The national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has put the blame for his recent ordeal on some leaders of the ruling party, that include the governor of Edo State.
In his first public reaction a day after the FCT High Court suspended him as the chairman of the ruling party, Mr Oshiomhole said he will overcome his ordeal.
He spoke Thursday to journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock Villa.
The meeting held shortly after another ruling by Justice Lewis Allagoa of the Federal High Court in Kano, affirming Mr Oshiomhole as the chairman of the party.
Although both are high courts, Mr Oshiomhole said the Abuja court that ordered his suspension lacked jurisdiction since the police and SSS joined in the suit are federal institutions.
Read Mr Oshiomhole’s full remarks:
Oshiomhole: You will recall that I was here two days ago to brief Mr. President as I always on matters affecting the party. Just yesterday (Wednesday) morning suddenly I saw in the news that an FCT High Court has suspended me as national chairman. And that the person who went to court includes one of my vice chairmen, north East, one Mustapha (Mustapha Salihu APC National Vice Chairman Northeast) and four others. I was taken back because in the same suit they joined the APC, the police as the DSS.
Our lawyers told me that in law when you sue a federal agency, FCT High Court has no jurisdiction to entertain it. Number two, the purported suspension of my person by my ward, first it’s not even through and I am going to give you a document to that effect so that you can form your opinion. Number three, I am not an officer of my ward, I am the national chairman of my party, elected at a national convention by over 7,000 delegates, so how could nine persons sit down somewhere and purport that they have removed a national chairman? And the court, contrary to all logic, all judicial precedence, found comfort in granting an interim interlocutory order to stop me from functioning pending when the matter is determined. In other words, he has given the order without the facts being laid before him and in the process adjourned the case to 7th of April.
The calculations are clear that between now and April 7th, my opponent in the system would have had ample time to do all the mischievous plans they have in place to destabilise the APC. Because, some of them have membership of more than one political party.
But happily this afternoon, a federal high court that I believe that has jurisdiction on federal issues because the DSS, the police are not state institutions but federal institutions, has given an appropriate order to restrain the so-called suspension that was allegedly imposed on me by my ward in Edo State.
I thought that I had a duty to brief Mr. President as the overall leader of our party about this development. Incidentally, when I requested for the audience yesterday, I wasn’t sure what has happened today will happen. But I had a duty to inform him about the court order. But happily before coming here, the order from a Federal High Court that has made nonsense of what the FCT court purported to have done has already settled the question.
And I showed to the president the resolutions of my ward even though a ward executive does not have the powers to remove a national chairman, just to say that the document that we have says clearly that my ward passed vote of confidence on me. How the court can hold a vote of confidence and twist it to mean vote of no confidence, only that judge can explain it to himself. But the good news is that this is not a final court nor is it the only court; incidentally, it is just the court that didn’t have the jurisdiction even to listen to this matter. And our lawyers so pointed it out but the judge was determined to oblige those who want to destabilise the All Progressive Congress.
Let me also say that those behind this plot, the hands you saw which includes as you saw yesterday, you saw the Edo State governor and his people jubilating; but that is the irony of life that you will help give birth to a child and the child looks for cutlass to want to chop off your neck. It has happened in history; it has happened in this country so I won’t be the only person. But there are other forces who see me for whatever reason as threat to them. And those leading this anti-Oshiomhole campaign, some of them I emphasise, cannot even boast of a councillor in their states even as they lay claim to leadership position in our party.
I am proud to say that I have done my best not only when I was a governor, I have done my best as chairman of this party, I have worked not only along members of the party and with support of the good people of Nigeria for the president to be re-elected, for us to have majority in the two chambers of the National Assembly, I also worked hard to deliver my unit, my ward, I worked hard my local government, I worked hard my federal constituency three of them in my senatorial zone, I also worked hard my senator. Those fighting me couldn’t deliver even a councillor of a local government in their unit. And they just feel that if they cannot give me orders then they must do everything to embarrass my person, but I believe that he who God stands with no man born of a woman can bring him down.
I can’t say more than that. Those who are parading themselves, holding meetings at night, my prayer to my God is that let them meet at night, what they do at night will be destroyed by light in the day time. I don’t go for night business I do day business. They know themselves, they know me and I know them.
Why do they want you out?
Why they want me out? You see there is an issue in this country. People want strong leadership, the average Nigerian wants to have a strong leader for Nigeria, they want to have strong leaders in various institutions, they want institutions that are strong enough that cannot be controlled by individuals. That was why President Obama said, what Africa needs are strong institutions not strong persons. Unfortunately, very few section of our elites want to weaken institutions so that they can control, and if you refuse to oblige them the misuse of your institution, then they go for the jocular, that is the only thing. Otherwise I ask you, remember the confusion we had at the last NEC meeting, that meeting took place exactly a week or about 10 days after we had won Kogi election, Bayelsa election before the court took it and donated it to somebody else. Yet, in the face of this victory, people said Oshiomhole must be removed, precisely because we won more.
But you see whatever you do, those who want to fight you will fight you. But I know that my tenure will be defined my God not by man. And I worry more about what I will be remembered for when I was chairman rather than how long I was chairman. And I am convinced that I have done my very best; mistakes would have been made and I want to see the one person who will say he has never made mistakes. But if there are mistakes of the head we have the capacity to correct mistakes of the head. But I know I have not set out to make the mistakes of the heart. It is just that by the reason of the position that I occupy, it is not quite appropriate for me to join at this hour in explaining who is responsible for the losses that people point out and they want to heap on my head.
Even when we have lost some states, I ask you did you see one newspaper that congratulated Oshiomhole when we won in Kogi, Bayelsa before the court took it back? But look at the narrative, once it goes the other way, if we succeed it is not me, if we lose it is me. I know even in corporate organisations, we have what we call profit and loss account, you have profit and loss that is what is called balance sheet. If you look at my balance sheet, I know I am not the best chairman in the world but I believe I have given my all even at the expense of my family’s wellbeing and family life to support my party, to ensure that I work sometimes almost 20 hours a day to ensure that I provide the desired leadership that APC.
And I am proud of the support that I am getting from the ordinary majority of our party and even majority of our leaders of our party. It is just unfortunate that if you have out of 100,90 people are happy with you, call and say well done, those 10 who are not are the ones that will call press conference to denounce, they are the ones who will hold midnight meetings in a minister’s house to say how do we bring him down. They are the ones who will plot how do we get rid of him because they want to be president in 2023 even when their hold on their state at the moment is doubtful, If they were to go for referendum in terms of their approval rating. But as for me, I live my life as the Christians say live it as if there will be no tomorrow, on day by day basis. But God will see me through, He knows my heart, He knows my conscience and He knows the wishes of the overall majority of our members and to them I remain ever grateful. For all those who have been worried between yesterday and today, I believe God answered their prayers, and when God answers the prayers who am I to nurse any further disappointment. I am very grateful.
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