FEROCIOUS BATTLE FOR APC’S SOUL

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…Why Oshiomhole must go!
…The serial corruption allegations against him

As the ferocious battle for the soul of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) gets messier by the day, members of the Cabal in Aso Rock are believed to be working round the clock to kick out the embattled party Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, for his ‘sins’, reports SONDE ABBAH
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For Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the saying that “Trouble doesn’t rain, it pours” has assumed a particularly dire significance. No sooner had he won the ruling party’s prized post a few months ago than all sorts of troubles started to pour down one after the other.

In fact, on the eve of his coronation as APC chairman a civil society group had gone to court praying that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) be compelled to probe the corruption allegations made against him following his eight–year tenure as Governor of Edo State. Tellingly, rather than let the process proceed – at least to show that he has no skeletons in his cupboard – Oshiomhole hired a battery of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) to block that move.

The dust raised by that matter was still swirling when the Labour leader–turned–governor plunged into a verbal war with Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State. In the heat of the allegations and counter – allegations that ensued, Ortom filed a suit against Oshiomhole at a High Court in Makurdi, Benue State in which he, among others, sought to prove that contrary to Oshiomhole’s puplic posturing, his eight – year tenure in Edo State was riddled with corruption and sundry financial recklessness.

As if these were not daunting enough, Oshiomhole found himself in the eye of the storm during and after his party’s ward and state congresses on the one hand, and governorship and legislative primaries on the other. Controversies raged over the apparent double standards that characterized the primaries in many states. A classical case in point is the APC’s governorship primaries held in Lagos and Ogun states respectively in identical fashions. Curiously, while that of Lagos State was okayed by Oshiomhole and APC’s National Working Committee (NWC) even though the chairman of the panel which supervised that exercise (Clement Ebiri) had declared it null and void, that of Ogun State was inexplicably cancelled. To make the case even more baffling, one of the Ogun aspirants was eventually announced in neighboring Lagos State as the winner despite the fact that no fresh primary had been conducted.

Against this backdrop, it has come at little or no surprise that there has been no peace for Oshiomhole and his party in recent weeks, leading to his being interrogated and/or detained penultimate week by the Department of State Services (DSS). APC’s spokesmen had initially denied the whole thing, only for Oshiomhole himself to eventually confirm that he was indeed quizzed by the secret service. He however danced around the issue of whether or not the DSS pressurized him to resign by merely stating that “I am not expected to take orders from DSS. . .”

The mere invitation of someone in the mould of the ruling party’s chairman by an agency controlled by the APC – led government is as unprecedented as it is incredible. It brought to the fore, like nothing else, the extent of the in-fighting that has been rocking the APC prior to, and especially since, the advent of Oshiomhole as the party’s chairman.

On the face of it, Oshimohole ordeal is the fallout of the APC primaries and the attendant recrimination by a group of sour losers, notably Governors Yari, Okorocha, Amosun and Akerodole of Zamfara, Imo, Ogun and Ondo States respectively. Investigations by DESERT HERALD however, indicate that war of attrition in APC runs deeper than the post-primary squabbles. Rather, it is part of a fierce fight for the control of the governing party as various contending forces are locked in mortal combats to outwit one another.

Indeed, this medium gathered that aside from the aggrieved APC governors and tens of National Assembly of APC extraction members, the former governor of Edo State is contending with a powerful force said to be hell bent on getting rid of him. It was authoritatively gathered that this influential force, made up of a number of APC chieftains loyal to the party’s immediate past chairman, John Oyegun, five incumbent Ministers and three members of one of the cabal said to have a stranglehold on the Buhari presidency, are reportedly scheming adroitly to ensure Oshiomhole’s ouster.

“Some of these Oshio–Must–Go’ arrowheads had been baying for his blood even before the hotly disputed APC primaries,” an inside source squealed to DESERT HERALD last weekend. “No sooner had he emerged than he started behaving like he owns Mr. President, insisting on seeing him whenever he feels like and also trying to teleguide him (Buhari) to suit his (Oshiomhole’s) selfish interests. In short, the man’s in-your-face, dare-devil style irritates them (Buhari loyalists) and they resolved to ensure his ouster soonest”.

The source, who is close to a top official of the presidency, added: “Aside from the man’s “intrusive influence” on Mr. President (as they branded it), they detest the way and manner he has been shamelessly acting the script of the APC strongman, Bola Tinubu, at Buhari’s expense. Matters worsened when, during his public squabble with the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, Oshiomhole arrogantly declared to a shocked nation that whereas Buhari allows his Ministers to disobey him and go scot free, he (Oshiomhole) would not tolerate such rubbish. To Buhari’s loyalists, that was demeaning both to Mr. President and his position; they stiffened their resolve to get rid of him”.

Not only did the crises that bedeviled APC’s primaries played into the hands of this group, it threw up more anti-Oshiomhole elements. For instance, the President’s wife, Aisha (whose brother unsuccessfully contested the APC governorship primary in Adamawa State), the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), and the Minister of communications, Adebayo Shittu have all publicly attacked Oshiomhole even as they questioned his integrity.

“Aware that the president may not agree to Oshiomhole’s removal so soon after his election as APC chairman, they decided to go about it through the backdoor” another reliable source disclosed to our correspondent. “In this respect, they latched unto the corruption allegations haunting the man. Knowing full well that the two anti-graft bodies (EFCC and ICPC) may foot-drag, for obvious reasons, they turned to the DSS, hence Oshimoholes sensational arrest and interrogation”.

DESERT HERALD was authoritatively informed that that unexpected move, which was deliberately executed without Buhari’s knowledge, is merely the first in the series. “The idea is to wage a series of de-marketing wars against him from different fronts”, the source added. The skeletons in his cupboard, dating back to his governorship in Edo and the bribery allegations that characterized the APC primaries, will be exposed through proxies”.

The objective, needless to say, is to make the APC chairman look like a baggage that even Mr. President would rather not work with. “A vote of no-confidence would then be used to oust Oshiomhole”,:the source concluded. What remains now, our Correspondent gathered, is to fine–tune the details of the vicious plot and select the ideal time for its execution. Oshiomhole’s days as APC chairman are apparently numbered. It remains to be seen whether he would survive this gang-up from different angles by his Implacable enemies.

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