Edo APC crisis: NWC seeks Oshiomhole and Obaseki reconciliation

Governor Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole

On Wednesday, the Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum, Salihu Lukman, asked Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to resign.

“In the current circumstances, nothing short of a NEC or national caucus meeting of the party can resolve all our increasing organisational challenges as a party,” he said.

“It is either Oshiomhole respect the provisions of the party constitution and convene superior organ meeting to deliberate on all our challenges, or he should just accept his inability to manage the party and resign,” he added.

Lukman call for Oshiomhole’s resignation came in his reaction to the dispute between the APC National Chairman and the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki.

Naija Buzz News reported how two factions of the APC emerged in Edo State. One loyal to the Governor of the state, while the other loyal to Oshiomhole. The division led to the suspension of Obaseki and the state chairman, Anslem Ojezua, by the Oshiomhole-faction and the suspension of Oshiomhole and Lawrence Okah, the state APC Secretary, by the Obaseki-faction.

The division is happening just ahead of the 2020 Edo Governorship Election. Obaseki is seeking re-election, while Oshiomhole is working to ensure he does not emerge APC candidate in the election.

Lukman in his reaction to the crisis urged Oshiomhole to convene an APC National Executive Council meeting or resign. His position was supported by Senator Lawal Shuaibu, the APC Deputy National Chairman (North), who had previously criticized Oshiomhole and called for his resignation.

Mr. Lukman’s position was also supported by the National Vice Chairman (North-West), Inuwa Abubakar.

The APC Progressives Governors DG described the crisis facing the party as a “public disgrace” which he said must end.

Crisis and division is not new to the ruling APC as many political heavyweights with whom the party was formed in 2014 had since left for opposition parties.

The recent crisis facing the party is a Federal High Court order disqualifying the Bayelsa State deputy governorship candidate of the APC, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, ahead of the Saturday November 16 election.

Read Lukman’s statement below (as obtained by Naija Buzz News)

“In so many respects, it could be argued, it is a natural outcome of unfolding power play between Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki since June 2019 with the contentious inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly. Possible retaliatory response from both Oshiomhole and groups such as Edo Peoples Movement who are loyal to Oshiomhole should be expected. In other words, there could be counter- pronouncement suspending Governor Obaseki.

“Side by side with the news of the vote of no confidence was also the discomforting report of the Federal High Court judgment in Abuja disqualifying Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo as our Deputy Governorship candidate for the November 16, 2019 Bayelsa election.

“While expecting that every necessary step will be taken to vacate the judgment, it is very depressing for every committed party member to be subjected to such ignominious reality, which only reminds us of our reckless conduct in states like Zamfara, Rivers, Bauchi and Adamawa, which chiefly gave away electoral victories to the PDP.

“Instead of focusing on working to win elections, we are busy undermining ourselves. All these are ominous signs that we are about to re-enact the Zamfara, Rivers, Bauchi and Adamawa experiences in Bayelsa. It is Bayelsa today, Anambra, Edo and Ondo are being set up for similar experiences. Somehow, unfortunately, the NEC of the party, which is the organ vested with the statutory responsibility of responding to all these challenges appears to be suspended.

“The last time it met was in August 2018. In its place, the National Working Committee, which is an administrative organ with the responsibility of implementing decisions of NEC and other higher organs seems to have usurped the powers of NEC.

“Sadly, even the NWC, as of today, is a shadow of itself, as it has lost many members either on accounts of appointment into government or controversial suspension. For instance, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Deputy National Chairman (South) is today a Minister of the Federal Republic. Senator Lawal Shuaibu, Deputy National Chairman (North) is allegedly suspended. Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, National Vice Chairman (North-West) is similarly suspended.”

He also spoke on the suspension of some APC chieftains including; Ex-Governors Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun and Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for anti-party activities after the 2019 general elections.

“Whether all these actions are permissible by provisions of the APC’s constitution is highly contestable.Why should all these be allowed to happen? Why is it impossible to convene a NEC or even National Caucus meeting, which is supposed to hold every quarter to resolve all these issues?

“Why should the NWC under Oshiomhole continue to imagine that it can conduct affairs of the party without mandatory meetings of party organs? What legacy is Oshiomhole hoping to achieve as a national chairman by running the party in a way that suggests almost zero commitment to issues of party development?

“It is very painful for many of us who have had the privilege of being mentored by Oshiomhole to see him being devalued to a local factional leader from a very high pedestal of an illustrious national leader. As National Chairman, Oshiomhole hardly appreciates that he now has a national constituency and not just a state constituency, which may have been responsible for his apparent intemperance in the handling of matters affecting Edo State.

“I wish he paid similar attention to handling of issues affecting Rivers and Zamfara states during the 2019 elections,” he added.

National Working Committee reacts;

The party’s NWC in its reaction to the crisis rocking the APC in Edo has endorsed the suspension of Aslem Ojezua, the Edo State APC Chairman, who is loyal to the Governor of Edo Obaseki.

The APC in a statement issued by Lanre Issa-Onilu, the APC National Publicity Secretary, noted that the NWC decided to endorse Ojezua’s suspension because 11 out of the 16 members of the Edo State Working Committee signed his suspension.

“We have reviewed the process they followed and conclude that they have fulfilled the required conditions.

“We therefore uphold the suspension of the Edo State APC Chairman, Anslem Ojezua while we await the outcome of the fact-finding and reconciliation committee.

“Please note that the NWC’s objective and cause of action is strictly to address the root causes of the disputations and reconcile all parties to make our great party even stronger,” the statement said.

Ojezua however noted that according to the party’s constitution, the State Working Committee which suspended him does not have the powers to do so. He noted that removal of officers at state level can only be done by the State Executive Committee.

“Our constitution has a provision to remove officers at the state level. It is only the State Executive Committee that has the powers to remove any officer,” the suspended state chairman said.

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