The crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) appears far from over. Yesterday, two governors of the party, Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun of Imo and Ogun states respectively, attacked the National Chairman of the party, Adam Oshiomhole, over the lingering crisis over the conduct of primaries and submission of lists of the party’s candidates for the 2019 general elections.
Okorocha, who is the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum disclosed that the party under Oshiomhole has lost five million voters. Okorocha stated this while speaking to State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja. He said that the leadership of the APC under Oshiomhole as national chairman has fuelled anger among party faithful and protest across the country, resulting to loss of voters ahead of the 2019 general election.
He said that despite the bad leadership of the APC national chairman, the party would not disintegrate as long as President Buhari remained the leader of the country. Okorocha insisted that the claim by the APC chairman that President Buhari was behind his many actions, which have divided the party, was not correct.
According to him: “Well, APC will not disintegrate for as long as the person, Muhammadu Buhari, is still the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and remains the leader of this party. So, we cannot give that credit to the chairman.
He cannot disintegrate this party. The party is still intact; just that many people are hurt. “Since his inception and after this primaries, we are losing almost five million voters because of anger, protest everywhere and he needs to be called to order. He has to respect the rule of law, respect court orders and do the right thing – obey court orders where applicable and not turn himself into INEC,” Okorocha stressed. He continued that, “there is no presidency’s support for him to refuse candidates who won elections and give wrong candidates who didn’t win elections. This is the matter and I will simply say that he is not doing it with the consent of the presidency. He is on his own. “I also requested that Oshiomhole must learn to respect the rule of law and obey court orders where they apply.
This issue of treating court orders as tissue papers must stop. It doesn’t reflect the image of our party. He must act quickly to fix the integrity of this party because his coming in ought to have brought joy into the party and not sadness,” he said.
Reacting to comments by the National Leader of the party, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, that the APC chairman was providing effective leadership, Okorocha said it was unfortunate that the former Lagos State governor was ill informed about the affairs of the party.
Okorocha said: “No, maybe he is being misinformed. If he is properly informed, he will not say what Oshiomhole is doing is the right thing.”
On reports that he planned to join the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Okorocha said: “SDP? How can I build a house and leave it for someone else? I am in APC. I founded the APC. I gave the name APC and so this is our party and we must continue with the party and build the party for victory.” Responding to reports that the name of Hope Uzodinmma has been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as candidate of the APC in the 2019 Imo governorship elections, Okorocha said that it would not be possible. Okorocha explained that “he cannot be standing on Hope Uzodinma because that man did not win election.
You cannot compare somebody who won 265,000 votes with somebody who won 7,000 votes. “He (Hope Uzodinma) never won election and you cannot impose a candidate who is unacceptable to the people to the people. That is how serious the matter is now. So, he (Oshiomhole) should do the right thing and I have advised him sev-erally to do the right thing before he creates more disaffection in our party. “He can’t! I don’t think the National Working Committee will do that because in the first place, the National Working Committee sent a 13-man delegation which conducted election and 12 of them signed, proving that Uche Nwosu won the election with 265,000 votes as against Hope Uzodinma, who got less than 7,000 votes.
So, they can’t do that. “And there is a letter to that effect from the National Working Committee saying Uche Nwosu won. There is a Certificate of Return given to Uche Nwosu. There is a Police report saying Uche Nwosu. There is INEC report saying Uche Nwosu. So, nobody can do that and if they do that, that must be the worst imposition in the history of Nigeria,” he added. Amosun was reacting to a statement by Oshiomhole on Wednesday on the primaries, saying that his posture was because he would not sell his conscience to hold on to the position of national chairman. In a statement by the Ogun Commissioner for Information, Dayo Adeneye, Amosun stated that Oshiomhole failed the test of justice and fairness in the case of Ogun State.
He said: “We state without any fear of equivocation that no one, at least not on the side of Senator Amosun, has requested or expected Oshiomhole to sell his conscience. The least we expect of him is to abide by the rules and guidelines of the APC. Oshiomhole knows, as we know, that in the instance of the last primaries in Ogun State, he has fallen short of the minimum standards of justice, equity and fairness. The resort to hiding under the false claims about “conscience and integrity” is cheap.
“Oshiomhole knows that there were no other gubernatorial primaries in Ogun State other than the one that produced Hon. Adekunle Akinlade as candidate. He knows that the primaries into national and legislative offices were won 100 per cent by those declared winner by the panel he sent to Ogun State to oversee the exercise. He knows that the shenanigan of unknown court injunctions, unknown appeal panels and all sorts unleashed on the process by him and his cohorts are premeditated schemes executed to deny the members of the APC their true choice of candidates in the elections.
Our consolation lies in the fact that in the fullness of time, what remains unknown to the public will become bare and everyone will see Oshiomhole and his co-travellers for who they are. He continued:
“In his conduct, Oshiomhole has exhibited disdain for the interest of the APC and that of the National Leader of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari. Senator Amosun remains committed to his convictions about President Buhari and nothing in the shenanigan of the primaries will change that.
“Finally, Oshiomole’s claim that only three state governors are aggrieved about the conduct of the primaries flies in the face of the nationwide outcry that remains loud, trailing the exercise several weeks after.
We remind him that in any case, justice is not dependent on the number of whom it has been denied. Injustice to one is injustice to all. The overwhelming majority of members of the APC in Ogun State remain unshaken in their rejection of the gangsterism that has been visited on them in the conduct of the primaries. They remain resolved that the attempt to hand over their state and their patrimony to a rapacious gang of expansionists in the South West will be resisted, not only by members of the APC, but by the entire people of Ogun State who are too enlightened to tolerate such abomination.”