There are strong indications that the plot to remove the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, has failed as he is enjoying the backing of a majority of the state chairmen of the party and other officers.
Investigations by SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday showed that except for states, such as Ogun and Imo, where the governors were not satisfied with the outcomes of the primaries conducted by the Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee, most state chairmen of the party had vowed to resist any plot to remove the national chairman.
There were reports a few weeks ago that there was a plot to remove Oshiomhole because of the manner he handled the party’s primaries, which some governors, including Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Rochas Okorochas (Imo) and Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), had faulted.
A member of the APC NWC, who confided in one of our correspondents, said the former Edo State governor had not reached out to state chairmen of the party to stop the plot.
The party chieftain stated, “There is no reason for him to do that because only two or three states are against him. Any plan to remove Oshiomhole will fail because he is enjoying the support of many states. Anybody that is bent on removing him now that elections are approaching will plunge the party into another crisis that may affect its chances at the polls.”
Oshiomhole’s job not threatened –Tinubu
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said the Oshiomhole’s position as national chairman is not under any threat despite allegations that he (Oshiomhole) reportedly collected huge bribes from some governorship candidates.
The former Lagos State governor said based on this, he was not lobbying to save Oshiomhole’s job because there was no basis for it.
Speaking in an interview with our correspondent on Saturday through his Media Adviser, Mr Tunde Rahman, he stated that allegations such as the one against the APC chairman were bound to trail party primaries as those who suffered electoral defeat would always want to blame somebody for their failure.
“I really don’t understand what you mean by lobbying. One, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is at present out of town. Two, and more importantly is the job of the APC Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, threatened in any way? I don’t think so.
“I’m aware that Chairman Oshiomhole has met with President Muhammadu Buhari at least twice since these allegations were made and the President has never indicated he has lost confidence in his chairman. All that has been said against the chairman remains mere allegations and he has challenged those who made such allegations to come forward with evidence.
“Allegations like that will normally come and this is understandable when you are confronted with primaries where some lost and some others won.”
Party marching away from impunity – Oyo chapter
The Oyo State chapter of the APC said the party had stopped impunity. The party’s spokesman in the state, Dr AbdulAzeez Olatunde, said Oshiomhole had yet to reach out to the party executives in Oyo to starve off his removal.
Olatunde, who is the Director of Media, Research and Strategies and Publicity Secretary of the party, stated, “Don’t forget that we are in the thick of intense politicking where all manners of decorated lies are being thrown at the national chairman because of his intimidating character as a former labour leader with lots of accomplishments.”
“The APC is unshakable. We are marching Nigeria away from the era of impunity,” he added.
No problem with national chair –Ekiti APC chairman
In the same vein, the APC Chairman in Ekiti State, Paul Omotoso, on his part, said the party in state had no issue arising from the primaries.
Omotoso said the party did not have any axe to grind with Oshiomhole over the primaries as “elections in Ekiti State were conducted and candidates who won were returned and presented intact to the Independent National Electoral Commission.”
The APC state chairman told Sunday PUNCH in Ado Ekiti on Saturday that the issues arising from the primaries, which led to Oshiomhole alleging that some individuals in the party had ganged up to remove him from office, would be resolved by the party.
He said, “ The national chairman did not reach out to us to help save his job. It is an internal matter which the party can handle. Everything will be resolved. Our leaders are capable.”
In Rivers State, the Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr Chris Finebone, said the party at the state level was not expecting Oshiomhole to reach out to it.
Finebone explained that the position of the APC national chairman was not threatened and as such did not need to begin to meet with any state chapter of the party.
“His (Oshiomhole) job is never threatened at all. It is only those who lost out in the power tussle that are trying to be heard,” he said.
Akeredolu, Ondo chair disagree
In Ondo State, it was reliably gathered that the Chairman of the party, Mr Ade Adetimehin, and the state governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, were not on the same page on the issue of the removal of the national chairman.
A source in the party said while Akeredolu was in support of Oshiomhole’s removal, the state party chairman was supporting the national chairman.
The source said, “The way things are going on in Ondo APC, it seems the governor and the chairman do not agree on the issue. The governor wants Oshiomhole out as the chairman but Adetimehin opposes this.
“As I am talking to you today, Adetimehin is confused on the matter because he doesn’t want to go against the wish of the governor, who is the leader of the party in the state, but he ( Adetimehin) couldn’t come out to give his support to Oshiomhole. That is why we are neutral on the matter in Ondo State and that is why the party is being silent on the issue.”
Attempts to get the APC state chairman did not succeed as he did not return calls to his mobile on Saturday.
We’re not happy with Oshiomhole –Imo
But the Imo State chapter of the party said it remained aggrieved with the decisions Oshiomhole took during the party’s protracted primaries in the state.
The state Publicity Secretary, Jones Onwuasoanya, said the party’s constitution was very clear on how an “errant officer” should be disciplined.
Onwuasoanya said, “The national chairman has not reached out to us to save his job. Let me state it that it is not within the purview of the state chapters of the party to decide the fate of any errant national officer.
“But the truth is that we are not happy with him on some of the steps he took regarding the outcome of the primary elections in Imo state.”
In like manner, in Ogun State, the crisis between the state chapter of the APC Oshiomhole had worsened following the refusal of the chairman to grant the request of the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun.