The All Progressives Congress has said the disapproval being expressed by some of its senior party officials over the party’s primaries was a result of their failure to have their way during the exercise.
The party said it was public knowledge that some of its highly placed members were not only taking their loss at the polls very badly, but that they were looking for those to blame for their woes.
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, made the claims in an interview in Abuja on Wednesday.
He spoke specifically about the reactions of the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, and the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu.
He alleged that Amosun was embittered because his attempt to foist a candidate on the people, using undemocratic means, failed. The party spokesperson described the case in Ogun State as a straightforward one.
Issa-Onilu said, “If we speak to the merit of this case, the Ogun State governor –the whole world saw it, the visuals were everywhere where he gathered some aspirants, stakeholders and said clearly, there won’t be primaries and right there he pointed at whom the next governor would be. He pointed to another person, ‘this one, you are the next senator, House of Reps etc and himself the next senatorial candidate and he dished out these positions out there.”
The APC spokesman said that naturally, party members in the state reacted, stressing that even if the party stakeholders in the state accepted it, the party headquarters would not because the process was alien to the APC constitution.
He also said, “In the case of Ogun, after that exercise failed after they tried to handpick who will be what, they sent a letter that they had agreed on direct primary and the party had no choice but to endorse what you want.
“On the day they all came for screening, including the governor, suddenly they left other aspirants and returned to Abeokuta, gathered some people and sent back to the National Working Committee 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.”
Issa-Onilu equally referred to a subsisting court order which barred the Ogun State Executive Council of the APC from party activities but that the governor and his allies allegedly defied the court order and went ahead to carry out an illegal exercise which they wanted the NEC to validate.
He added, “The governor has done his best to get validation for this 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 certain monarchs, some traditional rulers from Ogun State to come and meet the president. I am surprised because someone like him, with due respect to him, 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 road to be followed.
“So, the problem he has is that, he was looking for whom to blame and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Aremo Segun Osoba readily came under attack and he blamed them for that.”
He said the question to ask was whether Tinubu and Osoba were the ones who gave directive to Amosun to organise his own primaries or whether they were the ones who instructed him not to participate in the primaries or his candidate not to participate in primaries the party organized.
Responding to aspersions cast on the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, by the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okwechukwu, the APC spokesman described it as unfortunate.
Describing Okechuckwu as a highly respected member of the APC, he said the VON DG’s words which were spoken in anger were a product of his frustrations with his failure to clinch the APC ticket for Enugu-West.
Issa-Onilu said, “You can also understand that it is not about him and the party, it is about him picking the senatorial ticket of his constituency and that is about ambition, and when that does not happen, you don’t expect him not to cry, he has every right to ventilate his anger and it is for the party to also listen to him.
“He may have gone overboard to make all sorts of ill-accusation but you also have to understand his present situation, he lost out. If that same process had favoured him, he would be in his office, in an air conditioned atmosphere, drinking coffee and taking a laugh at whoever is complaining but it didn’t work for him.”
The APC spokesman said it would be out of place to expect the VON DG not to complain after failing to get what he was looking for. He said it was unfortunate that he had picked on the party’s national chairman to vent his frustrations.
The party spokesman said the party had a robust internal conflict resolution mechanism which was available for all members who felt aggrieved and that the least the party expected from its rank and file was for people to use the mechanism instead of resorting to self-help.
He alleged that the VON DG twisted facts to suit his personal agenda because most of the things he told the media were at variance with the realities on the ground.
My support for Oshiomhole is 100 per cent –Gov. Bindow
Meanwhile, the Governor of Adamawa State, Jibrila Bindow, has denied involvement in any plot to unseat the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
Bindow was reacting to claims made by a group of protesters under the aegis of Federation of Buhari Support Groups that he alongside the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, was spearheading the revolt against Oshiomhole.
The governor who spoke exclusively to The Punch over the telephone in Abuja on Wednesday, said, “I am not involved in any plot. I support Adams Oshiomhole 100 per cent; I have no problem with him. How can anybody even suggest that I am involved in such a thing (plot)? Whoever said that owes me an apology.”
Members of the FBSG had while protesting at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday listed the governor as one of those championing the the sacking of Oshiomhole.
I was deceived and defrauded by APC, defecting member cries out
The APC member of the House of Representatives, Mr Musa Soba, on Wednesday carried out his threat to leave the party by resigning his membership.
Soba, who is from Kaduna State, is one of the over 70 aggrieved APC lawmakers, who protested their loss of return tickets, but lost at the appeal panel of the APC.
Soba’s resignation letter was read to members on the floor in Abuja by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
The lawmaker told his colleagues that his next political party would be disclosed soon.
Punch reports that the aggrieved members would start leaving the APC, beginning from Wednesday (yesterday).
Soba, who was furious, wrote in his resignation letter, the reasons he dumped the APC.
He accused the party of deceiving and defrauding him.
Dogara described the letter as “an epistle” before reading it.
The letter read partly, “As you are aware, the APC is yet to recover from the self-inflicted injury occasioned by double standard, indiscipline and sheer impunity in the conduct of its affairs.
“It is regrettable that the APC, which has enjoyed a lot of goodwill after its formation which culminated in our electoral victory in 2015, is now in disarray due to a complex mixture of ineptitude and inability to understand the dynamics of power in a democratic system of government.
“Mr Speaker, I have been personally short-changed by a system I so much trusted and believed in. I have also been serially deceived and defrauded by a political party I helped to nurture and sustain. However, it is the sharp division within the APC members and the mutual antagonism between the membership and the leadership of the APC more than any other factor that propelled me to take my exit.
The letter read further, “Accordingly, I wish to place it on record that from today 24th October, 2018, I cease to be a member of the APC, having tendered my resignation letter to all the relevant party organs.
“Since the political horizon is wide enough to accommodate my ideology and aspirations, I shall announce the name of my new political party in the next few days.”
When the final list of candidates was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abuja on Thursday last week, The PUNCH gathered that the majority of the aggrieved members were not captured.
Those confirmed to be on the list were the Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes, Mr Kayode Oladele; Mr Isiaka Ibrahim, Mr Baderinwa White, Mr Aminu Malle, Mr Goodluck Opia, Mr Mayowa Akinfolarin, Mr Lado Abdullahi and Mr Jimoh Oladele.
The aggrieved members have been meeting since the final list was submitted to take a decision on their political future.
Punch reports that the meetings were rounded off on Tuesday with the position that the affected members would leave the party in batches, starting from yesterday.
Recall that two weeks ago, President Muhammadu Buhari summoned the aggrieved lawmakers to a meeting at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in a bid to pacify them.
He had reportedly called the meeting following threats issued by the members that they would either dump the APC or work against it in 2019.
But, the presidential intervention did not do much to help the fate of the lawmakers.
Another lawmaker from Kogi State, Mr Hassan Omale, also defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the African Democratic Congress on Wednesday (yesterday).
Rivers Senator, Ideozu, dumps PDP for APC
In another development, the lawmaker representing Rivers West Senatorial District, Sen. Osinakachukwu Ideozu, has dumped the Peoples Democratic Party to join the APC.
His decision was announced by the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, at the close of plenary on Wednesday.
Lawan said, “Let me congratulate very distinguished Senator Osinakachukwu Ideozu representing Rivers-West for moving from the PDP to the APC. Congratulations, my brother.”
Also on Wednesday, the lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Senator Shehu Sani, informed the Senate about his defection from the APC to the People’s Redemption Party.
Sani had risen to speak on the motion moved by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi (PDP, Kaduna-North) on the current communal clash in Kaduna.
The lawmaker, who recently resigned his membership of the APC, introduced himself as a senator on the platform of the People’s Redemption Party.
Making the introduction dramatic, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, asked Sani to restart his introduction, which generated laughter in the chamber. Sani, again, stated that he was representing the PRP