The former Lagos State governor and leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has thrown his weight behind the decision of the party to sack its National Working Committee (NWC).
The decision was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday during the party’s emergency National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja.
Analysts believe it was a blow on Mr Tinubu who enjoyed the loyalty of the Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC, and who is believed to have the ambition to contest the 2023 presidential election.
However, in a carefully-worded statement Saturday, Mr Tinubu said Mr Buhari’s intervention in the party’s raging crisis was long overdue.
“With lawsuits so numerous one needed a spreadsheet to keep track, President Buhari has reasonably decided that he has seen enough,” the statement said. “I do not lament his intervention or its outcome. I lament that the situation degenerated to the point where he felt compelled to intervene.”
Mr Tinubu admitted that the party under Mr Oshiomhole at a point had lost its collective existence to “blind and clashing ambitions” of some of its members.
He said rather than focusing on delivering its promises to Nigerians at a moment of heightened difficulty, “intramural fighting has come to occupy the attention of many high ranking party officials and members.”
“The National Working Committee, itself, became riven by unnecessary conflict. Those who disagreed with one another stopped trying to find common ground. Attempts were made to use the power of executive authority to bury each other. I must be blunt here. This is the behaviour of a fight club not the culture of a progressive political party,” he said.
While reiterating the need for the party members to work as one ahead of Edo and Ondo States governorship elections, Mr Tinubu hinted on the possible emergence of the sacked NWC members at the APC mini national convention expected to hold within six months.
“As I understand it, no one has been precluded from seeking any party office to which he is otherwise eligible. Former NWC members are free to seek re-election to the NWC. Provided they have the support of party members, they will have an opportunity to return to serve the party in a leadership capacity. This reflects our overriding desire to restore and maintain internal democracy not subvert it,” he said,” he disclosed.
Earlier on Saturday, Mr Oshiomhole had also welcomed the decision to sack his leadership, although he said he would refrain from examining its legality.