The leadership crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) took a dangerous dimension yesterday as the hitherto cold war was blown open when supporters and antagonists of the party’s National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, stormed the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja to show their solidarity and opposition respectively.
There had been calls for Oshiomhole to resign in some quarters but those who want him to remain in office had been urging him on. Demanding for the sustenance of Oshiomhole’s stay in office, the supporters, under the platform of Unity Group of the party staged the counter protest against an earlier demonstration, which was demanding the removal of the national chairman.
Two different groups had earlier in the week called for the resignation of the APC National Chairman on account of bad leadership. The first was Young APC Stakeholders Forum and the second, FCT APC Residents Youths.
The two protests were observed and monitored by security agents. The messages of the protesters that stormed the National Secretariat in the early days of Monday and Tuesday were the same: “Oshiomhole must go” and “Oshiomhole must resign. According to one of the sponsors, who is a National Executive Committee member, the demand for Oshiomhole’s resignation is absolute and total.
He explained that 80 per cent of the APC governors, a large number of the National Working Committee (NWC) members and the Presidency are behind the call for Oshiomhole’s resignation.
He alleged that the APC National Chairman’s embarrassment to the party was one too many. According to him, the National Chairman does not understand that he is leading a political party in a democratic setting.
“For instance, the statement that nobody would be sworn in as a governor in Bayelsa State after the Supreme judgement was an embarrassment to the party,” he said. The party member argued that the situation that brought about the nullification of the APC governorship victory in Bayelsa State was caused by the APC National Chairman, just like that of Zamfara.
Oshiomhole must go
But yesterday, another group decked in different uniforms trouped to the APC National Secretary in Abuja in buses with placards of various inscriptions, stating their demand for the continued stay in office of the national chairman. Addressing journalists, the leader of one of the anti- Oshiomhole groups, Yunusa Yusuf, said the former labour leader must go because of hiinterference with the party’s affairs across the country, aaleging that it was as a result of his interference that President Muhammadu Buhari lost election in the FCT. He said: “Oshiomhole had caused disunity in the party and responsible for the losses of the party and all the problems facing the party. So many of us were aggrieved to the extent that, before the election last year, we had to leave the party. “I am one of such people who left the party before the election, Due to his impunity, we were forced out of the party to join another party and worked for another party, because we were politically rendered irrelevant. Another supporter of the call for Oshiomhole’s exit is a chieftain of the APC in Edo State, Adaze Emwanta, who spoke on Channels Television while insisting that the national chairman must go. He said: “He should go because he had made the party to lose most of its states. Look at Sokoto State, because of the crisis created by Oshiomhole, the party lost the state to the PDP. Not just Sokoto, but also Benue and Zamfara among others. “So having lost these numbers of states, it is natural that the national leadership should have been rejigged. So, at the moment the national chairman of the party should step aside. And I think it is in the interest of democracy that Adams Oshiomhole should step aside. “How many states will the party lose before they remove the man who obviously was responsible for the dwindling fortunes of the party?” He queried.
Oshiomhole must stay
On their parts, those who want the former Edo governor to remain in office were vehemently insisting on their points even as they urged the Presidency to rally the embattled national chairman. A leader of the support group, Hon. Folorunso Olusola Emmanuel, said they were at the party’s secretariat in solidarity with Oshiomhole. According to him, “the national chairman is on a mission and he should be left to do the job”, while berating those calling for his removal, saying, no patriotic party member want Oshiomhole removed. He alleged that those behind the call for the sack are sponsored agents sent by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to destroy the ruling party. “Our national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomole should be left alone to do the job that is here to do. We are not going to allow our detractors to distact him. We the real members of APC are solidly behind our national chairman,” Emmanuel maintained. Also speaking, the Iyaloja of Abuja and the woman leader of the group, Chief (Mrs.) Rose Badmus, said that all patriotic party members believe in the leadership the national chairman has provided to the party since he came on board and cautioned that parochial interests of the few should not be allowed to truncate the gains made so far by the party. “Like any other political party, the ruling APC may have its own share of challenges”, she said, arguing that the achievements the party has recorded under the leadership of Oshiomhole outweigh the challenges, hence, “the leadership should be sustained”. She faulted those calling for the removal of the former governor, maintaining that the call was nothing but “a deliberate and calculated attempt to distract the focused national chairman”. “Telling Oshiomhole to go now is not the way. There is a procedure for change. When it is time for election, if anybody is interested in that position, such person can contest at the national convention and not attempting to remove the national Chairman from the back door. Right now, what we are saying is that Comrade must stay. That is our stand.” One of the leaders of the group, Mr. Jonathan Adegoke later presented a formal letter of solidarity and support, which was received on behalf of Oshiomhole by the Acting Director of Administration at the party Secretariat, Hon. Salihu Abdulsalam Danimoh. Receiving the letter, Hon. Danimoh appreciated the group for peacefully conducting itself and noted that the party had inaugurated a national reconciliation committee under the leadership of Chief Bisi Akande, the party’s former interim national chairman. “With this committee in place party members have a window to express their griviances for amicable settlement in line with the party’s constitution.
Chieftain calls for caution
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the party, Chief Ibrahim Emokpaire has called on the leadership of the APC, particularly, President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore and distance himself from people with personal and irrational prejudices against the Chairman of the Party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. He noted that Comrade Oshiomole has become a victim of 5th columnists who are ceaselessly vilifying and maligning him and bent on subverting our great Party. He urged the President to stand up and defend his Party chairman who is being hounded by a small but fanatical group. These people do not seem to care about the damage they are doing to the Party. “Without a doubt, if this bloodhound is allowed to continue, the Party will eventually disintegrate. Therefore, we can no longer pretend that an unjustifiable war of attrition currently being waged on our Party Chairman and by extension, our Party, the APC is not happening. This minority group of egotistic traducers are well versed and orchestrated in doing hatchet jobs. “The direct consequence of this blood baying mob’s action will definitely fall squarely on our Party in the long run. As history has taught us, it is easier to destroy than to build. In this regard, I should remind the hatchet men and women that APC is a labour of love and such phenomenon are not easily repeated. Many patriotic Nigerians both at home and the Diaspora gave up their jobs and daily bread in order to build APC when it was at its embryonic stage. It is instructive to note that virtually the same people who called for Chief John Oyegun’s head and demanded that Pa Akande be discarded on the account of his age, are at it again. From the ongoing, it seems fair to say that nobody will ever satisfy this clique. Perhaps, the time has come to turn the spotlight on them in the overall interest of our great party and ask them what they really want. It was Chief Oyegun yesterday; today it is Oshiomole. Who would it be tomorrow! Emokpaire is worried that the good work of Oshiomhole would be destroyed especially, now that our country is going through a very trying moment and the opposition seems poised to undo all the good work of the government. “Many people in the diaspora have reported to me how People Democratic Party (PDP) activists have been trawling from one legislator to another in Europe and America; using propaganda to damage the achievement of our government. “Therefore, my advice to those who are bent on sabotaging our Party Chairman is that we should not join the Opposition in annihilating our Party and Government”. According to Chief Emokpaire, Oshiomhole came at a time when, unbeknownst to the Nigerian public, the APC was going through a turbulent time; nonetheless, the Comrade did a yeoman’s job to steady the ship and followed it up with a historic election victory. Under such circumstances, it will be impossible not to step on some toes. Lest we forget, it was during the same period that Ghanamust- go-bag-politics was virtually killed in Nigerian – a feat that will be difficult, if not impossible, to repeat if the witchhunt carries on. “Oshiomhole worked assiduously to increased the number of APC legislators in two chambers of the National Assembly; alongside ensuring victory for President Muhammadu Buhari during the election…(the statistics are there for all to see)” Oshiomohole took over the party affairs and within 8 months he had managed to put all the organs of the party for the presidential and other elections in place. “It is pertinent to point out that prior to Oshiomole being elected as the National Chairman, all APC party congresses had already been conducted in all the 36 States plus FCT. It is also on record that all the disagreements in the party were not only inherent but also apparent, as records would show, which begs the question, why falsely accuse Oshiomole? Could this be a case of giving a dog a bad name and hanging it” Hecontinued, “However, any attempt to portray events otherwise will not only be disingenuous but dishonest”. He said Oshiomhole should not be blamed for the crisis being experienced in some states as they predate the Comrade’s Chairmanship. Speaking on the anti- Oshiomhole protest, Chief Emokpaire advised those who want Oshiomhole to resign to be civil and democratic and more importantly, adhere to the constitution of the Party. He quipped, “You don’t remove the national chairman of a party through protest by street urchins especially, the embarrassing type we witnessed on ChannelsTV in the last few days where, young children were seen carrying placards. Majority of these children neither understood the purpose of their protest or the message on the placard – a laughable situation akin to what the PDP did at Chatham House during a lecture delivered by President Buhari in February 2015. It would be recalled that a bunch of students rented by PDP were bused down from Manchester to London to badmouth President Buhari but were overwhelmed by APC supporters. When some of them were interviewed they did not know who Buhari was and neither could they articulate their reason for protesting. In order to avoid losing track, the point I am making is that you must go through an established process for such a thing, if at all there is need for it.