By Adamu Abuh, Matthew Ogune and Lawrence Njoku
The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole has rejected insinuations that his office would eventually run the party aground.
Accused of brashness and often tagged the undertaker, the chairman has come under intense criticism for his handling of the party’s primaries.
While some aggrieved persons have called for his removal, others have dumped the party, threatening to work against its interest at the polls.
But in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Simon Ebegbulem, yesterday, Oshiomhole said he “did not become national chairman of the governing party to bring it down a notch from the pedestal of its 2015 electoral victory, let alone to preside over its liquidation.”
He said the complaints that trailed the primaries were uncalled for, as the choice of those who made the list of candidates vying for various elective positions was done in the best interest of the party.
“Indeed, the message therein is very clear that the party and not pseudo political empires in the states has the power to superintend the primary elections for the nomination of the party’s candidates in the general election.
“While the party will not surrender its functions, which are constitutionally circumscribed, to any other entities, it will always be ready to moderate the divergent tendencies and mediate the disparate political camps in the interest of party cohesion.
“This is one of the hardnosed truths that the Comrade Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) preaches and practises with an apostolic zeal to the chagrin of some influential stakeholders in the states.”
The statement described suggestions, especially by an APC presidential aspirant, Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, that the “party cannot win with Oshiomhole” as “unfair, denigrating and baleful of Oshiomhole’s persona and commitment to a rejuvenated winning machine.”
It said: “The totality of Unagha’s claims, without necessarily addressing them one after the other, tallies with cooked-up narratives being sponsored by some influential stakeholders in their respective states that Oshiomhole is responsible for all the problems in the APC at the moment.
“These influential stakeholders, according to grapevine, have begun to mobilise to pass a no-confidence vote on the leadership of Oshiomhole, having failed to impose their preferred candidates on the party in the nomination process.”
The statement added: “Rather than resort to needless perfidy at the threshold of a general election, we call on them to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship, bolstered by the fact that the Oshiomhole leadership is propelled more by its interest in propriety in which victory for the party could be grounded. The crime committed by Oshiomhole’s leadership is its disdain for impunity and circumvention of due process perpetrated in some of the states at the pleasure of some influential stakeholders.
“Overall, Oshiomhole has not, since stepping in the saddle, taken any unilateral decision in the running of the party affairs. All decisions, so far taken, passed through the mills of NWC deliberative sessions and enjoyed unanimous resolutions. The records are there. History will justify Oshiomhole and posterity will vindicate him.”
This came as the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call the chairman and the NWC to order.
In a statement yesterday, the organisation accused Oshiomhole of meddling in the election of candidates in Zamfara State, saying the state chapter should be allowed to conduct its affairs.
Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) banned the state chapter from fielding candidates for next year’s general elections, citing failure to meet a deadline for holding primaries.
CLO attributed the problem to alleged unguarded statements and militant leadership style by Oshiomhole, warning that the trend is capable of reversing the gains of democracy.
The statement further urged INEC not to disenfranchise “hundreds of thousands of eligible voters in Zamfara State in 2019 for no fault of theirs.”
Meanwhile, the crisis rocking the Enugu State chapter took a new dimension yesterday with the expulsion of former secretary to the state government, Mr. Onyemuche Nnamani.
The state chairman, Ben Nwoye, said Nnamani was expelled for dragging to court the national leadership and the national vice chairman, southeast zone, Chief Emma Enukwu, over the recent national convention.
Nwoye told reporters that the expulsion followed Nnamani’s “deliberate act of contravening Article 21 of the APC constitution.”
Nnamani however said he remained a member of the party. According to him, Nwoye is not the chairman of the party in the state and therefore lacks the power to suspend anybody.
“I don’t recognise Ben Nwoye as the chairman of APC in Enugu State. Our chairman is Okey Ogbodo. And very soon, he will make a pronouncement. We have already secured a court order, which restrained Ben Nwoye from parading himself as the chairman of our party. Ben Nwoye, by announcing anybody’s suspension, is being mischievous,” he said.