Two spokespersons of Nigeria’s ruling party on Thursday expressed divergent views on who is responsible for the crises rocking the party.
The APC has been in crisis since it held primaries across the country to elect candidates for the 2019 elections.
Following the primaries of the APC, governors of states like Ogun, Zamfara and Imo have turned against the national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who is blamed for the outcome of the primaries.
As a result of these, there were allegations that Mr Oshiomhole was bribed to influence the outcome of the primaries.
This rumour gained grounds as Mr Oshiomhole was grilled by the State Security Service over the controversial primaries.
Mr Oshiomhole, however, in a statement by his chief press secretary, Simon Ebegbulem, on Thursday said enough is enough on the issue of him taking bribe to influence the party’s primaries, describing the primaries as transparent.
The statement was, however, promptly criticised by the deputy national publicity secretary of the party.
Enough is Enough
The chairman, in his statement released on Thursday evening, said he has had enough of these unsubstantiated allegations against him and threatened to take legal action against anyone or media who continues to make them.
He said the primaries, which brought these issues, have come and gone and that those making these allegations “are just losers exercising their right to protest.”
The statement was shared on the party’s WhatsApp platform titled APC press, created by the deputy director publicity of the party, David Edegbe. The group, used to distribute messages to accredited journalists, has both the national publicity secretary of the party, his deputy and the spokesperson of the chairman on it.
“The National Chairman views the current attempts to tarnish his image as uncalled for and has vowed that he will seek legal redress against anybody or media, whether the traditional or in the social media, who makes such unsubstantiated allegations, henceforth.
“The primary elections of the APC, which were at the root of these malicious attacks, have come and gone, but it is understandable that those who lost out in the transparent exercise conducted by the party under the leadership of Comrade Oshiomhole, have been exercising their rights to protest,” Mr Ebegbulem said.
According to the statement, Mr Oshiomhole believes some members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are ready to capitalise on this and are eager to get him removed. He also alleged that there is every possibility they are working with some members of his party.
He, however, said no one should be allowed to get away with these actions, which he said, are capable of tarnishing the image of the party chairman.
“(It) is curious to note that some elements in the top hierarchy of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) appear to be too eager to see the exit of the APC Chairman from office and may be working in tandem with certain APC members.
“While it makes sense for PDP to wish for cure for their headache that Oshiomole has become, it should not be taken for granted that anyone can get away with any action that is capable of tarnishing the unassailable integrity of the APC Chairman.”
The chairman alleged part of the strategies discussed in Dubai, where the PDP presidential candidate and some leaders recently visited, was to continue to dish out lies against top APC leader,. with a view to distract the leadership of the APC ahead the 2019 general election.
“But they have failed because the National Chairman and APC leaders are focused and will never be distracted,” he said.
He said it was time these irresponsible lies stopped otherwise, anybody who continues to make unsubstantiated allegations against the person and character of the national chairman should be ready to provide proofs in a court of law.
“It cannot be just a political game to smear the character of Oshiomhole by people whose track record (are) unenviable.”
The statement also said if the primaries of the party was about money, then the governors would have done better. He however, noted that was not the case as the leadership party sought after democratic processes.
“We want the public to note that if the exercise of the APC primaries were to be about money-taking or money-making, the state governors, some of whom are embittered about the outcomes in their states, were in a better position to dish out mega bucks.
“But the National Working Committee of APC, under the leadership of Comrade Oshiomole, was motivated by higher ideals and the pursuit of noble democratic principles.”
The chairman said rather than commend him for “resisting criminal overtures to compromise him”, he is being “relentlessly harangued, abused and accused of receiving phantom bribes”.
He said this is ‘wrong and wicked’ as his credibility is unassailable, right from his time as president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), to his time as Edo State governor.
He therefore called on the media to be cautious and not allow itself to be used.
“Enough is enough. We urge our respected media outfits to exercise caution not to be used by unscrupulous elements. Except such persons or media house can provide evidence.”
The deputy national publicity secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena, however, promptly countered Mr Oshiomhole’s spokesperson.
On the same WhatsApp platform, Mr Ebegbulem released his statement, Mr Nabena replied him, saying the media propaganda by the chairman’s spokesperson should stop, as the damages from the primaries are still affecting the party.
“Simon, please stop all this media propaganda and face the reality on ground. The damages (are) affecting the party,” he said.
The response of Nabena further shows the extent of division in the party including its National leadership.
Mr Oshiomhole has resisted calls for him to resign saying he has the support of majority members of the party.