The chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Henry Ajomale, has said he was helpless at the decision of the Forum of APC State Chairmen to support the extension of the tenure of the National Working Committee of the party.
Ahead of the National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the Forum of APC State Chairmen met a day earlier and “unanimously resolved” to propose a two-year tenure elongation for the NWC headed by the party’s national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun.
The Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC eventually got the nod at the NEC meeting to retain their positions for another 12 months after the expiration of their tenure in June.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES on his return from the nation’s capital on Wednesday, Mr. Ajomale said the endorsement by the party chairmen was for constituted organs of the party at the local, state, and national levels.
“We endorsed the entire executives from the ward level to the national, so we did not single out anybody.”
Eye brows had been raised after reports emerged that Mr. Ajomale was a party to a decision that retained Mr. Odigie-Oyegun at the helm of affairs despite a persistent push for his removal by his benefactor, Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the party.
Last week, Mr. Tinubu accused the party’s national chairman of sabotaging his efforts at reconciling warring factions within the party, an assignment handed to him by President Muhammadu Buhari.
On Tuesday, the Nigerian Tribune reported sighting a hard copy of the communique at the end of the APC State Chairmen’s meeting in which 31 chairmen, including Mr. Ajomale, signed and which culminated in Mr. Odigie-Oyegun’s tenure extension.
But Mr. Ajomale told PREMIUM TIMES he was not aware of Mr. Tinubu’s position on the party’s national chairman, adding that his opposition to the proposal would not have made any difference.
“It’s not an issue of individual,” he said.
“Even if you oppose it, you have 37 chairmen and one person objecting to it doesn’t make any difference. And it was done at the NEC meeting anyway, the governors and everybody were there and I was not the one who proposed it.
“Everybody supported it, so it’s not a question of one person. How can one person have a different opinion among the majority?
“It’s democracy. Once you have majority who are stronger without you and at the NEC meeting, only four people objected, the others supported it, so I couldn’t have…. Out of about 152 people only four people objected to it, so how does that four make a difference?”
Asked if he was among the four that objected to the proposal, Mr. Ajomale replied, “Why should I? I’ve said I did not vote for either, but once you find about 112 people from 152 or so and only four people objected to 152 members of NEC, what can I do?”
On Tuesday, a group of aggrieved members of the Lagos State APC launched the Broom United Movement to, among other things, protest Mr. Ajomale’s activities within the party.
Fouad Oki, the convener of the movement, told PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday that they were unhappy at Mr. Ajomale’s role in extending Mr. Odigie-Oyegun’s position as the national chairman of the party.
“It goes to show exactly what Broom United Movement is talking about,” Mr. Oki said.
“The chairman of the Lagos State APC, as you are aware, is also the chair of chairmen of the states’ chairmen of the APC, and really they’ve been at it long before now, which he has been championing.
“His actions and activities call to question among several other things, is he working alone? What is the position of Lagos State APC in the Federation?
“I think he’s the only person in the position to tell us why it is so, because if our leader, who is also our benefactor is taking a position… I think..this is what I’m saying, when you go to attend briefings at the national level, you also must take due cognisance of the feelings of the people you are representing back home.
“So the question is, is he representing us? Has he been a very good ambassador at the national level? Did he discuss this with our leader, who is from our state? Are they in tandem with such position? Or maybe he even voted against it, I want to grant him that benefit of doubt.”
Mr. Ajomale declined to speak on the agitations of the new movement and the alleged divisions within the Lagos APC.
“I’m just landing from Abuja now. So until I do my investigation, I can’t answer you. I’m just arriving Lagos, I’m at the airport now. We are in a democracy. I’m going to consult and find out.”