R-E-V-E-A-L-E-D! The Buhari’s intervention that saved Oshiomhole’s job as APC Chairman

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By Kemi Kasumu

 

The members whose suspensions are now lifted and who have returned to the party include the Vice Chairman North West Zone, Alhaji Inuwa AbdulKadir, whose return to APC NWC now is strong indication that Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, will return to the party in matter of time.

 

The truth of how peace found its way back to ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nigeria has finally been revealed against the claim by Bola Tinubu supporters that their leader brought his political weight to bear in how Adams Oshiomhole’s job was saved as National Chairman of the party.

The DEFENDER, emerging from reliable media report, can now authoritatively report that Oshiomhole’s job was actually saved by the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, whose body language the Court of Appeal that within the hours of an afternoon failed to hear the embattled chairman’s appeal and made a u-turn same period and stayed execution of his suspension, was said to have watched carefully before it acted on what could have best been resolved internally within the APC family.

Before the Buhari intervention, Oshiomhole had been rumoured to be working for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Tinubu, the party chieftain generally believed to be political benefactor that fielded him as APC chairman, was being rumoured to be warming up to join PDP should the plot to remove Oshiomhole succeed thereby spelling the end of a United APC.

Amidst this imbroglio was the dethronement of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, who was sacked from the throne by an APC governor in Abdullahi Ganduje, one of the progressives governors loyal to Tinubu and a supporter of Oshiomhole. It would therefore be understandable to see another progressives governor in Nasir el-Rufai as he quickly took advantage of the situation coming from a pro-Tinubu/Oshiomhole’s Ganjuje to assert his strategy.

El-Rufai, a very strong APC strategist, is notable anti-Oshiomhole force against whose interest Tinubu and Oshiomhole were said to be positioning themselves ahead of 2023 with intent to possibly make Ganduje running mate to a Tinubu candidacy. Although he claims to be Sanusi’s friend from the days of yore, the Kaduna governor thus came to the support of the deposed Emir but not in capacity of restoring him to his royalty. He ensured the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria not only got off the hook of banishment placed him by Ganduje but also saw to his safe delivery to his chosen place of Lagos to live the rest of his life.

That was how messy the Tinubu/Oshiomhole politics that nearly rocked the boat of five-year-old in power APC had escalated before President Muhammadu Buhari, heeding to the calls to assume his position as Leader of the Party, finally agreed to intervene. Good enough, his intervention not only saved Oshiomhole his job but also it once again united the party as members believed to have been erroneously or mischievously suspended by Oshiomhole’s National Working Committee (NWC) thereby hurting Buhari loyalists ahead of Tinubu’s 2023 had their suspensions lifted and returned to the party and their positions.

The members whose suspensions are now lifted and who have returned to the party include the Vice Chairman North West Zone, Alhaji Inuwa AbdulKadir, whose return to APC NWC now is strong indication that Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, will return to the party in matter of time.

It will be recalled that the APC crisis had been linked to effort by Tinubu camp, represented in the NWC by Oshiomhole, to dominate the party structure thereby generating excuses of an offence to nail members perceived to be Buhari’s loyalists and subsequently removing either by suspension or expulsion. This was how then Governors Ibikunle Amosun, Rotimi Akeredolu, Rochas Okorocha and the Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu, Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs Usani Usani, Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VoN) Osita Okechukwu and a host of others were plunged into troubles on “offences” (e.g. attempt to field successor and supporting own candidate through other party due to party crisis) similar to which many complained Tinubu committed in Ondo and Edo 2016 and left untouched. It was open that Tinubu campaigned against APC on the eve of last Edo governorship election thinking he was fighting then APC National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun and sponsored Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidacy of Olusola One in Ondo 2016 against his own party candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, we gardered.

It will also be recalled that President Buhari, who never wanted to interfere in party affairs, warned Oshiomhole against depriving members to use constitutionally permissible means to seek redress over what they considered to be injustice done to them in the party. That was when the Oshiomhole-led NWC suspended those names aforementioned on the excuse that they went to court. For this reason therefore, APC lost its strongholds to less imagined opposition PDP in presidential election of 2019 namely Ondo, Oyo, and even lost more states in the governorship polls. The party even lost two states in their whole, namely, Zamfara and Rivers due to this APC crisis and the gladiators never felt sorry or remorseful until the persecuted forces among APC governors and non-govershorship members decided to stand to the problem in the face, saying, “Enough is enough”.

The APC crisis was not even separated from the unprecedented loss of Bayelsa at the eve of inauguration that would have earned a brand new state it never ever won in 20 years of democratic experience of the Forth Republic. No wonder Special Assistant to the President on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, said in an interview with The DEFENDER that the major victim of the Bayelsa loss was not APC but it’s governorship candidate, Chief David Lyon, who, for no personal fault, had the carpet of honour off his feet by a Supreme Court last minute verdict in favour of PDP candidate.

Many mouths are thus wagging,w asking if Oshiomhole had obeyed President Buhari and not danced to Tinubu’s tune before now, would the party not have completely sustained its grounds and be saved from all of the threats of collapse that it went through?

At last, however, the crisis finally came to an end when, after a long time of leaving Oshiomhole to run the APC without hindrance and interference from his presidency, President Buhari intervened.

It is the more reason Oshiomhole will see Tuesday March 17, 2020 since he became the National Chairman of of the APC in June 23, 2018 as a day that he will not forget in a hurry, according to a submission by Vanguard.

It was a day that those gunning for his removal would have removed him as chairman of the ruling party via a National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting that he would not attend on account of his suspension as APC chairman by a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Federal High Court.

However, a day to the NEC meeting called by the Acting National Secretary, Chief Victor Giadom, who laid claim to the mantle of acting chairman, Oshiomhole was handed a lifeline by two events.

First, President Muhammadu Buhari, on the advice of bickering APC governors postponed the NEC meeting indefinitely. And secondly, the Court of Appeal ordered stay of execution of Oshiomhole’s suspension.

Thus, on the day he was to have been sacked, Oshiomhole returned to the saddle and superintended a National Working Committee, NWC, meeting where he acknowledged his mistakes, sued for peace and extended the olive branch to aggrieved leaders of the party, who were after his political jugular.

The horse-trading

A Vanguard report gathered that the reprieve did not come to Oshiomhole on a platter. It came after intense horse-trading by major stakeholders moderated by the Presidency.

To retain his seat, Oshiomhole, Vanguard gathered, was handed some conditions to meet. His traducers were also handed conditions to fulfil in the overall interest of the party.

An inside source, who was privy to the high-wire deals told Vanguard: ‘’You can see that at the NWC meeting, Oshiomhole toned down his combative posture and made conciliatory moves. That was one of the things he was asked to do. He was asked to hands-off Edo, stop harassing northern leaders, and stop his high-handedness. The presidency gave him tasks.’’

Asked if the anti-Oshiomhole forces are ready to sheathe their sword against Oshiomhole as agreed, the source said: ‘’The presidency gave him tasks. We are going along the line of what the presidency directed. No one likes wahala (trouble).’’

Asked if they would withdraw the avalanche of litigations as Oshiomhole told journalists they had agreed after the NWC meeting on Tuesday, the source added: ‘’The direction of the presidency is where we are going. We will withdraw the cases in court.’’

Out of court settlement

Speaking with journalists after the NWC meeting Oshiomhole stated that the NWC had resolved to withdraw all cases from the courts.

“We have also resolved that we are going to withdraw all cases in court that any member of the NWC is involved in so that we must lead by example and we have shown that we are capable of managing ourselves and therefore we do not need the court to help us resolve what we are capable of resolving.”

Lifting of suspensions

Oshiomhole also announced that the NWC has lifted the suspension it slammed on some of its members.

“People had issues which they felt strongly about, and as a result, the NWC took some decisions which affected my friend and brother, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, Deputy National Chairman, North. The NWC had a reason for suspending him as at then. Today, we have reviewed the situation and we believe that in the spirit of our renewed commitment to building unity and true reconciliation, we as leaders of the party elected at the convention should live by example. And that means for those we think have offended the system, we have chosen to lift their suspensions. Sen. Lawal Shuaibu can resume his duties as Deputy National Chairman, North.

“We also reviewed the matter of Inuwa Abdulkadir, National Vice Chairman Northwest. By the same spirit, the NWC was unanimous in lifting the suspension and he resumes work with immediate effect. So, with these two decisions, the two members of the NWC who were suspended, their suspensions have now been lifted”, he said.

Pleads for forgiveness

“I have asked everyone and they have accepted, whatever they considered to be my own shortcomings, I have asked for forgiveness and they have forgiven and whatever I considered to be anyone’s shortcoming that irritated me, I have also forgiven. This is the way it should be. It can only be abnormal if people know how to fight and they do not know how to settle”, he added.

Shuaibu returns to NEC, says Obaseki remains APC’s best option in Edo

As part of the peace deal, APC Deputy National Chairman, North, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, yesterday, returned to the party after the NWC lifted his suspension.

Addressing journalists at the national secretariat, Shuaibu who arrived at about 3:20pm said for the party to make a headway in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State, the incumbent governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki remained its best bet.

Asked whether the altercation between the governor and Comrade Oshiomhole was a time bomb waiting to explode during the elections, Shuaibu said: “It is not a time bomb. We all heard President Buhari during the last NEC meeting announce that any governor who has performed, deserves a second term. There is no time bomb because why should you prefer any other person than the sitting governor? It is like that all over the world even in America where we copied this democracy. Donald Trump has no opposition and nobody is contesting against him. It does not make sense to bring another person to contest against the governor. Governor Obaseki is the strongest candidate of the APC we have in Edo State.”

The former senator also explained his reason for staying away from party activities, claiming: “Nobody suspended me, it was just a fight that I wanted to avoid. I don’t want to continue the fight and that was why I kept quiet. All I wanted to do was to raise my hand before the market burns because by the time the market goes aflame everybody may be consumed.

“All I have said in that letter have all come to pass. It is wrong to say that the war is over because to me, there was no war in the first place. My letter to Oshiomhole was very personal to either save the party or allow it to collapse.

“The structures of the party as a result of the inability of the leadership to reposition the party have become very weak. From wards to the national centre, the structures have become weak and that was what I was trying to avoid.

“I told him to come back to the track and if he cannot do it, let him leave because some of us have suffered to build this party. However, as he said, in the spirit of reconciliation, all these are now bygone because there is nothing anybody can do when he said he has extended the Olive branch.

“Oshiomhole is my very good friend and we have been very close friends but when something goes wrong, I cannot sit down when the house is collapsing on our heads without telling the world what is happening”.

On the way forward for the party, he said: “There are ways of doing it. We are not new comers in this game, we know how to revamp the party but it only depends on whether they can listen to us. I am not the chairman, he is, if we advise and he does not take our advice, what do we do?”

He also spoke on the ability of the Chief Bisi Akande led National Reconciliation Committee to settle the disputes in the party, saying; “Let me tell you something. The pertinent question is who do you reconcile? You told me to come and buy expression of interest form for N2.5 million or so. I bought the form but when it comes to the contest, you will say no that only this person will get the ticket but you didn’t refund my money. How do you reconcile that? We have to create an avenue for a new beginning and move forward because human beings easily forget. Because of the love they have for this party, they will want to open a new beginning.”

It is to be seen if the party leaders will withdraw the litany of suits burdening the party. Court of Appeal will hear Oshiomhole’s appeal against his suspension tomorrow. The case at Abuja High Court making Giadom acting chairman will come up on Friday. The substantive suit suspending Oshiomhole by six plaintiffs from his home state, Edo that he was previously suspended as a member of the party from his Etsako ward 10 and as such should not function as APC chairman, will continue on April 7.

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