The former Edo governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who is seeking to become the new national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, has said he is ready to lead the struggling ruling party, but warned he would not be “used”.
Mr Oshiomhole acknowledged the achievements of the current chairman of the party, John Oyegun, but said he was contesting not because the current leadership was bad but because he had new ideas.
“I want to be of help, I want to be of use to all those who need it but I am not capable of being used. I believe that this needs to be clarified because there is so much suspicion in our political space,” Mr Oshiomhole said.
“People fight often for things they are not even quite sure of what they think they are. They are fueled and sustained by suspicion. The way to eliminate suspicion is to put on the table what is on the table. What is under the table, keep under the table until it moves to the top of the table.
“Let me say that I think with all sense of modesty that I am well prepared for this kind of role.
“The skill to negotiate, the skill to persuade, the skill to make consensus, the skill to do give-and-take, the skill to talk through a process that will lead to win-win solutions rather than the winners and the losers, those are the tools I have deployed as a branch union leader, becoming the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress.”
Mr Oshiomhole publicly announced his plans Thursday, in a challenge to the incumbent Mr Oyegun, a move that appears to be adding a new front to the party’s recent multi-sectoral self-battles.
In the last one week, the once seemingly united party has seen its governorship election primary in Ekiti descend into chaos with leading contenders openly clashing and alleging vote fraud, while a bloc of former PDP members on Wednesday accused the party of alienation and threatened undisclosed consequences.
Mr Oshiomhole is believed to have the support of President Muhammadu Buhari and a key leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, a known critic of Mr. Oyegun’s leadership style.
But in his declaration, Mr Oshiomhole, a former labour leader, repeatedly affirmed Mr Oyegun had led the party fairly well, and he was not seeking to replace him because of a leadership failure.
“I am seeking to contest for the same office based on the principle that in the 21st century, in the past the conservative notion was if it is not broken you don’t mend it, but in the digital world anything and everything can be better.
“I am contesting not because I think there is a leadership failure, I am contesting because I think as it is expected in our constitution of our party and even of our country, democracy work better when from time to time new blood new ideas are allowed.”
” I believe that the idea of the constitution and the spirit behind it, it has been deliberately framed in such a way that no one will have his ways, but all, we can have our ways if we negotiate, persuade, discuss and have a sense of collectivity as we move on.
“There can be no permanent solution because the environment is dynamic and the issues are ever changing, our expectations are ever mountain. What is the cause are therefore, is the will and the courage to stay at the middle and assist those who need help within the party and between the party to sort ourselves out.
“I want to assure our leaders, the leaders of the All Progressives Congress ( APC ), our overall leader, who is also the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, and leaders of the National Assembly, all the governors elected on the platform of our party, all the state houses of Assembly and all party leaders that I am cleared as to what my tasks will be if elected.
Speaking of his plan to work with all, and the president, he said Mr Buhari is credible and claimed that alone was enough motivation for him to work.
“I want to assure Nigerians that I believe with a new leadership of the APC and with our president whom I believe is ever determined, no matter what anybody wants to say, I want to take that again, no matter what anybody wants to say, there will be time to engage in all of those contestations as we approach 2019 the electioneering campaign and those who wish to contest on various party platforms comes to the open, we will know the players, we will know their coach, we will be able to engage,” he said.
“President Buhari is not a thief. That for me is the starting point and we will challenge others, all the former, former who on the basis of verifiable evidences that we can see that can be so described without fear of contradiction, that for is a starting point as we move on to engage those who wish to engage us.
“I think that the indivisible minimum responsibility of the leadership of a political party and of the All Progressives Congress if I am privileged to become chairman, would be to concertly help the executive and the legislature to fight common ground to win together.”
Mr Oshiomhole said he believed Nigerians are ready to progress and the party is ready to correct its mistakes and lead the country right.
“The party is ready to mend where we have made mistakes, and re-energise and confront the problems that confront our country and bearing in mind that the entire black world look unto us. We have what it takes to provide that leadership that Africa will be proud of and we shall be a reference point.”
The chairman of the APC governors Forum and governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha, in his goodwill message expressed confidence in Mr Oshiomhole.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Oshiomhole when elected will show the way. Oshiomhole’s coming in as national chairman of APC is bad news to other political parties. Adams Oshiomhole is a dogged fighter, a man who can face challenges and i have no doubt that you will strengthen APC when elected,” he said.
He also called on Mr Oshiomhole to at all times call on everyone to support the president as he is seen as a strong backing for the president.
“Buhari is not just a president, Buhari is a leader. All why we are supporting Adams Oshiomhole, is to see that strong party chairman that will be behind him.
“You must as a matter of urgency tell everybody that Buhari should be supported. All my colleagues, the governors of APC, Oshiomhole is our project. He understands us, we understand him. I came in here to show my support and endorsement. PDP is making so much noise now and they need to be silent, and the only silencer is Adams Oshiomhole.”
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