Aggrieved members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), appear to have crossed the rubbicorn, in spite of efforts by the party leadership to troubleshoot the raging crisis over the recently conducted primaries, which has put many of its foot soldiers at each other’s throat. Three governors, Mr Rochas Okorocha, Mr Ibikunle Amosun and Mr
Aggrieved members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), appear to have crossed the rubbicorn, in spite of efforts by the party leadership to troubleshoot the raging crisis over the recently conducted primaries, which has put many of its foot soldiers at each other’s throat.
Three governors, Mr Rochas Okorocha, Mr Ibikunle Amosun and Mr Abdulaziz Yari, helmsmen respectively in Imo, Ogun and Zamfara states, who are particularly angry that their preferred candidates were short changed, have reached for the jugular of the APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole.
The party’s National Working Committee (NWC) had announced the formation of the reconciliation committees, with each headed by a governor, to find a way out of the stalemate, so that members could go into the 2019 elections as one strong family. But many aggrieved members who perceive this as a way of giving sop to Cerberus and buy time, have already began to take a walk.
Imo State Governor, Mr Rochas Okorocha, who has been spoiling for war over the decision of the party’s NWC led by Mr Adams Oshiomhole to stick to Senator Hope Uzodunma as its governorship candidate, announced the movement of his son-in-law, Mr. Uche Nwosu, other aides and members of the State House of Assembly from the APC to the Democratic People’s Party (DPP).
Okorocha, who spoke with journalists at the Government House, Owerri, restated his resolve to work for the victory of Nwosu as the next governor of the state in 2019 even as he remained in the APC as its candidate for Orlu Senatorial District.
He also accused the APC governorship candidate, Uzodinma, of duping the deputy governor, Mr. Eze Madumere, former Secretary to the State Government, Mr. George Eche, and his predecessor, Mr. Jude Ejiogu, from the governorship ticket.
According to him, what happened in the APC primaries in many states presents interesting scenario as the party which he said, is known for justice, equity and fairness, has been dented by the National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.
“What happened in Imo was a clear case of injustice, where Uche Nwosu won the primary and was robbed of the ticket. This injustice must be addressed. However, in spite of the fact that my aides are leaving the party, I am still a member of APC and will not leave the party.”
“I tried to persuade them not to leave, but they have made up their minds. I have done what I can to make them remain in the party, they disobeyed me. I don’t have any moral justification to stop them.”
“President Buhari is not behind the injustice done by the party in the state but Oshiomhole is solely responsible for all the injustice meted to my people in Imo State. For me, I am still a member of APC. Buhari still remains my candidate and I will support him.”
“I cannot be part of destroying the mansion I have helped in building. I totally support the APC and all of its candidates for the 2019 general elections.”
Okorocha maintained that Imo people did not play politics of party but politics of individual, revealing that the people’s interest in APC was by his own making.
According to the governor, his son-in-law, Nwosu, remained the best and vowed to support him to fulfill his governorship ambition. “He is visionary, dutiful, hardworking and a proactive young man. He remains the best among all the candidates for the governorship election in the state.”
Nwosu had contested the APC governorship primary election in the state but lost out to Uzodinma, sparking off a wave of protest from Okorocha that has now culminated in the defection of his associates.
In Ogun State, some angry loyalists of Governor Ibikunle Amosun have already defected to Allied People’s Movement (APM). The grieving loyalists have insisted on the declaration of the governor’s anointed candidate, Mr Adekunle Akinlade, as the party’s governorship flag-bearer as condition for peace to reign in the party.
They are equally demanding the ceding of 26 House of Assembly tickets to Amosun’s loyalists, who had been “denied” candidates form (CF001) by the national leadership of the APC. The ruling party in the state was polarised following the submission of Dapo Abiodun’s name as the governorship candidate against the governor’s pick.
But Dr. Femi Majekodunmi, an APC chieftain in the state, has however appealed to Governor Amosun, to play the role of a statesman in resolving the controversy over the gubernatorial candidate of the party in the state.
Speaking with journalists in Abeokuta, the state capital, the party chieftain counsel Amosun “not to play any spoiler game by working against the interest of the APC” which he believed he holds dear to heart, stating that “the worth of a statesman is championing the interest of all.”
Majekodunmi said the governor who through his achievements has been regarded as the architect of modern day Ogun State, should not make the mistake of a political decision that will “consign his name into political oblivion.”
“But as a politician who has always been committed to the APC, I want to sincerely appeal to the governor to see the present issue concerning the gubernatorial candidate of the party as a test of his statesmanship in which the interest of the party must be supreme not only because of the entire members of the party in the state but of President Muhammadu Buhari, whom the governor always hold in high esteem,” he said.
In Zamfara State, the party does not appear to be having any headway as Governor Abdulaziz Yari said the visit of the APC reconciliation committee would be of no value if its main focus is to look into the controversy surrounding the state’s party primaries.
Yari, who spoke through his special adviser on communication, media and public enlightenment, Alhaji Ibrahim Dosara, said the effort of the committee would not make any difference since they had already filed a suit in a court before the constitution of the peace and reconciliation team.
He said that until the court delivered its verdict on the case, any reconciliation on the state’s party primaries would be an exercise in futility.
It would be recalled that the fight among nine governorship aspirants in the state had led to the unsuccessful conduct of primary elections.
Mr Ben Adaji, who contested for the Ankpa/Olamaboro/Omala in the House of Representatives in Kogi state, described the move as “belated.”
According to him, “To me, the reconciliation committee is coming belatedly because so many of the aggrieved persons had already left the party while others have gone to court. How would they reconcile with such people now?
“The APC NWC ought to have set up this committee immediately after the kangaroo primaries that took place all over the country,” he said.
The discordant tunes between President Muhammadu Buhari, leader of the APC and Oshiomhole, the party’s national chairman, on how to hold in check, the raging anger of members who lost out of the recently concluded primaries and avert a looming implosion as the 2019 election close in, appear worrying.
While the NWC led by Oshiomhole has asked all aggrieved members to take their cases out of the courts, threatening those who refuse to heed this position with some reprisal, Buhari who’s standing on the platform of the party for second term, says that is undemocratic. The President said aggrieved members of the APC, have the right to seek redress in court.
His position is contrary to the position of the NWC, of the party that recently threatened to sanction members that drag the party to court without exhausting all the party’s internal mechanism.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja, Buhari insisted that any member of the party displeased with the manner anything had been done, and felt deprived of his/her rights, such a person was at liberty to approach the courts for redress.
“We can’t deliberately deny people of their rights. We agreed that party primaries should be conducted either through direct, indirect or consensus methods, and if anyone feels unjustly treated in the process, such a person can go to court. The court should always be the last resort for the dissatisfied. For the party to outlaw the court process is not acceptable to me,” he said.
The NWC had recently in a statement, warned members from dragging the party to court. It said, “The party intends to activate constitutional provisions to penalise such members as their action is capable of undermining the party and hurt its interest”.
“We, hereby, strongly advise such members to withdraw all court cases, while approaching the appropriate party organs, with a view to resolving any outstanding disputes. In addition to this, aggrieved members are urged to take full advantage of the reconciliation committees the party has put in place. APC members should understand that as a progressive party that operates on the principle of change, it is not a matter of choice to keep to the rules.”