The deep rooted crisis in the APC cannot just be resolved by mere voicing of apologies by Adams Oshiohmole and some members of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party. There is no true reconciliation yet unless the crisis in the Edo State branch of the party is effectively resolved
By Anayo Ezugwu
ADAMS Oshiomhole, national chairman, All Progressives Congress, APC, is like the proverbial cat with nine lives. When it seems all hopes have been lost for him as the party national chairman, Oshiomhole was handed a lifeline by the Court of Appeal and President Muhammadu Buhari, who prevailed on APC governors to postpone the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17.
However, Oshiomhole has acknowledged his mistakes and extended the olive branch to the aggrieved leaders of the party, who were determined to remove him from office. During the National Working Committee, NWC, meeting in Abuja, he appealed to his colleagues in the NWC to put the interests of Nigerians first. He explained that recent challenges the party had had to deal with were normal in a democratic setting.
“Party politics is about contestations. I am not the best chairman in the world arisis in the nd I don’t claim to be so, you can fault my style, but you cannot fault my sincerity. The NWC is not divided. None of us seated here wants to destroy our party. My style is my style, but I’ve learnt to reconcile my style with the style of others,” he said.
Oshiomhole also said the NWC had resolved to withdraw all cases from the courts. “We have also resolved that we are going to withdraw all cases in court that any member of the NWC is involved in so that we must lead by example and we have shown that we are capable of managing ourselves and therefore we do not need the court to help us resolve what we are capable of resolving.”
Oshiomhole also announced that the NWC has lifted the suspension it slammed on some of its members. “People had issues which they felt strongly about, and as a result, the NWC took some decisions which affected my friend and brother, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, Deputy National Chairman, North. The NWC had a reason for suspending him as at then. Today, we have reviewed the situation and we believe that in the spirit of our renewed commitment to building unity and true reconciliation, we as leaders of the party elected at the convention should live by example.
“And that means for those we think have offended the system, we have chosen to lift their suspension. Sen. Lawal Shuaibu can resume his duties as Deputy National Chairman, North. We also reviewed the matter of Inuwa Abdulkadir, National Vice Chairman Northwest. By the same spirit, the NWC was unanimous in lifting the suspension and he resumes work with immediate effect. So, with these two decisions, the two members of the NWC, who were suspended, their suspensions have now been lifted.
“I have asked everyone and they have accepted, whatever they considered to be my own shortcomings, I have asked for forgiveness and they have forgiven and whatever I considered to be anyone’s shortcoming that irritated me, I have also forgiven. This is the way it should be. It can only be abnormal if people know how to fight and they do not know how to settle,” he said.
Irrespective of surviving at the national front and acknowledging his mistakes, the fire Oshiomhole ignited in Edo State chapter of the party is still raging. The home front is still mucky for him and his supporters, as Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, his political godson and his supporters are determined to expel him from the state chapter of the party.
The current development in the state shows that there is no end in sight as a faction of the party believed to be loyal to Oshiomhole opened a new secretariat. The secretariat, which is less than two kilometres from the old secretariat of the party was opened with fanfare and attended by party leaders and members. They were led by two governorship aspirants and former deputy governor of the state, Pius Odubu and Saturday Uwalekhue.
But the leadership of the faction loyal to Governor Obaseki, led by Anselm Ojezua, has dismissed the event, saying it remains the legally recognised leadership of the party and its secretariat is the only recognised APC state secretariat in Edo State.
Chris Azebanmwan, spokesperson of the faction loyal to Oshiomhole, said Col. David Imuse (rtd.) is the acting chairman of the party as Ojezua had been removed. This, he said, was confirmed when it was Imuse that attended the last NEC meeting of the party as Edo State chairman and that he was also there when the state chairmen visited President Buhari.
“After we removed Anselm Ojezua in November last year, armed thugs took over the secretariat in their thinking that we want to eject Ojezua from the office, but we know that no Edo citizen’s blood is worth the political ambition of anybody because we were aware that all of those things they were doing was in furtherance of Mr. Governor’s second term ambition.
“So we decided that at the end of the day the building does not make the secretariat. If the national secretariat of our party wants to get in touch with our party in Edo State, they will get in touch with us wherever we are located. It was fortunate that the campaign office of Mr. President for his second term was available so we decided to adopt that place as our operational base,” he said.
As the drama in Edo State progresses, Lawal Shuaibu, deputy national chairman of the party, has lamented that the structure of the party has become weak and urged the leadership of the party to reposition it. While addressing journalists at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, Shuaibu said he was never suspended, but rather stayed away from the party to avoid picking up unnecessary fights.