past.
Asked whether he is jittery about Atiku meeting in Dubai to unseat Buhari. Tinubu said: “We don’t fear, whether is in the jungle, or is in Dubai or is in Abu Dhabi, people are free to meet and strategize in anyway or 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 strategize from anywhere but a leopard cannot change it skin.”
The post APC crisis: I won’t mortgage my conscience – Oshiomhole appeared first on Tribune.