Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, embattled national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), may resign his position if the crisis rocking the party over his leadership is not resolved before the emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting slated for March 17.
Although some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party loyal to Oshiomhole at the weekend described as illegal the NEC meeting called by Victor Giadom, the party’s acting national secretary, a presidency source on Sunday said President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of the meeting and would be in attendance.
He said, from feelers they got, it seems President Buhari who had always given support to Oshiomhole might have had enough of Oshiomhole and might support the need to have him replaced.
“Yes, the president is aware of the NEC meeting and he will be in attendance. Except anything changes, the March 17 date is sacrosanct.
“The date of the meeting is not a unilateral decision by Giadom. He arrived at the date after due consultations with the party governors who are key stakeholders in the party”
“Forget the grandstanding from the APC Legal Adviser and Publicity Secretary saying Giadom is unfit to call a NEC meeting. They are on their own,” he said.
On options before Oshiomhole, our source said: “Right now, it is straight battle between pro- and anti-Oshiomhole forces.
“The events between now and March 17 will determine if he will remain or be forced out of office. If the crisis lingers till then, there is a possibility that he may have to resign as an acting national chairman will be appointed at the NEC meeting.”
On whether the APC Reconciliation Committee headed by Chief Bisi Akande can resolve the issue, our source said the crisis at hand had gone beyond what the Akande committee could handle.
“I think the Akande committee will be saddled with the task of ensuring peace in the states, especially in Edo and Ondo where governorship elections will take place in the second half of the year. This leadership crisis is far above what they can handle because powerful interests are involved,” he said.
In a similar development, our correspondent gathered that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the party, is not really enthusiastic about Oshiomhole remaining the party’s national chairman at all cost.
A close associate of the former Lagos State governor said though Tinubu played a key role in Oshiomhole’s emergence, he would not be one of those insisting that he remains in office at all cost if that will jeopardise the unity of the party.
He said it was a great disservice for anyone to say Tinubu was hell-bent on retaining Oshiomhole as party chairman so that he could use his influence to hand him the APC’s presidential ticket in 2023.
“Even though Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is currently in the United Kingdom, I can authoritatively tell you that he is not enthusiastic about Oshiomhole remaining in office as APC chairman at all cost.
“Asiwaju’s position is clear and that is, if the majority of the party’s stakeholders who elected Oshiomhole at the party’s national convention in June 2018 feel that he is no longer capable of steering the ship of the party, then that wish must be respected as no single individual is bigger than the party,” he explained.
Speaking further, he said: “It is erroneous for anyone to say that Oshiomhole is being persecuted because of Asiwaju’s presidential ambition which still remains in the realm of speculation.
“If Asiwaju decides to throw his hat in the ring, he will get the ticket through the votes of party faithful, not through the national chairman.
“If you recall, during the PDP’s convention in 2018, the party’s national chairman, Uche Secondus, and the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, were rooting for a particular candidate but, against all odds, Atiku Abubakar emerged as the presidential candidate.
“That is to show you there is little the national chairman of a party can do if the party members decide otherwise.”
Also speaking on the development, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), on Sunday said President Buhari’s aloofness on the leadership crisis rocking the ruling APC was causing more problems in the party.
Sagay, a chieftain of the APC, said President Buhari as the leader of the party should take a definitive position on whether Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the embattled national chairman, should resign or continue in office.
“Honestly, I think the president should stop being aloof on this very important matter. He should step in, call all the parties together, put his foot down and make clear the situation.
“If he really wants Oshiomhole to go, he has no option but to resign. If he doesn’t want him to resign, then he should tell all the other people to fall in behind him and let the party be united so as to focus on assisting his government deliver on his promises.
“I think the president is far too aloof over this matter. He really has to make a dynamic intervention now and make his position clear.
“Everybody respects him as president and so, if he firmly makes up his mind on the way to go, everybody will fall in line,” Sagay said.
On his part, Prince Tony Momoh, a former Minister of Information and one of the national leaders of the APC, said both the NEC and NWC could discipline Oshiomhole or allow him to continue in office as chairman when they meet.
He, however, said he was confident that the Akande reconciliation committee would resolve the crisis.
“The fact is that he has a four-year term and he can be removed by the body that elected him at the convention. Also, he can be disciplined by the NWC and NEC.
“The NWC is currently divided. They can use the provision of the constitution to make Oshiomhole stay or remain suspended, but that will be when they meet.
“The NEC can use their position to decide Oshiomhole’s fate when they meet,” Momoh said.
Also speaking, Rotimi Fashakin, a chieftain of the ruling APC and former national publicity secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), said the crisis in the party was due to selfishness of the politicians who were jostling for positions and not the handiwork of the opposition PDP.
“I wouldn’t really blame any opposition for what is happening. The Yoruba have a saying that if there is no opening in the wall, there is no way the lizard can enter. Some of our own selfishness as politicians play a lot in issues like this.
“Some of us want certain positions and, to achieve that, you want to bring others down to get what you want.
“What is currently happening has nothing to do with the opposition. There is a narcissistic desire and posturing in many individuals, and politicians are not excluded.
“As a politician, you want to attain positions and so you have your calculations. But as they are making their calculations, they should also bear in mind that God is making his calculations. At the end of the day, it is God’s own calculations that will prevail and work for Nigerians,” he said.