These are trying times for Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, embattled national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Despite leading the party to victory in the just concluded Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections, many stakeholders in the APC still believe Oshiomhole’s continued stay as the number one officer in the party is doing the party more harm than good and thus have asked him to throw in the towel or be forced out.
Critical stakeholders in the APC such as John Odigie- Oyegun, the man whom Oshiomhole succeeded have asked him to resign as the national chairman of the party saying he lacked what it takes to run a national party.
“Oshiomhole fails because he lacks the temperament that is required to run a political party. He lacks the capacity to manage the different interests and tendencies that constitute a political party. He acts in direct opposite of decisions taken by NWC. No minutes of NWC meetings which, in any event, take place outside the party secretariat”.
“How would you not have crises in states with the confusion that Oshiomhole created when he gave the states freedom to choose their methods of choosing candidates for elections? Much of the crisis in states arose out of sheer incapacity on the part of the current chairman. How does this Oshiomhole’s incapacity become traps by Oyegun?”
“He (Oshiomhole) engages his mouth before engaging his mind, so he offends party members. Only a bad carpenter quarrels with his tools. Indeed Oshiomhole is degrading and demarketing the party. Rather than seek to bring more people on board, he is chasing people out of the party with his agbero style of engagement,”.
While many may have claimed Oyegun’s outburst is borne out of envy having lost his position to Oshiomhole, that cannot be said of Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), who recently said the former Edo state governor is creating more problems for the party with his aggressive attitude.
Sagay said he would personally demand the removal of Oshiomhole if Edo State, the only state controlled by the APC in the South-South, was lost to the opposition.
In a chat with Daily Independent on the lingering rift between Oshiomhole, a former two-time governor of Edo, and his successor, Governor Godwin Obaseki, Sagay said he had severally advised Oshiomhole on the need to be less combative in his dealing with people but added that the former labour leader ignored his advice.
According to him, Oshiomhole’s aggressive approach has cost the APC some states in the country such as Zamfara, Rivers, and others.
Expressing worry over the developments, Sagay said if care was not taken, the APC might be left with no single state by the time Oshiomhole completes his tenure, given his confrontational approach to issues.
According to the legal expert, “I have advised Oshiomhole rather unsuccessfully to stop being combative, to stop punching, and all these aggressive behaviour.
“In a leadership position, you need to stoop to conquer, you need to be restrained. Even when people are wrong and you want to correct them, you need to show that you are not after humiliating them and that you will work with them to correct things; not to be aggressive, threatening and engaging in pugilistic method. I told him this but he ignored it.
“Because of his aggression, we have lost quite a number of states. We lost Rivers State; we didn’t have a chance to contest. We lost Zamfara, where we won the election and all our victories were handed over by the Supreme Court to the PDP, all because of Oshiomhole’s aggression. I think there were also two other states which we lost because of his aggressive attitude.”
While the debate is still raging, Charles Idahosa, a former Commissioner for Information in Edo state and chieftain of the party on Monday raised the alarm that the party is dying under Oshiomhole’s leadership.
Idahosa, who made the call while reacting to issues surrounding the crises rocking the party in the state, added that the APC is losing its grip due to alleged overbearing attitude of Oshiomhole.
Apparently alluding to Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s claim that he was among the founders of the APC, Idahosa insisted that “those who claimed to have been among those who formed the party in the state are not.”
According to him: “I am a founding father, I see people just coming into the party to destroy it. That is one of the reasons I cannot keep quiet”.
“I happened to have been among the five Nigerians that formed the Action Congress for Democrat (ACD), that is today APC. In 2006, after we formed the ACD, [Lucky] Igbinedion disowned ACD.
“I was the one that is being disowned, because in 2006, they saw me at a meeting of the ACD. The Edo State government at that time quickly disowned me, but it is very interesting today that everybody is now claiming APC.
“Adams Oshiomhole as at that time was still carrying placards on the streets of Lagos and Abuja, protesting as a labour leader. That was when we formed this party. We knew the roles he played that time.
“APC is dying gradually under Oshiomhole, and there is no way somebody like me can see issues and pretend not to see it.”
Idahosa who said that Oshiomhole has no political home-base, noted that the only way out for him is to tender his resignation letter as national chairman, as he lacks the political acumen to lead the party, but as a labour leader.
“Lech Wałsa was a great labour leader who led a riot in Poland and for that popularity, they voted him to become President of Poland and after few years, he crashed out. Trade unionism and activism is completely different from politics”.
“Oshiomhole has been a very good trade union leader, but as a leader of a political party, he does not have the temperament, he does not have the character to lead the party”.
“The best we can do for himself is to tender his resignation so that the party can have peace because the way the party is going, it is going out of control”.
“The National Chairman is the problem we have in Edo state . We don’t want bloodshed in Edo. Let him resign and there will be fresh elections. These divisive roles he is playing he wants to be dictating what happened in this state. It is time for him to step aside”.
“Oshiomhole is part and parcel of the whole thing. Eight members of the State APC exco are in Abuja. Who is feeding them? On the 27 he invited Anselm as chairman, on December 6th he paraded another person that the court has restrain as Chairman; a man that cannot enter the party secretariat in Bénin.”
He however expressed optimism that Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki would get the party’s ticket whether through direct primaries or indirect primaries, noting that it is the party in the state that decides what patterns it will use to conduct its primaries.
On rumoured defection of Governor Obaseki to the PDP, Idahosa dismissed the rumour as being peddled by those he termed Abuja politicians.
“It is a black lie to say that the governor is leaving the party for another. Governor Obaseki is not leaving the APC for anybody. He is getting the party ticket and he must do his second term” he said.