In a fresh twist to the crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress, governors elected on the platform of the party are insisting that the embattled National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, will not be allowed to handle the primaries for the 2023 general elections, Saturday PUNCH learnt on Friday.
The governors are also discussing with party stakeholders on the decision to be taken to determine the fate of Oshiomhole, who was governor of Edo State for two terms before becoming the leader of the party in 2018.
A judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja, Justice Danlami Senchi, on Wednesday granted an interlocutory injunction restraining Oshiomhole from functioning as national chairman of the party.
The judge, who premised his order on the November 2, 2019 resolution of the Ward 10, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State, where Oshiomhole comes from, held that the former labour leader could not continue to function as the APC national chairman when he had been suspended by his ward.
Senchi therefore ordered Oshiomhole to stop parading himself as the APC national chairman, adding that the party should deny him access to its national secretariat.
The court order was, however, greeted with mixed reactions. While the supporters of the embattled chairman opposed the order, those against him celebrated his suspension by the court.
But there was confusion on Thursday when the Federal High Court in Kano, which is a court of equal jurisdiction with the FCT High Court, voided Oshiomhole’s suspension within 24 hours.
Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa held that the November 2, 2019 “purported resolution of the Ward 10, Etsako West Local Government Area, Edo State APC,” suspending Oshiomhole as a member of the APC was of no effect. He also voided the suspension of Oshiomhole as a member of the APC, adding that the Independent National Electoral Commission should not recognise anybody, except Oshiomhole, as the party’s chairman.
But in his response, Oshiomhole, who said he had done his best not only when he was governor but also as the chairman of this party, claimed a minister and some governors were the brains behind the move to oust him. Speaking to State House correspondents in Abuja on Thursday, he explained that those behind the plot were those eyeing the presidential seat in 2023.
He added, “They are the ones who will plot how do we get rid of him because they want to be president in 2023 even when their hold on their state at the moment is doubtful if they were to go for referendum in terms of their approval rating.
“But you see, whatever you do, those who want to fight you will fight you. But I know that my tenure will be defined by God not by man.”
Meanwhile, an APC governor, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity on Friday, said it would be difficult for Oshiomhole to command the support of the majority of the governors, adding that the governors would hold informal discussions on the crises in the party and the fate of Oshiomhole.
Though the source refused to name the governors who he said were either backing or working against the ex-governor, he revealed that “not more than six of our colleagues are fully with the chairman.”
He added that there were also some governors who had yet to take a stand on whether Oshiomhole should go or be allowed to finish his tenure.
He said, “We are talking to ourselves (governors) and we are also talking to stakeholders. However, no decision will be taken without informing the President.
“Yes, he (Oshiomhole) was right to say governors are against him. We were also the ones that made him national chairman. He was a governor and he knew how important his office was. He cannot deny that we are a serious integral part of the party. So, if we are working with the minister he once abused are against him, that is fine. It is also an indication that he is losing grip of the party.
“We will not allow someone to de-market the APC ahead of the 2023 elections. That is why he has to go. A national chairman that is being teleguided by an individual because of his ambition can no longer lead us.
“Already, we have become the laughing stock of Edo and Ondo politics. How do we have a chairman that cannot reconcile warring factions in his state? He is also watching as the party is being rubbished by its members in Ondo State. What type of a father does that?
“There are so many of our governors who have wondered why the national chairman would give different directives to states on the mode of party primaries to be conducted. It is never done. Party primaries ought to be uniform in all the states. But in the book being read by our national chairman, all states are not equal. He will ask a state to go for open primary, then another for delegates’ primary. We are tired of inconsistencies.”
Source: The PUNCH