The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, has hit back at governors of the party that are reported to be moving against him, saying he would not succumb to their antics and impunity.
He said contrary to insinuations by some of them and their allying stakeholders that he was out to liquidate the party, his mission was to galvanise the APC into a disciplined and cohesive platform ready to clinch victory at next year’s general elections.
Oshiomhole’s fight back coincides with the intensification of efforts by governors to remove him from office. THISDAY learnt last night that 15 of 21 governors of the party, being coordinated by one of them from the South-west, are collecting signatures to force a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that would unseat the national chairman.
The governors, multiple sources told THISDAY, would be converging on Abuja tomorrow to finalise their objective.
The party has also explained that it opted for consensus and made some hard choices in a desperate bid to meet the October 18 deadline set for submission of its candidates’ list for elections into the National Assembly.
In a statement yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Simon Ebegbulem, the APC national chairman said while the party would not surrender its functions, which are constitutionally circumscribed, to any other entities, it would always reach out to divergent tendencies and mediate the disparate political camps in the interest of party cohesion.
According to Oshiomhole, stakeholders should be assured that the party is in safe hands as it marches, sure-footedly, to victory in the 2019 general election.
In an apparent response to criticisms coming from some governors elected on APC’s platform, Oshiomhole vowed that only the party, and not pseudo political empires in the states, had the power to superintend the primary elections for the nomination of its candidates in the general election.
He said, “To be clear, Oshiomhole did not become national chairman of the governing party to bring it down a notch from the pedestal of its 2015 electoral victory let alone to preside over its liquidation.
“Rather, his single-minded goal, from the outset of his declaration of interest in the position, was to deploy his capacity in helping to strengthen and reposition the party as a truly supreme and disciplined political entity.”
Oshiomhole who blamed those he referred to as “conservative elements” for spearheading a plot to pass a vote of no confidence against him, said their main grouse was his insistence on party supremacy and discipline.
He noted that before his emergence as chairman, the party was wallowing in impunity and disrespect to laid down rules.
He said he knew from the onset that those who supported the status quo that he supplanted would not cave in easily but will fight back.
According to him, “Although, it might appear fortuitous to some persons that he became national chairman at the threshold of the 2019 general election, the truth is that there is no accident in predestination.
“We must appreciate the fact that it has pleased the Almighty God to place him in the saddle of APC-led leadership at this time for a purpose.”
Oshiomhole said the reforms he planned to bring about in the APC had begun to manifest in its vast flourish and ramifications, through instilling discipline, ensuring party supremacy, promoting due process, dealing with impunity and executive arrogance wherever they manifested to undermine intra-party electoral processes in the states.
“Again, we were not, in the least, deluded that the process of rebranding or rewriting the narrative of the four-year old party would be easy.
What we are witnessing in the APC today is Oshiomhole’s adroit management of the strains and pains that accompany the birth of a resuscitated governing party,” he said.
Referring to the party’s handling of the primary election crises, Oshiomhole said the message was very clear that the party and not pseudo political empires in the states had the power to superintend the primary elections for the nomination of the party’s candidates in the general election.
He said the leadership provided by the party in recent primary elections and the large-scale integrity of the processes were developments that should hence serve as exemplars in the administration of parties.
Oshiomhole also responded to criticism by one of the presidential aspirants on the platform of the party, Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, who said the APC could not win under his leadership, describing it as cooked narratives from those who failed to impose their preferred candidates on the party during the nomination process.
He said, “The crime committed by Oshiomhole’s leadership is its disdain for impunity and circumvention of due process perpetrated in some of the states at the pleasure of some influential stakeholders.
“These influential stakeholders, according to grapevine, have begun to mobilise to pass a no-confidence vote on the leadership of Oshiomhole, having failed to impose their preferred candidates on the party in the nomination process.”