Former governor of Edo State and chairmanship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has stated that his party cannot fix in three years what he claimed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) destroyed in 16 years.
Mr Oshiomhole said this while meeting with the APC caucus of the Senate Tuesday afternoon.
The meeting which initially started behind closed-door was made open to journalists to cover the speeches by Mr Oshiomhole and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
They went back into closed-door thereafter.
Mr Oshiomole started by stating that his intention for the visit was to seek the lawmakers’ support on his ambition to become the chairman of APC.
He started, “I am here to state my intention to run for the chairman of our party the APC and solicit your support for my candidature.
“In the forthcoming convention every senator is a delegate in his [or her] right. I confess that while in NLC I fought with some governors – not against them. They understand that is nothing personal.
“The beauty of democracy is that there will be debate and we contest issues. Governance is about participation and choosing to call ourselves All Progressives Congress shows that we are pro-people and it is driven by its members.
“As a governor I have not oppressed anyone, power can be tempting.”
He craved the support of the senators to allow him set the party on the path of change it promised, adding that it is impossible for the party to deliver in its three years of rule what was destroyed in 16 years.
“I believe that with the support of all of you and our leaders outside this hall, we can rebrand our party, strengthen it and give it a more positive image. Together we will confront the forthcoming election and remind Nigerians that even if we haven’t solved the problem, there is no question that there is a genuine commitment to begin to address all of them and that we can’t fix in three years what was destroyed in 16 years.”
Mr Oshiomhole’s statement is at variance with claims by some APC leaders and top members of Mr Buhari’s cabinet.
Mr Buhari aides and political appointees at several times claimed he had achieved more than his predecessors combined.
Early this year, Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said the ‘APC has done more than PDP achieved in 16 years.’
Speaking at the 35th Annual Aminu Kano Memorial Symposium in Kano, in April, an APC leader, Bola Tinubu, said President Muhammadu Buhari had achieved what the Peoples Democratic Party could not accomplish in 16 years in power.
“When someone can do for you in three years what another did not even try in 16 years, any person with an open eye can see the difference between giver and taker, between friend and thief,” said Mr Tinubu.
Mr Oshiomhole said disagreement should be used within the party as a tool to foster an all-encompassing compromise.
“A journey of a million miles simply needs to start with one correct step and step by step we will get there. We have the duty to re-assure Nigerians that this party is capable of delivering and sustaining the change we promised.
“We cannot dream of a party with no disagreement. If we have one like that, it means the party is not democratic. Even under military dictatorship, there are some forms of conversation. At least we hear rumours that some Generals disagree, some agree.
“In a genuine democracy, nobody will seem to get everything he wants, but everybody can get everything we are able to negotiate and the driver of this process has to be compromise. I believe that if we approach matter with an open mind, we can do business.”
Mr Oshiomhole said his experience being a governor for eight years will help in dousing the tension between the executive and the legislature.
He promised that the party, under his watch, will not sit down and do nothing on frictions between the arms of government.
“The party will not be a spectator or a sit-down-look party while various arms of government are at each others’ throat. We have a common opponent that is not difficult to identify and we know who our opponent is. We are not the opponents of ourselves.
“If newspaper reports is anything to go by a lot of our party leaders at various levels have a lot of concerns. I am confident that working with the leaders with open mind, commitment to fairness and justice and courage to speak the truth to whoever it may concern, that all of these issues can be resolved.”