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Drama as APC Deputy chairman calls for Oshiomhole’s resignation

The call by the Deputy National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, that the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, should resign due to alleged incompetence has polarised members of the party’s National Working Committee, The PUNCH learnt on Tuesday.

The demand made by Shuaibu was said to have come to some members of the NWC as a shock, while another faction in support of Shuaibu’s action was said to have expressed satisfaction with the letter.

It was gathered that the leakage of the letter to the media a few hours after it was received by Oshiomhole was said to have infuriated a faction of the NWC loyal to the former Edo State governor.

A member of the NWC, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, also said it might be difficult for the party to discuss Shuaibu’s letter since it was not directed at either the party or members of its NWC.

He said if the letter had been sent to the affected NWC members, President Muhammadu Buhari, the governors elected on the platform of the party and members of its National Executive Committee, then the party might have no option but to either ask Oshiomhole to respond to issues raised in the letter or be suspended.

“But as it is, the letter was not directed at the party. It was a mere personal correspondence between the chairman and his deputy. So, it is not our business,” the source added.

But he said there were other members of the NWC that shared the views expressed by Shuaibu.

He said, “There are other members of the NWC that shared the views expressed by the deputy national chairman. As it is now, we have a polarised NWC and it is difficult for a party that is just forming a government for another term.

“Apart from that, remember that we are going into a crucial second term and we need to also go into the National Assembly with one voice, otherwise we may play into the hands of the opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party.

“That is the problem we are facing now. We are not sure if the disgruntled officers and members of the APC will support our choices at the National Assembly.”

Oshiomhole lacks composure to lead APC, he must resign – Shuaibu

In his letter calling on Oshiomhole to resign, Shuaibu claimed that the former Edo governor lacked the composure to lead the APC.

Shuaibu said the APC under Oshiomhole had become badly fractured in virtually every constituency in the country and was fast losing the goodwill it enjoyed before Oshiomhole’s emergence.

The letter dated May 27 and delivered to Oshiomhole on May 28 was titled “APC: Its fortunes versus misfortunes, time to act.”

Shuaibu stressed that he wrote the letter in his personal capacity with very deep heart and high sense of responsibility, as a critical stakeholder in the APC project.

He said he had no choice but to write the letter after realising that the APC project “I sincerely believe in with all my heart” was failing under Oshiomhole.

The former National Secretary of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria accused Oshiomhole of running the party like his private fiefdom without recourse to party’s organs and structures.

Besides, he alleged that many decisions attributed to the NWC were personally taken by the national chairman without any formal meeting with members.

He stated, “It is expected that for every decision credited to the party, it should be the result of a meeting where resolutions are passed by the working committee.

“It is also expected that policies by the party are always alI-inclusive and never one-sided and to cap it up, no unilateral decisions should be made to represent the opinion of the National Working Committee, the National Executive Committee or even the least, the National Caucus. The national chairman cannot assume the powers of the National Working Committee.

“The last congresses in states, unfortunately, represented a complete lack of knowledge, let alone of experience on how due process in political electoral process is adhered to.

“The National Working Committee is saddled with the responsibility of recommending guidelines for every electoral process and appointing committees that will embark on conducting primary elections for every constituency and submit report and thereafter an appeal committee will attend to complaints and petitions and also submit its report to the NWC.

“The National Working Committee is then expected to perform the duty of the final adjudicatory body on each electoral matter and from there you have the final list of candidates.

“The national chairman cannot, in any circumstances be the chairman of any committee, be it screening committee or any other committee contrary to what you did. The chairman presides over the meetings of the National Working Committee in which each matter disposed of by any appeal committee is examined and decision reached.

“If the national chairman should chair any of these committees, what if there is a complaint about his own conduct, who do you send your petition to? He cannot be a judge in his own matter!”

‘APC badly fractured, losing goodwill under ex-Edo gov’

Shuaibu said the electoral fortunes of the APC had dwindled because of the leadership style of Oshiomhole, whom he accused of conducting the NWC meetings at a private residence instead of the party’s national secretariat.

He added, “We had 23 states in 2015, but after the 2019 elections we lost seven states! We also had 60 senators in 2015 at the end of the elections; we now end up with 57 senators in 2019! You were not brought in to lose election. It is absolutely unacceptable!

“What this entails is that for any senator to become a presiding officer he needs to go and kneel down before the PDP senators and beg for support! And to make things worse, you announced that the APC will not allow any PDP senator to be appointed as committee chairman except the committees statutorily meant for the opposition members of the Senate. That is never the tradition of the legislature anywhere! The legislature is the house of collaboration and lobby and you can never succeed with hostile approach, you must lobby to seek for cooperation of members across party divides.

“If you don’t know, you have made the situation worse than it seems. Try and use your calculator and you will find that as at now, if anybody, backed by the PDP members, wants to become the Senate President, all he needs is the support of only six APC senators to win the election on the floor of the Senate! Chairman, strategies are not announced on television, they are discussed at caucuses.”

Shuaibu pointed out that the maturity exhibited throughout the 2015 political rallies by the APC, together with the aura of the party’s presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, attracted massive goodwill for the party, and the value addition to that, were unquantifiable.

These, he said, were lacking in the 2019 elections under Oshiomhole.

He stated, “Under normal circumstances, when you take over as a project manager, it is expected that you bring to bear your wealth of experience to the new job which will be seen in your capacity and capabilities as value addition.

“In a political party like the APC, you are expected to also introduce a new approach to strategies through committees that will work and submit recommendations to you towards improving on the current fortunes of the party.”

Shuaibu added, “It is my honest opinion that your ability to ensure this party flourishes is deficient as you lack the necessary composure and you also don’t possess the capabilities and the requisite experience to run a political party.

“The respect the APC was commanding among its members and sympathisers has been completely eroded, while the goodwill has equally evaporated with the type of attitude of threats to members you deploy, including senior members such as governors, senators, ministers and other government officials whose functions do not fall within your jurisdiction.

“As I know, the relationship between the party and government are cooperation and collaboration to ensure that government programmes are implemented in line with the party manifesto, but not shouting and giving marching instructions to government officials on television screens or on the pages of newspapers, and more often than not, they call your bluff and make you look helplessly unimportant in the scheme of things.”

I’m not interested in Oshiomhole’s job – Deputy

Shuaibu clarified that he did not ask Oshiomhole to resign because he wanted to take over his job.

He said, “Please don’t get me wrong, do not think I am saying these about your conduct as the chairman because I want to be chairman. I don’t want to be the national chairman, because I cannot be, even if I want to, for as long as President Muhammadu Buhari is in office, having come from the same North-West geo-political zone with me I cannot.

“In advanced democracies, people who fail to add value or build over and above what they meet on assumption of duty show some civilised examples, they honourably bow out.

“In that connection, therefore, I want to advise you to take the path of honour, to step aside and allow the party to embark on the onerous task of reconstruction and rehabilitation in those states it was weakened by the effect of manner the last primary elections were conducted or even the task of recreating the party where it is on the path of extinction, arising from the loss of a sitting APC government, for example in Zamfara State, where you directly personally created the problem leading to the painful complete loss of the APC’s electoral fortunes, from up to down.

“All these are uncontestable facts. You cannot exonerate yourself from blame on what happened to the APC in Zamfara State, thereby destroying the hopes and aspirations of 534,541 APC members and supporters, including my good self!

“l have nothing personal, except that I love this party and cannot keep quiet seeing it being brutally murdered!”

APC, Oshiomhole keep mum

However, efforts to get Oshiomhole’s reaction through his Chief Press Secretary, Simon Egbegbulem, proved abortive.

He neither answered calls placed to his mobile line nor replied a message sent to him by one of our correspondents as of the time of filing this report on Tuesday night.

Also, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, could not be reached.

We may not discussed the letter, it’s not addressed to us – NWC member

But a member of the NWC, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the letter had not been considered for discussion because it was a private letter to the national chairman.

He said, “Although we have heard about the letter, we can’t table it for discussion because it is a private letter to Oshiomhole and not to the NWC.”

APC M’Belt vanguard defends Oshiomhole, knocks Shuaibu

Meanwhile, the APC Middle Belt Vanguard, has asked Shuaibu to apologise to the leadership of the party within 14 days or face the consequence.

In a statement in Abuja, the group’s President, Musa Alechenu and Secretary, Meliga Godwin, berated Shuaibu for arrogating the powers of the NEC to himself by calling for Oshiomhole’s resignation.

The statement partly read, “While we want to state that those words were personal to Senator Shuaibu and not the opinion of members of the NWC or NEC and of course majority of our party members, we call on Senator Shuaibu to apologise to the leadership of this party in the next 14 days or face the wrath of the party.

“It is on record that people like Shuaibu are not comfortable with the kind of discipline the national chairman is instilling in the affairs of the APC since he assumed office in June 2019. In every society, reforms don’t come easy and it is very unfortunate that at this point in time, Senator Shuaibu and his co-travellers will expect business to go on as usual.

“It may suffice you to note that the introduction of direct primaries by the Oshiomhole-led NWC has helped in bringing the party closer to the people and it was evident in the total support our President, Muhammadu Buhari, enjoyed across the country in the last general elections.”

The group absolved Oshiomhole of any blame in the crisis rocking the party, saying they predated his assumption of office.

“Therefore, we pass a vote of confidence in the national chairman of our great party, Adams Oshiomhole, and we advise those fueling crisis in the party to desist from it as we are solidly behind the leadership of this great party.

“We admonish Senator Shauibu to settle his personal issues with his boss and stop being a willing tool to cause disaffection in the party,” the group added.

Meanwhile, there are fears that Oshiomhole may use the five-member panel, which he constituted on Monday, to harass those opposed to his style of leadership in the party.

The panel, which is headed by a former governor Ekiti State, who is also the Deputy National Chairman of the party (South), Otunba Niyi Adebayo, is saddle with the task of reviewing what was called anti-party activities of some members in some states.

Issa-Onilu announced the members in a statement on Monday evening.

He said, “The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress has set up a five-member committee to review the numerous petitions on anti-party activities of some members from the states.

“The NWC has received several petitions alleging various forms of anti-party activities by some members, including working against the party or our candidates in the just-concluded elections.

“The party’s Deputy National Chairman (South), Otunba Niyi Adebayo, is the chairman of the committee.

“Other members are the National Vice-Chairman (South-West), Mr Bankole Oluwajana; National Legal Adviser, Babatunde Ogala; National Treasurer, Adamu Fanda; and the National Disabled Leader, Misbau Lawal Didi.”

The committee has one week to submit its report.

However, there were those who believed that Oshiomhole was going to use the panel to either suspend or dismiss some of those he considered his enemies in some states.

A member of the NWC of the party said the panel might also be used to deny some governors the party’s ticket.

“Some governors in states where elections were not held early this year may be the target of our chairman with this panel. However, we are waiting for them,” the source added.

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