The multiple crises rocking Nigeria’s ruling party showed no signs of abating on Saturday as a governor attacked both the party chairman and another major leader of the party.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State accused Adams Oshiomhole of being a garrulous leader who was pandering to the whims of Bola Tinubu, who he described as the “Capo Di Tutti” of Lagos.
The “Capo Di Tutti” is a term of Italian origin often used to describe the overall boss within a mafia family or group.
Although Mr Amosun did not directly name Mr Tinubu, the statement by his information commissioner made apparent reference to Mr Tinubu who has firm control of the APC in Lagos State.
The governor accused the party chairman of conniving with Mr Tinubu to wrest control of the party structure in the South-west.
He had made a similar accusation about two weeks earlier, accusing Mr Oshiomhole of conniving with a “cabal in Lagos” to take over the APC in Ogun.
In the Saturday statement, Mr Amosun was reacting to Mr Oshiomhole’s statement on Friday where the latter described the Ogun governor and his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha, as behaving like emperors.
PREMIUM TIMES published Mr Oshiomhole’s criticism of the governors on Friday at a press conference in Abuja.
Mr Oshiomhole explained that the Ogun governor’s loyalists conducted a primary not recognised by the APC national headquarters.
“However, Ogun State governor decided in his wisdom to conduct his own self help, I mean resulting to what you can call self-help by conducting what he called his own primary. The Secretary to Ogun State Government became the Chief Returning Officer and I and other NWC members were watching the Channels Television and we saw the Secretary to Ogun State Government proclaiming himself as the returning officer, and purported to have conducted primary,” Mr Oshiomhole said.
In his response, on Saturday, Mr Amosun, in a statement by his information commissioner, Dayo Adeneye, accused the party chairman of double standard.
‘The ground on which Oshiomhole disputes the gubernatorial primary in Ogun State is that the result was not announced by the State Electoral Committee from Abuja, therefore the governor resorted to self-help,” Mr Adeneye said.
“We wonder why Oshiomhole accepted the result of the primary election in Lagos State whose result was also not announced by the State Electoral Panel. Why will the same scenario be acceptable in Lagos State but regarded as self-help in Ogun State? Is it because it was executed by the Capo Di Tutti in Lagos State?”
PREMIUM TIMES reported the controversial Lagos governorship primary where the primary committee sent by the party headquarters initially distanced itself from the primary before making a U-turn. In the Lagos case, Mr Tinubu had his way and incumbent governor Akinwunmi Ambode lost his chance for re-election as he lost the APC primary and eventually accepted the result.
Mr Amosun said the design of Mr Oshiomhole and his “collaborators” to hijack the government of Ogun State and hand it over to a gang of expansionists in the South-west will fail.
Despite authorising the release of three statements within two weeks attacking the party chairman, Mr Amosun said he would not exchange words with Mr Oshiomhole because where he comes from, there are “acceptable standards of conduct expected of people holding certain offices, a virtue he wishes Oshiomhole would exhibit.”
THE CAUSE OF CONFLICT
As with many other states, the conflict between Messrs Amosun and Oshiomhole was brought to the fore following the APC primaries in Ogun State.
The governorship primary supported by Mr Amosun produced his anointed candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, as governorship aspirant while the primary committee sent by the party headquarters in Abuja conducted a separate primary in Ogun. The latter primary produced Dapo Abiodun.
Mr Abiodun is believed to be the preferred candidate of Olusegun Osoba, a former Ogun State governor and close ally of Mr Tinubu.
Mr Osoba and Mr Amosun have been at logger heads for years for the control of the APC structure in Ogun.
In his Saturday statement, Mr Amosun, a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, reiterated he would only recognise Mr Akinlade as the APC governorship candidate in Ogun.
He said the only gubernatorial primary held in the state was that of October 02, 2018 which produced Mr Akinlade. He said the emergence of Mr Akinlade was initially through a consensus arrangement as allowed by the party constitution but was nevertheless subjected to a primary election when some gubernatorial aspirants disagreed with the outcome of the consensus arrangement.
“This is however, without prejudice to the sanctity of the consensus arrangement which Adams Oshiomhole hypocritically tries to demonise. Nigerians will recall that Oshiomhole himself was elected National Chairman of the APC by consensus arrangement which witnessed all other contestants to the office being prevailed upon to step down for him (Oshiomhole).
Apart from the controversy surrounding the governorship ticket, Mr Amosun also accused Mr Oshiomhole of other improprieties.
“We wish to call the attention of Nigerians to another evil being perpetrated by Oshiomhole in Ogun State. As at today November 03, which is 24 hours after the deadline for submission of names of candidates for the House of Assembly, Oshiomhole has not given INEC Party Candidate Form (CF001) to any of the 26 candidates who won the primaries for the ticket to contest for the Ogun State House of Assembly’.
“The primary was conducted on October 07 by the State Electoral Committee headed by Col. Ali Ciroma. This is despite the fact that the State Chairman of the party had kept vigil at the national secretariat of the APC in the last two weeks to collect the forms.
“If Oshiomhole is denying the outcome of the gubernatorial primaries because the State Electoral Committee shied away from announcing the result, what is the reason for denying all the 26 candidates for the House of Assembly freely elected by members of the APC in Ogun State? We want Nigerians to note the duplicity and meddlesomeness of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his gang in the affairs of the APC in Ogun State’.
“It is also important to note that Oshiomhole unilaterally replaced four of the nine winners of the primary election into the House of Representatives. This includes Hon. Mikhail Kazzim, a serving member of the House who won the primaries by defeating Olumide, the son of Chief Olusegun Osoba, with 28,802 votes to Osoba’s 4,209.
“Oshiomhole removed Hon. Kazzim who won the primaries and replaced him with the man he had serially defeated, not only in the last primary election but also in the general election of 2015. In yet another instance in Ado Odo – Ota Federal Constituency, Oshiomhole substituted the winner of the primary for the House of Representatives, Hon. Rotimi Rahmon with the name of Hon. Jimoh Ojugbele, who did not even contest to go back to the House of Representatives but contested the primary for the Senate and was defeated.
“In his conduct, Oshiomhole is opening a new chapter in the history of elections in Nigeria- a situation where a gang of desperate politicians will sit somewhere in another state and write the result of an election that never took place; what our people creatively refer to as “Offshore Rigging”!. This is what Oshiomhole and his gang are trying to foist on Ogun State. Lawyers say “you cannot build something on nothing”. Oshiomhole and his gang are trying to build a storey building of fraud on nothing.”
The governor also rejected the allegation by Mr Oshiomhole that he withdrew the security of the primary committee sent by the headquarters.
“As regards the claim of Oshiomhole that Sen. Amosun withdrew the security of the panel, Indabawa, Chairman of the panel, is a retired Commissioner of Police. He came into Ogun State with a full complement of police team which he claimed was provided for him by a Deputy Inspector General of Police. How could Amosun have withdrawn policemen he did not assign or over whom he had no control?’
“All of these have clearly shown that the motive of Oshiomhole is not the rule of law which he proclaims on the roof top. It is rather, an evil plan with some collaborators, desperate to hijack the government of Ogun State and add it to the harem of states under their rapacious gang of exploiters’.
“As we have stated before, this evil design will not succeed in Ogun State. Our people are too educated, exposed and sophisticated to come under such odious arrangement. On a general note, Oshiomhole, who became the APC Chairman barely three months ago, is already threatening to write the epitaph of the party in his 100 days of ignominy’.
Mr Amosun then reiterated a stance that shows he could back his preferred candidate to run on the platform of another party for the governorship election.
Let Mr Oshiomhole “and his motley crew of co-travellers in ignominy, be assured that the music has just begun and we hope that you will enjoy the macabre dance to the music of justice.
“By the Grace of God and the support of the good people of Ogun State, Hon. Adekunle Abdulkadir Akinlade will be sworn in as the new governor of Ogun State on May 29, 2019,” the information commissioner said.