The All Progressives Congress (APC) in its response to Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, a former National Chairman of APC, says that he (Oyegun) is responsible for the current indiscipline in the ruling party.
Naija Buzz had few days ago reported how the former APC Chairman described the incumbent Chairman Adams Oshiomhole as a failure because he lacks the temperament and capacity required to run a political party.
He further noted that Oshiomhole does the opposite of decisions taken by the National Working Committee.
Senator Lawal Shuaibu, the Deputy National Chairman of the APC, had last week asked Oshiomhole to step aside because he was only doing more damage than good for the party.
Shuaibu noted that Oshiomhole was responsible for the crisis that rocked the Zamfara Chapter of the APC.
He further noted that the APC Chairman lacks the necessary experience to run a political party.
The APC however noted that its former chairman accommodated impunity and promoted indiscipline in the party, adding that he lacked the courage to confront those who couldn’t operate by the party’s rule.
“Let me agree that the NWC that led the party into the 2015 elections and continued till June 2018 did nothing different from what you would find in PDP. It was a period the party was seen as a mere vehicle to attain political office. The system accommodated impunity as certain members appeared to be superior to the party. Their interests were far more important than the collective interests of the APC, even when most times such interests are at variance with the ideals the party stand for,” the spokesman for the ruling party, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said.
“You would recall that it was under that leadership that some impudent members of APC called the bluff of the party by imposing themselves on the National Assembly as leaders contrary to the position of the party. Where was the party? Where was the discipline when this happened? It would be difficult to calculate what lack of courage to assert the party supremacy cost APC over that period. The consequences of the inaction of the party were unimaginable. We all saw the consequences on governance as the National assembly practically held our government to ransom. The impunity, which President Muhammadu Buhari has rightly described as lack of patriotism, constituted an unfortunate hindrance to the smooth running of government.
“The leadership under Chief Oyegun, with due respect to him, condoned all sorts of acts of indiscipline from certain members. It is not surprising that the current National Working Committee inherited such a huge mess, where the party was struggling to differentiate itself from the delinquent PDP. We all know that PDP was practically dead following the devastating defeat of 2015. The PDP bounced back not because the party has changed its insidious way or did anything different, but because APC did not live up to expectations.
“It goes without saying that when an organisation is unable to enforce its own rules, it would suffer the consequences sooner than later. We should not be ashamed to say that our party’s leadership under Chief Oyegun lacked the courage required to confront the pockets of political despots who could not operate by the party’s rules.
Responding to Senator Shuaibu’s call for Oshiomhole’s resignation, the APC spokesman said that he was only looking for a scapegoat to pass on the blame for losing Zamfara State to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“When he (Senator Lawal Shuaib) alleged that the National Chairman is running the party like a sole administrator, does that mean the rest of us are incompetent? I doubt if he would have many members of the NWC supporting him in this. The ability to face up to the challenges and to take responsibility for mistakes are important qualities of a leader. If the NWC had taken any action that did not produce the desired result, it would be plain cowardice to look for a scapegoat or pass on the blame to another person.
“Since the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC came to office, we have been doing our best to institutionalise the best ideals of progressive politics. We understand that we must bring everyone under the fold of the party, where all of us would be subject to our party’s rules and conventions. We understand that impunity can provide temporary advantage and even successes. But ultimately, those successes would be short-lived. PDP is a living example of the inherent calamity of impunity. The PDP era brought calamity to the country and ultimately led to the loss of power. What I read from that letter is a call to continue along that trend. With due respect, that is not what APC stands for,” Issa-Onilu said.
He further noted that the party has grown significantly under the leadership of Oshiomhole. According to him, despite the losses recorded in some states at the 2019 general elections, there are improvements on the result of 2015.
According to the APC spokesman, the state chapters of the party where APC lost refused to follow Oshiomhole’s directives.
“Since we are comparing 2015 to what has happened now, we should remember that our President was elected in 2015 with over 15 million votes as against the PDP’s 13 million plus. There was about 2.5 million votes difference. Under Oshiomhole, we have over 15 million votes as against PDPs 11 million plus. There you have nearly four million votes difference. So for the Presidential election, our party has improved significantly on the result of 2015.
“The situation was expectedly different at the state level. The state players have the foremost responsibility to win elections in their states. What we can do at the national level is to provide the necessary support. The support starts from conducting transparent primaries that ensure the party produces popular candidates. Of course, certain state players in our party expected business as usual where other players are subjugated for them so that their wishes are imposed on other APC members in their states. This we could not do and I dont think we need to apologise for doing the right thing. By now, the states that failed to follow the partys directives are the ones that may be regretting.
“We have examples of Governors who are true progressives who worked with the NWC to ensure things were done right. Look at Kaduna, Plateau, Niger, Kano, Nasarawa, Katsina, Jigawa, Borno, Yobe, etc. The Governors and leaders of APC in these states worked according to the rules in conjunction with the NWC and we all can see that the sweetest victory is the one achieved under a free and fair engagement with the opposition.
“This is what our party wants to showcase. This is the example President Buhari has shown by ensuring that we had a presidential election in this country without seeking to award himself any advantage over his opponents. The President has the instruments to use under him, but he rather subjected himself to the rules of the contest. If the President did not expect the party to manipulate his own election, why should anyone else expect that from the party?
“These people who are looking for who to blame are not talking about Kwara and Gombe. These were PDP states that we won landslide. We won in these two states because the local players adjusted to the change agenda of the party. I am from Kwara, we won 100 percent in such a transparent manner that the PDP had nothing to complain about. Do not forget that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki is from Kwara. Kwara presented us the evidence that if we shun impunity and play by the rules, Nigerians would reward us with votes. The same is the situation in Gombe. Do these people want to give Oshiomhole credit for our victories in Kwara and Gombe states? Or they just believe APC must win by all means everywhere?”