A former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tom Ikimi, on Tuesday resigned from the All Progressives Congress [APC].
He did not however indicated the party he was defecting to although there were speculations that he was on his way to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP].
In a letter to the National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, dated August 26, Mr. Ikimi said he had already issued a statement released earlier in the day in which he stated his withdrawal from the opposition party.
The letter reads in part: “Thank you for your two letters dated 15th August, 2014, one inviting me to attend the APC National Caucus and the other to attend the APC Board of Trustees meeting.
“I regret my inability to attend both meetings.
“However kindly find forwarded to you herewith my statement released today bearing the title, ” All Progressives Congress, (APC)- My Reflections” and wish to particularly draw your attention to the last paragraph of the document stating the withdrawal of my membership from the party- APC.
“This is to further confirm my decision to withdraw from the All Progressives Congress from today.
“Kindly extend to all members of the party my warmest felicitations.”
Mr. Ikimi was a member of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, which merged with the Congress for Progressive Change [CPC], the All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP], and a section of the All Progressives Grand Alliance [APGA], to become the APC.
He hosted the meetings of the Joint Inter-Party Merger Committee that supervised the merger in his Abuja home and aspired to become the first national chairman of the party at the party convention in June, but was allegedly checkmated by some leaders of the party, including former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, who supported Mr. Odigie-Oyegun.
In anger, he did not only boycott the convention, but he also issued a press statement a few days later accusing Mr. Tinubu of hijacking the party and described the convention that produced Mr. Odigie-Oyegun as a charade.
He said, “The party’s governors colluded with Tinubu to truncate democratic process in the national convention. The governors and the Tinubu group decided on a zoning process that was limited only to party offices as well as the choice of individuals to fill them. Most undemocratic and bizarre procedures then prevailed.
“The governors initiated a zoning plan that allocated the national chairman to the south-south. This proposal was reluctantly accepted by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, whose well-known option had been to retain Chief Bisi Akande as the chairman forever.
“Nevertheless he, in the circumstance, proceeded to draw up a list of his cronies for the entire national executives all referred to the national interim executive council for approval or even information.”
Mr. Ikimi, who is from Edo State as Mr. Odigie-Oyegun lambasted the former Lagos State governor for parading himself as the national leader of the APC, saying nobody gave him the position.
Since he made his grudge against the party open, the former minister under the military administration of Sani Abacha had come under pressure to return to the PDP.
At the inception of the current democratic dispensation in 1999, Mr. Ikimi was a member of the defunct All Peoples Party, APP, which later became ANPP.
In the botched Third Republic, he served as the first national chairman of the defunct National Republican Convention, NRC, created by the administration of the military of administration of Ibrahim Babangida during the endless and deceptive transition programme.
Find below the lengthy statement released by Mr. Ikimi on Tuesday castigating Mr. Tinubu.
“All Progressives Congress APC – My Reflections
Following my widely publicized statement made in the aftermath of the 13th June 2014 All Progressives Congress APC National Convention I took time off to reflect on the state of the party, the emerging re-configuration of the general political Structure in the country, and the visionary effects on the state of our Nation.
I have spent almost 13 of the past 15 years faithfully dug in, in the trenches of the evolving democratic dispensations in our country, steadfastly pursuing my conviction that for true democracy to take firm root in Nigeria we should fall in line with the model practiced in successful democracies in the world, of a party in office and a scrutinizing alternative party holding the Government to account. We all have watched with admiration how in those other countries through a process of hitch-free General Elections, the baton of leadership changes hands from time to time from one Party to the other to provide alternative policies for their people. Therefore I have never considered my location outside the ruling party, as being in an “opposition”, rather as supporting an alternative platform. All that was necessary for me was the association with individuals committed to build and uphold that platform. In this regard, my experiences during the era of the NRC and SDP in 1990 -1993 are invaluable reference data bank in my quest to work to reincarnate the reality of two dominant political platforms in our country.
That is why in 2005, I was fully involved in the creation of the Movement for the Restoration and Defense of Democracy (MRDD), which transformed into the Action Congress (AC) in 2006. I worked with a few dedicated colleagues here in my Abuja residence to successfully achieve the project. Two groups, comprising those of us who broke away from the PDP and a breakaway faction from the AD (notably the former South West AD Governors) made up the foundation membership. For the benefit of political science students, I should now reveal that the original documents we prepared for registration bore the name All Peoples Congress (APC) We eventually settled for AC in order to locate the new party higher up in the ballot paper. In 2010, in pursuit of a bigger party ahead of the 2011 General Election, we changed the name from AC to ACN, in a very poorly constructed merger arrangement that failed. It was therefore an experience of great joy and satisfaction for me to host and lead the process that gave birth in February 2013, at my Abuja residence, to the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the successful unification of the major opposition parties – ACN, ANPP, CPC and a part of APGA. I am aware of the well known saying that success breeds many uncles, therefore the subsequent and recent claims of some persons as to the arrow heads of the creation of the APC does not surprise me nor will it surprise my devoted 89 colleagues who worked earnestly with me on the project.
The refreshing news of the entry of the All Progressives Congress (APC) into the Nation’s political firmament was received across the nation and beyond with great joy and happiness. Our proclamation of a new party that would pursue democratic principles by example with particularly a culture of internal Party Democracy endeared us to the expectant public of teeming supporters who were all eagerly waiting to take up membership in the new party. For me, I thought we had finally broken the parochial boundaries of tribal and regional politics, which in my recent experience had stunted the growth of the now defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Our clarion call for CHANGE reverberated across the country where all and sundry awaited with high expectation to enroll in the new party. I myself looked forward eagerly to a wider frontier of comradeship and to once again recreate happiness color and pageantry in our National Politics which in times gone by was so eloquently displayed in the legendary brotherly hand shake across the river Niger and river Benue by the founding fathers of our Nation’s politics.
It was my fervent hope that the emergence of the APC would bring to an end the sad and bitter experiences that I and some others endured in the ACN where one of the leaders from the South West exploiting the narrow National success of the party in that region virtually hijacked the party, proclaiming himself Overall Leader. Five of the six Governors in the Party at that time were all from that Region. Prominent leaders particularly from the North and South East notably, personalities such as former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Alhaji Gali Naaba, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Alhaji Mohammed Shata, Amb. Yahaya Kwande, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, Otumba Fashawe, Senator Ben Obi, Chief Dubem Onyia etc who could not come to terms with the man’s behavior departed from the party back to the PDP. This mass departure of prominent members, from particular sections of the country, did not only seriously weaken the party but blemished it with an image of Regional and Tribal status. At that time I refused to quit the party despite the fact that my frequent solo protests against his behavior were dismissively ignored as I was always told that the man was the overwhelming financier of the Party. While I disagree stoutly with this bluff it is true that the particular individual constantly boasted of his wealth and of his funding of the party. I on the other hand could recall that this was a man I knew who was an easily forgettable character in the 1990s when I was National Party Chairman and when my candidate Sir Michael Otedola of blessed memory, won the Governorship of Lagos State. It would come as no great surprise if Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s boasted great wealth did not derive from any stupendous inheritance ancient or modern. Or that his sudden bragging as though Nigeria’s Bill Gates is an accumulation of extraordinary hard work or financial wizardry. I would rather trust the informed whispers in the inner circles of the party which have it that having positioned himself as perceived leader in the most lucrative income sources of the party, he is recipient and dispenser of bags and bags of party funds. I have also become aware that he is, too, a beneficiary of most of the lucrative contracts in all the ACN states without exception. To further bolster his image it was also frequently said that Tinubu has control of all the votes from South Western Nigeria which, as has been currently touted, when added to the votes of North Western Nigeria would guarantee victory for the APC in the upcoming Presidential election.
This reckless and arrogant self-aggrandizement paved the way for the imposition of a strange leadership on the APC in July 2013 when the party obtained registration from INEC. Those of us who had worked so hard towards the successful merger and creation of the APC were manipulated out of the scheme of things. In the bizarre struggle to seize control of the party we were even openly accused by the self-proclaimed owners of the party, of wanting to steal “their” party. Many of us in the party as well as keen observers outside frowned at the skewed leadership image of the party that was being paraded. An image that blatantly ignored National sensitivities. The draft constitution prepared by the Merger Committee included an exit clause, which provided a time limit of six months for the Interim Management of the Party. That clause mysteriously disappeared from the version of the constitution that was smuggled into INEC records. Chief Bisi Akande’s National Chairmanship was therefore primed to stay on in power ad infinitum! Asiwaju Bola Tinubu frantically constituted a group of friends and cronies which he proclaimed to be the APC Leadership. The press, led by the Nation Newspaper, was made to propagate the aberration. And so rather than allow the construction of a sound base for the party conducive to the free admission of members Nationwide these self proclaimed leaders embarked on a National travel spree all in a blaze of publicity, criss-crossing the country in private aircraft, visiting PDP State Governors to offer them the State branches of the APC if they would join the party. While they obviously but ridiculously assumed that the crisis then in the PDP would last for ever the details of the agreements they reached with PDP break away Governors, were never revealed to the authentic Party Leadership but they were such that they ignited the explosion of irreconcilable crisis in some states, particularly Kano, Sokoto and Adamawa, resulting in the instant loss of some valuable key members.
Major decisions said to be party decisions now started emerging from this select group whose ad hoc membership varied from time to time. They usually congregated at Tinubu’s private parlor in his Asokoro – Abuja residence. Those who wanted to belong had to find or force their way into that parlor. Once initiated, your independence or capacity to challenge the plots that emerged from that cult venue became seriously curtailed. Rather than freely open up critical issues to free debate at the Interim Executive Council for democratic decisions to emerge, positions plotted at the notorious Asokoro parlor were being desperately foisted on the party for execution. A handful of us constantly challenged this trend with little success. Gradually, the direction of the Party assumed a focus on the contest for the Presidency. Then the images of presumed Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates as well as a privately cooked up Permanent Chairman for the party started emerging signaling a Muslim/Muslim Presidential and Vice Presidential ticket. The details of this issue I have sufficiently dealt with in my previous statement. However let me state again that their calculation that the Presidency in the 2015 General elections will be won by the APC through votes from the North West and South West Nigeria became an obsession. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who passionately believed in this theory and who arrogantly claimed custody of all South West votes already picked an aspirant from North Western Nigeria who will run as Presidential candidate with him as Vice Presidential candidate. The National image of the party immediately plummeted.
This disastrous trend was worsened by the arrogant departure from observing the provisions of the Party’s constitution particularly as it pertains to internal Party democracy. Crisis broke out at uncontrollable levels in the prosecution of the most undemocratic Ward, LGA, and State Congresses Nationwide. Machinery for managing this self-inflicted crisis was virtually non-existent and it was inside this mess that the controversial National Convention of 13th June was staged. The Constitution of the Party clearly defines the Party Organs and the Party Leadership. There is no provision for anyone to be named as the Party Leader. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu having paraded himself both at home and abroad as The Leader of Opposition and of the APC had great difficulty in descending from the fictitious throne. In order to continue manipulating the party from his parlors in Abuja and Lagos he struggled to retain Chief Bisi Akande as Chairman. He was further troubled by the growing influence of the Governors and panicked at the realization that he and his South West select caucus were loosing their grip on “their” party to the Governors. His last minute efforts to rally a South West Leadership support for his absolute power over the party failed and chances of retaining Chief Bisi Akande as National Chairman also evaporated. In the circumstance as the only option was to find a successor National Chairman as well as other National Officers, an illegal process of horse trading between the Governors and Tinubu was initiated. The Interim Executive Council had no knowledge of all these processes. Chief John Oyegun a Tinubu plan B project said to be favored for his NADECO and SDP credentials and also as one who could be controlled now featured, came into the picture.
Until recently the APC had 16 Governors who describe themselves as The Progressive Governors. They are made up of the original Merging Parties Governors and the break away PDP Governors who as a group are determined to take control of the Party. This composition of Merging Party Governors and PDP breakaway Governors cannot in any realistic sense be described as PROGRESSIVE. They have come together with different personal agendas built around the central purpose of acquiring National Power. Some of them nurse Vice Presidential ambition and some others are warming up for the Presidential contest. In the circumstance the project of taking control of the Party’s National machinery became crucial and it was out of the Governor’s caucus that the plan of zoning the National offices was initiated and concluded. The Interim Executive Committee had no input. Although it is claimed that the National Chairmanship slot was zoned to the South South, the horse-trading to produce the beneficiary took place outside the zone. In order to secure the agreement of most of the Governors I understand that an agreement was extracted from Chief Oyegun that he would agree to step down as Chairman should a Governor from the region emerge as either Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate. And although the Governors may not have envisaged the present set back they now suffer in their numerical strength the battle to take custody of the APC platform that they waged against the Tinubu structure signaled yet another twist in the tale.
Apart from the Tinubu Group and The Governors Group there is a third Group, of known Presidential Aspirants comprising in the main General Muhamadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who are both Northerners. The inclination of the party had always been to zone the Presidency to the North. Some Governors are now thinking otherwise and given the decisive role that they seek to play in the affairs of the Party as well as the tendency to ignore the principle of internal party democracy, a monumental disaster looms large in the selection of the Party’s Presidential and Vice Presidential flag bearers later in the year. The construction of the new National Executive Committee through horse-trading by the Governors and Tinubu has established a tool structure that is not in the interest of transparency or democracy. To whom will the newly installed National Chairman be finally loyal? Will it remain the Nadeco/SDP comradeship that will drive his loyalty to Tinubu or the current Governors ongoing tactics of dressing up the National Chairman that may become the game clincher? Time will surely tell! How these known Presidential aspirants will make their way in the contest that may feature some Governors is better imagined. Can Tinubu dare to ditch Buhari? I dey laf!
Chief John Oyegun has made various statements since the 13th of June convention. He finally claimed that he emerged as National Chairman as a consensus candidate, which puts to rest his previous hasty announcement that I had stepped down for him. Needless to say the process adopted at the APC convention for deciding on a new National Chairman was a sham in which I did not participate. The Chief knows very well that an even playing field, a fundamental requirement for sound intra party contest did not exist. He also knows what I know that the conspiracy, with all the plotting and scheming to install him as National Chairman had been cooking long before the Convention process was revealed. The delegation that visited Benin City unceremoniously, last year, to admit him into the ACN party made no contact with the State Party Leadership. He was drafted into our State Party by outsiders who had ulterior motives. I was away in Dacca Senegal on a private visit two weeks or so before the convention. It was in the Senegalese capital I read on the Internet Chief Oyegun’s press declaration of his candidature. When I returned home I was reliably informed that he had been instructed by his patrons to proceed and print campaign posters. All these maneuvers taking place even before the emergence of convention guidelines were manifestations of a festering conspiracy. Having been secretly assured of the outcome, the chief not only ignored the position of the Edo State Party on the issue, he never bothered to campaign. On my part I did not approach any of the 16 Governors or any Party leader to solicit for support to contest the National Chairmanship except for Governor Adams Aliu Oshiomhole of Edo State whom I saw in Benin City a few days to the convention when I became aware that the National Chairmanship had been zoned to the South South zone. My State Party- Edo State APC naturally supported me unanimously but I printed no posters, did not campaign, did not return the nomination forms as there was to be no election.
I have read statements in the press credited to one of the Governors who claims knowledge of what transpired, to the effect that the allocation of National Chairman and other National offices of the Party was negotiated between the Governors and Tinubu. The late night event that took place at Eagle Square on the 13th of June was just a stage-managed ritual to satisfy INEC requirements and deceive the nation. I was never part of any talks that resulted in the allocation decisions and certainly could never have been in support of a strange process that replaced the democratic procedures enshrined in the party’s constitution.
In the course of his maiden visit to Edo State Chief Oyegun, in his statement in the Governor’s office referred to me as those “disgruntled” at his emergence as National Chairman. In a subsequent interview in the Vanguard and Punch News Papers widely advertised on the Internet under the caption “Ikimi made mistake threatening to leave APC” he said among other things ” It is unfortunate that when you feel hurt, you threaten your party. That alone creates suspicion about you in the party that you still belong to. Let me say it was a mistake for him to threaten to leave the party” Certainly the euphoria and relish of his new office may have taken possession of him, blurring his vision such that he does not see the deep wound inflicted on the party, which is now disintegrating rapidly across the country. For the record let me state that it was I who admitted Chief Oyegun into the APP in 1999. He joined the ACN a year ago in Benin City after he departed from the ANPP where in the 2011 General Elections he was that party’s vice Presidential candidate. He certainly did not depart from the ANPP with great pleasure. Therefore moving from one party to another should not be so strange to him as his strange statement portrays. Let me state that notwithstanding my well known disagreement over the years with the conduct of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, his actions within the AC, ACN and APC and notwithstanding the amazing retention of Chief Bisi Akande as National Chairman of all these parties since 2006, there was absolute mutual respect between me and Chief Bisi Akande. I have no difficulty in accepting any qualified member of the Party from any part of Nigeria emerging legitimately as National chairman. Chief John Oyegun visits me regularly in Benin City and Abuja where I treat him graciously but I demand of him to clarify what he meant by “the suspicion” he claimed the Party he joined through ACN (a party he became a member of last year) would have about me, a founding foundation member of AC, ACN and APC. Is he speaking for himself or singing his master’s tune?
Senator Ali Modu Sherriff, former two terms Governor of Bornu State enthusiastically supported the merger. In fact his influence as Chairman Board of Trustees of the defunct ANPP was crucial to bringing the party on board. Senator Sherriff achieved his first tenure as a Nigerian Senator in 1991 under the NRC party when I was the National Chairman. He always recalls the support i gave him in what was his maiden political outing. I appreciate the co-operation he gave to the merger committee, which substantially helped us to overcome impediments put on our way during the merger talks, by some leaders of the ACN and CPC, who did not want the ANPP on board. To get the APC off the ground Senator Sherriff made substantial contributions, which included huge finance.
On the 7th of March 2014 the APC staged a National Summit at the Hilton Hotel in Abuja which was an elaborate event choreographed to officially unveil the new party. An extensive presentation was displayed to showcase how the party was formed. Most fair-minded persons who attended the event were shocked to observe that not even a word was mentioned of me as one of those who contributed to the creation of the APC. Film clips were shown of Bola Tinubu, Muhamadu Buhari, Bisi Akande, Ogbonnaya Onu and a few selected others who in most cases gave distorted accounts of the merger process. Surprisingly it was Senator Ali Modu Sherriff who became so disgusted by the deliberate distortion of the facts that he had the courage to take the microphone and openly berated the injustice.
Some were obviously embarrassed but it turned out that those who prepared the presentation, many of them high ranking members of the party, were working on the instructions of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. For his noteworthy and courageous public intervention on this matter, Senator Sherriff was now marked down by Bola Tinubu as having opposed him so much so that shortly after the event both men almost engaged in physical combat at an expanded National Exco meeting in Abuja.
Senator Ali Modu Sherriff may be a friend and long time political ally but he is certainly not my sponsor. I read several newspaper fictional stories that said Senator Sherriff was sponsoring me for National Chairman. That is not true.
The merger talks of 89 members hosted by me, was managed by a leadership of four which included HE Ibrahim Shekarau of ANPP, Alhaji Garba Gadi of CPC, Senator Ani Okonkwo of the APGA faction and myself of ACN. I was unanimously nominated by the group to preside as coordinating chairman. We worked harmoniously together and on the 6th February 2013 the four of us signed the agreement for the merger of the three parties and a part of APGA. I announced the merger and presented the agreement to the world. We continued to the next and difficult stages of agreeing a name, flag, motto and symbol for the party. These were very intricate negotiations! Our Sub-Committees worked on the Constitution and Manifesto. After all these were accomplished Asiwaju Bola Tinubu prevented a smooth establishment of the party in accordance with our agreements. HE Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau former Governor of Kano State was sidelined in his State by a curious arrangement that ceded the party leadership in the state to the present Governor of Kano State with no defined role for the former Governor to play. He was compelled to withdraw his membership from the Party. He joined the PDP where he was recently appointed Minister of Education. Alhaji Shekarau possesses a very sound and critical mind. I found his contributions to our work most invaluable. Senator Ani Okonkwo has also announced his departure from the APC. The popular will, prevailing at the time among a cross section of members was that the Merger Leadership should continue to mold the party for at least six months and bring it to fruition by diligently establishing all its structures. Regrettably this was foiled by hijackers who have now crashed the project.
Governor of Sokoto State Alhaji Atahiru Bafarawa could not accept the shabby treatment meted out to him by those who seized the new party. Governor Bafarawa is very loyal and dependable. He is an astute politician with whom I have been associated for about thirty years now. He was NRC State Party Chairman of Sokoto State in 1991 when I was National Chairman. He has always been very keen on the unification of the opposition parties and consequently hosted several merger meetings prior to the 2011 General Elections. On this occasion he hosted the sittings of the Constitution committee.. Alhaji Bafarawa suffered unprecedented humiliation in the ACN in 2011 in a kangaroo convention staged in Lagos to select the ACN Presidential candidate. He therefore withdrew from the ACN party to return to the ANPP. This time as an ANPP delegate he enthusiastically participated in the merger talks. He has now withdrawn from the APC to join the PDP as he could not accept the sudden hand over of the APC Sokoto Party to the present Governor who during his tenure was his deputy.
Senator Ali Modu Sherriff has not hidden his very strong disapproval of the precarious direction that the Party is heading. The conduct of 13th June Convention was totally unacceptable to him. Following his open challenge of Tinubu it did not surprise me that Tinubu negotiated away all Sherriff’s nominees from the newly constituted National Executive committee. I understand that Sen. Ali Modu Sherriff is on his way out of the party, along with a very large slice of the party membership particularly from the North East.
It is not a coincidence to me that the prominent members of APC targeted by Bola Tinubu such as Alhaji Atahiru Bafarawa, Sen Ali Modu Sherriff and myself are former NRC members or those perceived as Conservatives.
Since after the 13th of June APC Convention and after my post convention statement, a few leaders of the APC have come to see me on their individual personal basis to plead with me not to abandon the party. I have received quite a number of telephone calls as well, conveying similar views to me. None of these persons could disagree with my very strong views against the turn of events regarding the mismanagement of the party nor of the grave injustice that has been perpetrated against me through an unprecedented level of conspiracy and bad faith. All they are saying to me is that I should not abandon what I had helped so much to build. It is truly amazing that all who have spoken to me privately without exception agree with me that the image of the APC as is a Tinubu Party has severely damaged the party but each time I openly raise issues that challenge the consequences everyone keeps quiet. It is common knowledge that the vote against the very popular candidate Sen Chris Ngige in the Anambra Governorship election and recently against one of the most successful Governors Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State was indeed a vote against Tinubu. Tinubu’s obsessive calculation of South West/North West votes is unproven and untested. It is in pursuit of a very selfish ambition that has seriously alienated block zones, such as South East, South South, North East and most of North Central from the party. The Party has collapsed in very many states such as Adamawa, it is in distress in Edo, Ogun, Oyo. Lagos, Nasarawa.
In consideration of all the above I have come to the following conclusions:
I have lived to see one of my major political yearnings in place. Now there are two major Political Parties in my Country – The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and The All Progressives Congress (APC). I am satisfied that I have played an important and historic role in ensuring the emergence of an alternative platform to the party in office. There are many now claiming leadership of the APC who were very skeptical when we embarked on the merger project who openly dismissed the idea that it would never work. Yes, some of them tried several times in the past to unify some parties in order to achieve bigger platforms but in an atmosphere of prevailing dishonesty, greed, unbridled ambition, uncompromising and undiplomatic approaches to such delicate negotiations, their efforts yielded resounding failure. For my part I enjoyed the respect of all the 89 delegates who met with me for about six months because they were very confident I had no personal agenda not even taking sides to protect positions of the ACN my own party then. But immediately we established what they had considered impossible to do, I became a prime target, as they believed that they could only control and manipulate the affairs of the party if I was not there. By my credentials in Political Party Leadership my claim to the top table in any party to which I belong is well earned! In the present atmosphere of envy, plots and gossip the long-term satisfaction of a political comradeship and brotherhood anchored on shared principles and ideology, of honor, trust and confidence in pursuit of a common goal remain elusive.
I understand they claim that I possess a strong and independent personality as well as a mind of my own which cannot be bent and so I am said to be one that could not be controlled. On a rather mischievous note, my foremost assailant in that party, peddles in one breadth a smear campaign that if I were to be in charge, I would sell the party while in another fowl breadth that I am an enemy as I had served in the Abacha Government. My so called strong and independent personality sometimes misconstrued as an arrogant mien is merely the creation of nature and I have never ever been harmful at all to anyone around me but as for an independent and firm mind I believe it is an asset and an attribute which indeed is so direly needed for good and fair leadership in our society today and I apologize to no one for being so created. It is really ironic that I was not accused of going to sell the party over the past 13 years or so that I struggled in different recorded ways to make notable contributions in creating and building it up in its various forms but that i was now to sell the party after working successfully to achieve its present mega format. Who by the way is the buyer? Is it the PDP Government that opened its doors once more recently to one of the APC foremost boastful and noisy leader to consummate a mega oil deal on the eve of that controversial APC convention? Who then is really selling and who is indeed buying? Who sold Mallam Nuhu Ribadu’s ACN Presidential candidature in 2011? Was it Chief Tom Ikimi? My tenure as Foreign Affairs Minister during the Abacha Regime has turned out to be a befitting reference in patriotic diplomatic Service in our country for which I am extremely proud! Why am I targeted for being that Foreign Minister that brought peace to Liberia, restored democratic Government in Sierra Leone, maintained the leadership of Nigeria in the OAU, ECOWAS and the UN, the first to turn to China with a trade delegation that opened up massive opportunities for our country but they fail to point even a feeble finger at others in their midst who benefitted immensely from the Abacha Government, some who ran the most lucrative agencies during that tenure, some others who made away with giant oil fields or are we blind not to see the giant, fancy lucrative projects currently being executed in partnership with well known Abacha foreign friends!
In consideration of all these I now have grave difficulty in operating side-by-side petty minded people who are so scared of my personality and are not willing to submit to firm impartial authority. I will not accept any imaginary bar to be installed over me, deliberately constructed by political enemies to prevent my ascension to any height of my choice in any party that I belong to, such as has been so blatantly done in the APC.
The recent mass exodus from the Party has effectively put the movement of the APC firmly in reverse gear. Those who have left include notables such as Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State, Alhaji Atahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto State, Alhaji Ali Modu Sherriff of Bornu State, Brg Gen Buba Marwa of Adamawa State, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of Adamawa State, Senator Ani Okonkwo of Anambra State , Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu of Edo State. I understand Chief Olusegun Osoba of Ogun State is on his way out too. The very weak National Leadership appointed for the Party in the last Convention is definitely incapable of restoring any positive movement to the party. The prevailing hostile atmosphere in the party does not present the opportunity for any intervention from me at this time at National, Zonal or State Level as I have done in the past.
I led the process of change in Edo State politics in 2006 when as National Leader of the Action Congress (AC) I brought the new party to the state. I worked with dedicated and courageous colleagues to establish the party in Edo State and we recorded a resounding success in the 2007 General Elections – our very first outing in the State. AC and eventually ACN has therefore been the Government in power in Edo State from 2008 to date and I am proud of the quality of peaceful, respectable and dignified leadership that I was able to provide to the party through these years. Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole who joined us in the middle of our preparation for the 2007 General Elections met me in firm control of the Party and its Leadership in the State at the time. We welcomed him warmly and with our support he was lucky to emerge victorious in the State Governorship election and I have over the years enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Comrade. Now as he is the APC Governor of Edo State, I wish him good luck, good health and God’s guidance as he proceeds to conclude his second term in office. But during the past seven years of performing my role as leader of the party in Edo State, my personal experiences of the relationship between the political party, the legislature and the Executive at State level has instilled in me very useful lessons that would be immensely helpful in any future roles.
I have no current or perceivable ambition to contest for executive power. My quest for an alternative political platform in the country is basically in pursuit of a credible political structure that would guarantee the vital checks and balances in the system so that our people may enjoy the benefits of alternative choices of National Government from time to time. It is certainly not for the creation of a vengeful ravaging army of flatterers and favor-seekers at the command of a desperate upstart with the hideous mission of stampeding an illusory enemy. While I have always regarded the entire country as my constituency, I am not oblivious of the reality of my circumstance as a South Southerner, a Christian from a so called minority stock who will continue to align with the forces of change that would guarantee justice, prosperity, peace and happiness for all our peoples. The forces that have now seized the APC in a stranglehold are on a mission very much against my conscience and indeed my very being.
I have always viewed a political party as a congregation of like-minded persons who become welded together in a close-knit brotherhood in a manner beyond mere friendship. In a Nation of two dominant political parties or even diverse political parties the members, across party lines, who are all in politics need not be sworn enemies. After all they are citizens of the same Nation with I suppose a mission of service to their people. Therefore their hold to power has to be at the discretion of the people.
I am at the stage of currently critically re-examining the two dominant political parties in our country, which are the APC and the PDP, in both of which I have had close working knowledge. I have not ignored the other political parties but in the light of the foregoing I must now search to really ascertain where indeed my true political friends exist. I need to be, at this time of my life where I have friends who share a common vision with me and where my freedom, respect, honour and dignity would be guaranteed. Notwithstanding my enormous contributions over the past 12 years or so to building the alternative platform, after very deep thought and the widest consultations I have made the decision to withdraw my membership from the All Progressives Congress (APC) from today, Wednesday 27th August 2014.
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