The chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, says the crises the party suffered after its primaries shows it is democratic and the members are free to express themselves.
Mr Oshiomhole said this on Monday while receiving the Northeast reconciliation committee led by the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-makura, at the national secretariat in Abuja.
The chairman sometime last month inaugurated six peace and reconciliation committees to visit the geopolitical zones across Nigeria to address issues arising from the APC primaries.
Following the primaries, governors whose preferred candidates lost out aired their grievances and some declared their intention to support candidates of other parties in some elections.
Mr Oshiomhole commended members of the committee for their prompt action on the responsibility given to them by the party and for being the first committee to submit its report.
He said the crises do not show the APC is dysfunctional but they are something the party and everyone should learn from.
“The more democratic and the more liberal a political party is the more freedom that people feel, to the extent that people are not afraid that if they talk they will be sanctioned.
“You will expect all kinds of discordant voices but those are not necessarily dysfunctional. We can learn from those voices and run a better party, a better system, better elections in the future.”
He also claims the APC is leading by example as it does not give out automatic tickets but allows everyone a level playing ground to even challenge sitting governors (making reference to the Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who lost out in his bid for a second term).
“No matter what anybody wants to say, I think our party is leading by example. For example, we are the only party that allows people to contest election against a sitting governor. The other political parties, particularly the past governing party, the PDP, you check all their sitting governor have an automatic ticket. They printed only one form. So you are not allowed to even murmur about your governor, the governor is a given.
“We allow people who wish to challenge even sitting governor to do so and as we have seen in one case, the governor couldn’t make a return. So democracy is attractive but it is also problematic. But as you see, it is still the best way to run a system and obviously to run the country.”
He also said losing an election is not the end for a politician, citing the case of President Muhammadu Buhari who lost his bid for the presidency three times before winning in 2015, whom he described as a perfect example for every member of the party.
He, therefore, expressed confidence that the party will win the general elections in 2019.
“So I am very confident that like you said, going forward, we are going to win this election. The whole essence of this reconciliation is to let people know that that you have lost one nomination is not the end of your political future. And we have the best teacher in our family in terms of winning or losing an election, that is Mr President who contested election three times, he lost, he almost gave up, he was encouraged not to, he went for the fourth time and he won.”
He assured the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) would look into the report and take necessary actions.
“I assure you we will justify the effort you have invested and the time that those who appeared before you spent and the confidence they have imposed in our party and in your committee by appearing before you to share their grievances. I want to assure you that we will study this report and the NWC will act on it as quickly as possible.”
The Nasarawa State Governor in his address before submitting the report said the response they got showed the people still believe and are committed to the party.
The report, he said was in two volumes; one contains findings based on presentations by aggrieved members, and the second the appendixes and annexures, which includes bulk prints, electronic materials that elucidate all the grievances with empirical evidence and proofs for proper scrutiny by the national headquarters of the party.
Although he did not disclose the content of the recommendations made to the party, he said the committee received presentations from more than 350 aggrieved persons, with some clustered into joint presentations.
“We are pleased to inform the national committee that we were tasked and we are glad that the reports we received across the three zones within the three clusters ensure the commitment of members of our committee. And their confidence in our leaders made this committee to listen to their grievances.
“We are happy to also say that members made presentations and we were blunt, honest and open. And we gave everyone the opportunity airs their own views and grievances with a view to making necessary recommendations to the national headquarters of the party. Having gone through all these clusters and have received all the complaints and grievances, we were impressed by the commitment of persons in their forthrightness to the party,” Mr Al-makura said.
He said he believed the commitment shown by party members in the party leadership to vent out their grievances spoke volumes of their loyalty and is a sign that the party will have victory in the forthcoming election.
“I believed with the commitment and loyalty of our members our party, the APC will surely win virtually all the North East and the categories of elections to be conducted in February, God willing.”
Speaking on how his state was prepared for the election, the Nasarawa governor said the state is ready and waiting for the “whistle to be blown”, assuring that the APC will sweep the polls in the state.