The crisis rocking Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, got worse on Wednesday as the director-general of the party’s governors’ forum called for the resignation of Adams Oshiomhole as the party’s chairman.
Also on Wednesday in Benin City, some leaders of the APC in Edo State at a meeting attended by Governor Godwin Obaseki ratified the suspension of Mr Oshiomhole from the party in the state.
In a statement signed by its Director-General, Salihu Lukman, in Abuja on Wednesday, the forum asked Mr Oshiomhole to urgently convene a National Executive Council meeting of the party or leave office.
“It is either Oshiomhole respect the provision 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 simply resign,” Mr Lukman said in a statement on Wednesday.
The call comes a day after the APC in Edo announced the controversial suspension of Mr Oshiomhole.
In its statement issued by Mr Lukman, the APC Governors Forum accused the National Working Committee under Mr Oshiomhole of suppressing the National Executive Council (NEC), a major decision-making organ of the party.
“Somehow, unfortunately, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party, which is the organ vested with the statutory responsibility of responding to all these challenges appear to be suspended.
“The last time it met was August 2018. In its place, the National Working Committee (NWC), 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 at 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.
“Sen. Lawal Shuaibu, Deputy National Chairman (North) is allegedly suspended. Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, National Vice Chairman (North West) is similarly suspended,” he said.
Mr Lukman recalled that in June 2019, the NWC suspended Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo.
He added that during the 2019 general elections, on account of the roles of former governors Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun against the candidates of the party, they were similarly suspended.
Mr Lukman said 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 meetings, which are supposed to hold every quarter to resolve all these issues?
“Why should the NWC in Oshiomhole’s leadership continue to imagine that it can conduct the 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?
“Our national leaders must rise to the challenge facing us as a party and take all necessary measures to convene superior organ meetings to begin to resolve all our challenges as a party,” he said.
In Benin, the Edo State capital, local leaders of the APC ratified the suspension of Mr Oshiomhole, from the party in the state.
This was conveyed in a press release issued through Government House, Benin.
The statement said the decision was reached at an enlarged meeting of the APC state executive council and other party chieftains with the state governor, Mr Obaseki, in Benin City, on Wednesday.
According to the statement, the party leaders said Mr Oshiomhole’s suspension became necessary because he “has been deploying divisive tactics to cause disharmony in the party in collaboration with the proscribed group, Edo Peoples Movement (EPM).
“While addressing APC leaders from the 18 Local Government Areas of the state, the State Chairman of the APC, Anslem Ojezua, traced the genesis of the crisis to the primary elections in 2018, noting, ‘All these started since the party primaries in 2018 when we conducted the primaries to nominate candidates for the general elections held in 2019. It appeared that after that elections, Edo APC didn’t know peace again.
‘”The issues were later aggravated in April and May 2019 which culminated in the formation of the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), an infamous group we proscribed in our last meeting.’”
Mr Ojezua said the news of his removal was shocking as the state working committee which purportedly removed him did not have powers to do so.
“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.”
He continued, “Yesterday, 15 chairmen of the APC chapters in the local councils and 23 out of the 35 members of the State Executive Committee passed a vote of no confidence on the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, while a vote of confidence was passed on my person.”
“The APC Local council chairmen have found out that Adams Oshiomhole is the one behind the crisis in Edo APC and following the findings, lost confidence in the leadership of the national chairman by passing a vote of no confidence on him. Considering the stand of these chairmen and also based on the report from organs of the party, we affirmed the suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from APC in Edo State,” he added.
Mr Ojezua said, “Three local government chairmen of the APC were not in attendance at the meeting held on Tuesday. They are the chairmen of the party in Owan West, Etsako West and Etsako Central LGAs. I have letters informing me of their suspension and in that regard the Vice Chairmen are to act until those positions are filled.”
In his remarks, Governor Obaseki said he was not happy with the recent political developments in the state. He said Mr Oshiomhole “has thrown caution to the wind to cause disaffection among APC members in the state.”
The governor said when he first met Mr Oshiomhole 12 years ago, they shared a common interest in salvaging Edo State but all that has changed in recent times.
“I am not an ungrateful person. No one made me governor. I became governor by God’s grace, with the support of many other people. If God had said I would not be governor, no way would I have been a governor. It is wrong for someone to say he made me governor.
“No one gave me money. The funds Oshiomhole initially raised for his governorship ambition was raised by me in Lagos. If I can raise money for him for his election, why would I not be able to raise money for my own election.”
The governor said Mr Oshiomhole was not truthful about comments on his administration.
“If you came into power on some basic principles, do not expect to change those principles because you have certain ambition. If you came to power believing no man is God, then the day you start to play God, you will get the consequences.”
A leader of the APC in Ovia South-West LGA, Samuel Ekeneza, moved the motion for the ratification of the suspension of Mr Oshiomhole.
Mr Ekeneza said “the party remains supreme as no individual is bigger than the political party.”
The motion for the ratification was supported by a leader of the APC in Esan Central LGA, Osediamen Oriaifoh, the statement said.