2019: More crisis in APC as Oshiomhole alleges plot against him

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There appears to be a silent crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the nomination of the party’s candidates for the 2019 general elections.
This development came to the fore on Sunday as Simon Ebegbulem, the spokesperson of the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, issued two statements in rapid succession indicating some unnamed “influential” party leaders were up in arms against Mr Oshiomhole.
In the first statement, Mr Ebegbulem indicated the party leaders were plotting the removal of Mr Oshiomhole through a vote of no confidence, over the decisions of the party on disputes arising from the primaries in some states.
He stressed that the contentious decisions were not unilaterally taken by the chairman and were in any event for the good of all party members.
“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,” the first statement said.
“The crime committed by Comrade Oshhiomhole’s leadership is his disdain for impunity and circumvention of due process perpetrated in some of the states at the pleasure of some influential stakeholders.
“Oshiomhole has not, since stepping in the saddle, taken any unilateral decision in the running of the party affairs. All decisions, so far taken, passed through the mills of NWC deliberative sessions and enjoyed unanimous resolutions. The records are there. History will justify Comrade Oshiomhole and posterity will vindicate him.”
Mr Ebegbulem said the party is in “safe hands” with Mr Oshiomhole as it “moves towards victory in the 2019 general elections.”
He said the choice of the chairman “to rebrand the party, break the norms and do things the right way was the cause of issues,” alleging that those he referred to as conservatives were finding it difficult to accept Mr Oshiomhole’s ways.
The spokesperson said the clear message of the chairman and his leadership was that the party, and not ‘pseudo political empires” in the states, have the power to superintend the primary elections for the nomination of the party’s candidates in the general election.
He said the party will not surrender its functions to any other entities, as it is ready to always moderate the divergent tendencies and mediate the disparate political camps in the interest of party cohesion.
Mr Ebegbulem said it was sad that while the national chairman was working round the clock, some stakeholders had thrown selfish political agenda into the mix to threaten the building of institutional capacity for the APC.
He, therefore, urged these persons that rather than resort to “needless perfidy” at the threshold of a general election, they should imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship, bolstered by the fact that the Oshiomhole leadership was propelled more by its interest in propriety in which victory for the party could be grounded.
He assured all in the APC of the chairman’s respect and readiness to work with them for the good of the party.
However hours later, Mr Ebegbulem released another statement withdrawing the former, stating the earlier statement was not authorised by the chairman.
He said the earlier statement was issued in error, “as the chairman still enjoys the maximum support of party members.
“On Sunday, October 21, 2018, I issued a statement on alleged plans by some stakeholders to move against the leadership of the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole led All Progressives Congress (APC).
“I want to state categorically that the statement was not authorised by my principal, Comrade Oshiomhole, and I hereby withdraw the statement. I deeply regret the error.”
Mr Ebegbulem therefore said Mr Oshiomhole will speak on the issues affecting the party when there is the need to do so.
The seeming fissure in the ruling party is a fallout of the acrimonious primaries that produced its candidates for the 2019 general elections.
The primaries were trailed by controversies with a few states like Zamfara, Ogun, Lagos and Kaduna still to resolve the issues.
For Zamfara, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) disqualified the APC from fielding candidates for the various elections because the party failed to meet the deadline for conducting primaries.
The party has, however, challenged the position of INEC, insisting it will present candidates, arguing that it has produced its candidates by consensus as voting is not the only mode recognised by electoral laws for producing candidates.
While the state governor, Abdulaziz Yari, claimed primaries held in the state, a governorship aspirant, Kabiru Marafa, faulted the party’s position presented by Mr Oshiomole that candidates emerged through consensus in Zamfara.
Reports from the state said a state high court has issued an interim order restraining INEC from disqualifying APC’s candidates from the state.
In Kaduna, APC named incumbent Shehu Sani as its candidate for Kaduna Central Senatorial District, while the governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and his supporters kicked against this and called for primary election.
The panel sent to the state conducted the primary which was boycotted by Mr Sani, and declared an aide to Mr El-Rufai, Uba Sani, as winner.
This led to the resignation of an angry Mr Sani from the party on Saturday.
Similarly in Ogun State, the governor, Ibikunle Amosun, whose candidate lost in the governorship primary, said he will not support the party’s candidate, Dapo Abiodun

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