•Primaries exposed Oshiomhole’s incompetence, says Gov Akeredolu
•I’ll join women to protest naked in Abuja, says Ogun Dep Governor
•As governors opposed to Oshiomhole fail to meet again
ABUJA— The national leadership of All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday, rallied against forces seeking removal of the chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, describing Governors Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun and Rochas Okorocha of Imo states as bad losers.
The party said the governors sought to circumvent the democratic process to project their interests.
Governor Okorocha, our source gathered, may have continued his agitations against Oshiomhole, having discovered that contrary to expectations, his son-in-law’s name, Uche Nwosu, was not submitted as the APC governorship candidate.
Senator Hope Uzodinma’s name was pencilled down for submission in respect of the governorship by the Oshiomhole leadership to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The party’s claims came against the background of foundering moves by the anti-Oshiomhole lobby to rally themselves to force out the former governor of Edo State from the office of national chairman.
All these came as Governor Rotimi Akeredolu yesterday said the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries has exposed the incompetence of the party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. Akeredolu was reacting to an allegation that three governors led by him were bent on sabotaging the party.
Govs opposed to Oshiomhole fail to meet —
NEWS FLAKES NG further gathered that a meeting of the anti-Oshiomhole governors scheduled to hold last night was still on hold upon misgivings among some of the governors that the anti-Oshiomhole agitation had turned into a personal agenda for Governors Yari who is chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF and Okorocha, chairman of the APC Progressive Governors Forum, PGF.
The agitations were, however, yet to abate. Yesterday, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, threatened to protest naked with women party operatives in Abuja tomorrow.
The Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a session with correspondents in Abuja yesterday, decried the allegations against Oshiomhole and the national leadership as a fallout of the failure of some of the governors and chieftains to project their interests in the party.
Issa-Onilu who took up the issues raised against Oshiomhole and the leadership according to the states and personalities involved, said:
“It is a straight forward case. If we speak to the merit of this case, the whole world saw it, the visuals were everywhere, where the Ogun State governor gathered some aspirants, stakeholders and said clearly, there won’t be primaries and right there he pointed at who the next governorship, senatorial, and House of Representatives candidates would be. He named himself the next senatorial candidate.
“Even if they have accepted those people, it is against the procedure, especially for a governor to openly say a thing like that.
“It was clearly stated the party gave two options which is the direct and indirect primaries and you are to have stakeholders’ meetings where majority will decide.
“In the case of Ogun, after that exercise failed after they tried to hand-pick who will be what, they sent a letter that they have agreed on direct primary and the party has no choice than to endorse what they want.
“On the day they all came for screening including the governor, he suddenly left with other aspirants and returned to Abeokuta; gathered some people and sent back to the NWC that they wanted indirect primary and the other aspirants said we were all here together, that they didn’t know when this change was made.
“Meanwhile, someone had gone to court and the court had barred the state executive from anything to do with the party but we all saw on national television where the Governor and the state executive actually conducted their own primary and the process threw up the governor’s preferred candidate.
“It was the SSG in Ogun State, who was reading the result until it occurred to him that he had no power to announce the names. So he handed over to the state chairman of the party who also shouldn’t have done that – he is statutorily barred, the court had told him not to participate in the primary. Secondly, the state chairman has no power to conduct primary; that power resides with the NWC.
“So whatever the governor did was self-help and there is no provision for self-help in the party’s constitution. Eventually the NWC panel constituted to conduct the primary went to Abeokuta and did the primary. The governor’s preferred candidate chose not to participate in that exercise. So the party stands by the result of that primary it conducted in Ogun state.
“The governor has done his best to get validation for his self-help. That is not possible. The first thing he did was to start saying things that made it look like something wrong has happened when nothing of such has happened.
“Secondly, he took some monarchs to meet the president. I am surprised because someone like him, with due respect, should have understood the nature of the President we have; that no matter how close you are to him, he will listen to you but he will ask for the rules to be followed.
“So, the next thing we had, he was looking for whom to blame, and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Chief Segun Osoba readily came to his mind and he blamed them for that. The question to ask is whether they were the ones who gave directive to him to organise his own primaries or they were the ones who instructed him not to participate in the primaries or his candidate not to participate in primaries the party organised.
Against the background of the alleged procedural faults of Governor Amosun, the party spokesman put some posers to Governor Amosun.
“Am I asking for what is fair? Am I not putting the party in a position to ask them to do what’s wrong? Those are the questions we expect the Governor of Ogun State to ask himself. He needs to self-appraise, look at the actions he has taken and come to the conclusion that he’s taking the wrong route.”
Justifying the party’s action in initially putting a return ticket in the hands of Senator Shehu Sani, he said:
“It was the outcome of the primary, properly conducted. The party tried to protect its members in the National Assembly for obvious reasons, following what has been going on at the National Assembly.
“We know the carrots that had been dangled at them. We have a responsibility to ensure that we have a grip on the legislative arm of government so that we can run a smooth government.
“The initial effort of the party did not get the blessing of other people in that area who are also entitled to bid for positions. The primaries were eventually conducted, Senator Shehu Sani opted out; he relied on the earlier decision.
“At the end of the day, no matter what plan you have, even though you are acting on expediency, rule of law, democracy will prevail. It was democracy that prevailed in Kaduna.
“We submitted list of candidates for legislative elections in Zamfara State. If INEC did not take it, it is a different thing. We have a right to submit and INEC has the legal responsibility to receive. INEC cannot disqualify candidates; we all know that. We have said clearly that whatever claims INEC is making is neither correct nor a true representation of what happened and we will continue to take progressive steps to ensure that INEC does what is right.”
“The issue of submission of governorship candidates to INEC falls due on November 2nd, so we haven’t reached the stage of where we will submit names or beat the deadline. You are aware that there was a court action challenging the Imo governorship primary election. The position of the party is that whatever court judgement, good or bad, we must comply with it. We will only decide who will be APC’s governorship candidate for Imo State by November 2nd.”
On VON D-G, Okechukwu
The party spokesman also frontally rebutted assertions of nepotism and other charges levelled against Oshiomhole by Osita Okechukwu, Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, VON on Channels Television yesterday morning.
Noting that Okechukwu’s outbursts flowed from his failure to pick the Enugu West senatorial ticket, he said:
“He has a right to ventilate his anger and it is for the party to also listen to him. He may have gone overboard, making all sorts of unfounded allegations but you also have to understand the situation that he is in now; he lost out.
“There would be someone to blame in such a situation so he has picked on the National Chairman unfortunately. But the chairman has no blame in this. If you have issues with the process, you can complain about the process. We have an appeal panel, you could take recourse to that.
“If he does have very good reasons to have redress, he would get that but he has chosen to go that path (media) which is quite unfortunate. It is not everybody who has lost an election that has the capacity to soak it in. Some must express themselves in the way Osita Okechukwu has chosen to go about it. It is not about the National Chairman like I have said, it is about the fact that he is a party to the dispute and in such a situation, not everybody would win; some must lose. He lost it in his reaction to it, everything he said was completely at variance with the real situation.
Allegations of nepotism —
Responding to Okechukwu’s allegations of nepotism levelled against Oshiomhole that he populated the panels sent to the states with his cronies from Edo State, party spokesman said:
“There are five members for each state on the panel (which conducted the primary) we have 36 states and the FCT for the National Assembly and he (Osita Okechukwu) mentioned only nine panel chairs (from Edo state). Definitely, the others are from some (other) states. By the time you add up the figures, you find out that the appointment of nine cannot be called nepotism in a situation where you have 36 states. When you pick what suits your cause that is what he has done but by the time all the facts are laid there are no issues. Everything boils down to the fact that he lost out and he is not happy about it, there must be a culprit, somebody must be blamed for it.”
APC govs’ meeting on hold —
Meanwhile, a meeting of APC governors set to articulate issues against Oshiomhole was set to hold last night. However, the prospects of getting a full house was in doubt yesterday over assertions that some governors had departed from the agitation against the party chairman which some of them were beginning to see as a personal project of Governors Okorocha and Yari.
NEWS FLAKES NG gathered that the NWC had pencilled down Senator Hope Uzodinma as the party’s candidate despite the insistence by Governor Okorocha that he should have the Senate ticket for himself and the governorship ticket for his son-in-law.
A source privy to the development said:
“Rochas was asked to take one of the two, either Senate ticket or governorship but he is insisting on the two. What do we do with the others? He is saying that he can win the election for us alone, but we cannot take his word to the bank,” the source said.
The NWC, Vanguard gathered has upon the governor’s insistence pencilled down Uzodinma’s name for the governorship, a fact he said might have stimulated Okorocha’s angst.
Protests in Abeokuta —
Meanwhile, yesterday female party members from the three senatorial districts of Ogun State protested through the streets of Abeokuta against the emergence of Dapo Abiodun as the party’s governorship candidate. The women vowed that they would, by tomorrow, occupy Abuja naked in support of their agitation for Abdul-Kabir Akinlade to be recognised as the candidate.
They were received by the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga who promised to join them in their agitation in Abuja.
The state party woman leader, Shade Giwa who led hundreds of party faithful to the secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Oke-Ilewo in Abeokuta accused the NWC of announcing an aspirant that is not popular as the party’s governorship candidate.
Giwa also claimed that Dapo Abiodun was nowhere to be found during the primary election the party held across the state on October 2, 2018.
Giwa, while speaking with newsmen at NUJ Secretariat said “On October 2nd we voted for Hon Abdul Kabir Akinlade during the primary election and he emerged as the winner. But the electoral committee announced Hon Dapo Abiodun as the winner, who was nowhere to be found during the election.
“We are warning all the NWC led by Adams Oshiomole because women are going to take action if they fail to announce Akinlade as the party candidate before Friday. We are going to storm Abuja to express our displeasure and we will go naked.”
“The Electoral committee should be warned, Adams Oshiomole, should be warned, he should release our mandate, we give him till Friday to announce the result or else, by Saturday, we will meet at Abuja.
“We want the whole Nigeria to know that we in Ogun State are of Ogun Standard and we cannot take anything apart from that. In the party primary recently conducted in Ogun, we voted for Adekunle Akinlade, we don’t know Dapo.
Addressing the protesting women at Oke-Mosan Governor’s Office, the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Onanuga applauded the women for leaving their homes to defend their rights.
“I have seen the reason you came here in support of Honourable Abdulkabir Akinlade. For the past weeks they have been helping us in Abuja and they will continue to help us.
“Let us exercise patience; when it is time for us to go to Abuja, I’ll personally follow you to Abuja.
Party chairman, Chief Derin Adebiyi also claimed that Akinlade is the right choice.
He said, “We all know it is Akinlade we voted for; for those who didn’t vote and lied it is left to them.”
APC crisis: Group flays Amosun for deriding Tinubu, Osoba —
Meanwhile, a group within the APC in the South-West, Progressives Mandate, has flayed Governor Amosun over his attacks on the National Leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu.
In a statement issued by the coordinator of the group in Lagos, Hon. Biyi Akintayo, the group said the outburst of Amosun against Tinubu and the former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Segun Osoba, was unwarranted and needless.
According to the group, accusing Tinubu and Osoba of perpetrating fraud in the emergence of Prince Abiodun as APC governorship candidate in Ogun State, is either an act of deceit or forgetfulness on the part of the outgoing governor, Amosun.
The statement read: “How will Amosun accuse Osoba and Tinubu of electoral fraud? Has Amosun suddenly forgotten that these were the duo that enabled his emergence in 2011?”
Going down memory lane, the group said, “As new decampees into the now defunct ACN, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun and Hon. Abiodun Isiaq Akinlade were the star boys of the party in the build up to the 2011 polls.
When about seven other aspirants decided that they should jointly have a preferred candidate, held at Ikeja and chaired by Aare Remi Bakare with the likes of Dr. Kayode Soyinka, Prince Kayode Tejuoso, Mr. Temitope Kuyebi, Gbenga Obadara and Hon. Abiodun Akinlade amongst others in attendance, Hon. Akinlade emerged and his name was to be forwarded to the leadership of the party the following week.
“Shockingly, before the name of Akinlade could be officially communicated to the leadership of the party in just less than a week, a meeting was summoned by Osoba, who is the leader of the party at an hotel in Abeokuta GRA, which is not far from the residence of Amosun.
“With the then chairman of the ACN, Alh. Tajudeen Bello and late Baba Adeniji presiding over the meeting alongside the Abuja stakeholders, the incumbent governor, Sen. Amosun was, to the chagrin of other aspirants, announced as the choice of the party hierarchy. After all the hues and cries, the other aggrieved aspirants agreed with the decision and moved on.
“Just about a week after the name of Senator Amosun had been forwarded to INEC as ACN candidate, Amosun left for CPC, but he swiftly showed up when the guber ticket had been conceded to Hon. Akinlade.
“After pleading with the same Asiwaju Tinubu that he is deriding today, Baba Osoba was prevailed upon to forgive Amosun another chance and the rest remain history.
“In sum, it is on record that the duo of Osoba and Tinubu were conspicuously instrumental to his emergence as the Governor of Ogun state. For the records, all these happened without Amosun going through any election. The question begging for answer is, has Amosun forgotten so soon?
“One is not unaware of how Amosun begged his way to the Oke Mosan Governor’s office in 2011; he was even at the Owode-Yewa residence of Hon. Abiodun Akinlade to commend him for conceding the ticket to him in the build-up of the 2011 polls.
For Amosun to call on them of fraud as regards their silence on the emergence of Dapo Abiodun as APC candidate for 2019 polls, leaves more to desire especially for the discerning minds in Ogun State, the statement said.
Oshiomhole’s incompetence exposed — Akeredolu
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu yesterday said the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries has exposed the incompetence of the party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
Akeredolu was reacting to an allegation that three governors, led by him were bent on sabotaging the party.
The governor in a statement last night issued in Akure by his Senior Special Adviser on Special Duties and Strategy, Dr. Doyin Odebowale said the primaries “not only exposed the “sheer incompetence” of APC’s national leadership, but revealed “a shocking proclivity towards banditry and impunity”.
He said recent events justified his opposition to Oshiomhole’s choice as party chairman.
According to him: “Those who feel aggrieved reserve the right to demand justice, including calling for Oshiomhole’s removal.
Akeredolu, however, restated his commitment to work “assiduously” for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election, who he said is loved by the people of Ondo who see his re-election as a “patriotic duty”.
Akeredolu described organizers of the Abuja protest as “opportunists”, and denied the allegation that he led governors of Ogun, Kaduna Adamawa and Ekiti States against Oshiomole’s leadership.
He said he found the report laughable and distracting, adding that as a fiercely independent personality, he was not about to change his attitude to please any person or a group of persons.
“There is no truth in the whole contrivance. The governor has been pre-occupied with matters of governance in Ondo State for which he was elected,” the statement said.
The governor recalled his “noble interventions” as Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President at critical moments in the cause of the progressives, including helping restore Oshiomhole’s stolen mandate.