•Says party collapsing with no leader in charge
By Dapo Akinrefon, Omeiza Ajayi & Levinus Nwabughiogu
DIRECTOR General of the Progressive Governors Forum, PGF, Salihu Moh Lukman has condemned the lingering leadership crisis in the National Working Committee, NWC, of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, lamenting that the seeming reticence of President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue has become frustrating.
Lamenting that APC is collapsing, and NWC members are working for godfathers, Lukman canvassed flushing out of the NWC members, and convening a National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting to address the party’s myriad of crises.
“The situation APC finds itself is very traumatic for every member. By extension, the inability of the party to find solution to the leadership crisis makes it also traumatic for all our leaders including those of them who today serve as the face of the crisis – Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Chief Eta, Chief Giadom and their accomplices in and out of the NWC. What makes the situation more frustrating is the reticence of President Buhari in the face of what obviously could damage the legacy he will bequeath to the nation”, he said.
In a personal statement, yesterday, entitled: ‘Old Ambition-Virus 2023: Why a Meeting of NEC is the Solution”, Lukman said: “While we must celebrate the fact that his leadership style is required to ensure that the party is managed independently and, therefore, made possible for the exercise of supremacy of the party based on decisions of organs, ‘old ambition-Virus 2023’ may have weakened the capacity of the party to benefit from the commendable leadership approach of President Buhari.
“While the PDP was largely plunged into crisis by a garrison-styled leadership, which is the direct opposite of President Buhari’s approach, our current crisis may suggest wrongly that having a liberal President who provides free atmosphere to the party is responsible for the crisis facing the party. This will be a very wrong conclusion.
‘’However, the question is, what further measures could be required from the President in order to ensure the emergence of a good synergy between him (President Buhari) and the party? What may be apparent is that ‘old ambition-Virus 2023’ sickness afflicting other leaders as diagnosed by Asiwaju Tinubu in March 2020 may block support to the President to resolve the crisis”.
Lukman, who noted that the crisis in the APC was no longer news, added that, “what is news now is that the party is collapsing with no leader in charge.”
He said: “Is it possible for a ruling party in control of the Federal Government, with President Buhari, who is incontestably the moral leader, not to be able to resolve a matter as important as who presides as the National Chairman of the party?
‘’How can a party so blessed with experienced and very skilful leaders such as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief Ognonnaya Onu, Chief Tony Momoh, etc. be incapable of resolving the problem of leadership vacancy?
‘’With 20 governors and in control of the National Assembly leadership producing the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, shouldn’t that serve as a source of strength to be able to solve any leadership dispute in the party, no matter how complex?
“These are practical questions requiring very urgent responses. Every loyal member of the party must be ashamed of what is going on now. Within few hours of the Abuja Appeal Court ruling, our party has produced three conflicting claims to the position of the National Chairman. Sen Abiola Ajimobi, Deputy National Chairman South, Chief Hilliard Eta, National Vice Chairman South South and Chief Victor Giadom, Deputy National Secretary are all within 24 hours of the ruling presented to Nigerians as Acting National Chairman by disputing sections of the party’s leadership.
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While Chief Eta is being presented to stand in for Sen. Ajimobi who is indisposed, Chief Giadom is being presented on the strength of a court ruling on account of vacancies, which may have made him the most senior NWC member as of March 2020. All manner of arguments bordering on legal technicalities around interpreting provisions of the party’s constitution are being presented.’’
Lukman added that the NWC members are only faces of the symptoms of the crisis in the party, noting that the actual gladiators are the political godfathers instrumental to the election of the NWC members.
Flush out NWC members, convene NEC meeting
“As part of the treatment, it is very clear we need an organ transplant by way of replacing the members of the current NWC who constitute the problem. By provisions of our party’s constitution, it is only the National Convention that can discharge that function. And it is only the NEC that can convene the National Convention. Any hesitation not to convene NEC and hopefully activate the process of convening the National Convention could suggest that beyond the NWC, the whole party, APC, is infected with the ‘old ambition-Virus 2023’, all our leaders, President Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu inclusive.”
The first test is whether NEC will be convened or not.”
We’ll deal with him internally—APC official
Contacted, a top APC official, who spoke to Vanguard in confidence, dismissed Lukman’s remarks, saying the PGF Director General has no value. “Why should anybody take him seriously? He has no value but we will deal with him internally.”
Giadom restates claim to acting chairmanship
Yesterday, Chief Victor Giadom restated his claim to the acting national chairmanship position citing a March 16 Federal Capital Territory, Abuja High Court order, which he said has become valid with the Court of Appeal’s suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole as national chairman.
Giadom who is the party’s Deputy National Secretary said he was the highest ranking official following the ruling of the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, which upheld Oshiomhole’s suspension and declared all his actions since his suspension, null and void.
APC National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Isa-Onilu, had announced ailing Senator Abiola Ajimobi as the acting national chairman, being the Deputy National Chairman (South).
But Giadom, who spoke through his counsel, Wole Afolabi, said consequent upon an order of the FCT High Court issued on March 16, 2020, by Hon. Justice S.U Bature in Suit No. FCT/HC/M/6447/202, “Chief Victor Giadom is to act as the National Chairman.”
The court also empowered Comrade Mustapha Salihu, the APC National Vice Chairman (North East) to act as the National Secretary.
A statement issued by his lawyer, Wole Afolabi, read: ‘’Our attention has been drawn to a statement purportedly issued by the Publicity Secretary of the APC to the effect that Senator Abiola Ajumobi is to act as the National Chairman of APC following the suspension from office of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by the Court of Appeal.
‘’We wish to state that the statement must have been issued in complete ignorance of the order of the FCT High Court issued on 16th of March, 2020, by Hon. Justice S.U Bature in Suit No. FCT/HC/M/6447/2020 to the effect that Chief Victor Giadom is to act as the National Chairman of the party due to the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman.
‘’The order was given the same day that the Court of Appeal earlier gave Oshiomhole a temporary respite by staying the execution of the said order suspending Oshiomhole. Now that the Court of Appeal has affirmed the order of suspension, it is only proper that the Order recognizing Chief Victor Giadom is implemented.
‘’Consequently, we have written to all law-enforcement agencies to implement the said order and any one who attempts to parade himself/herself other than Chief Victor Giadom as the Acting Chairman of the APC would be facing contempt of court proceedings.
The said order has now been extended by the court for two weeks.
Salihu dissociates self from court order asking him to take over as secretary
Meanwhile, APC National Vice Chairman, North-East, Comrade Mustapha Salihu, has dissociated himself from a court order directing him to take over as National Secretary of the party.
The court order dated June 16, 2020 was purportedly obtained at the FCT High Court sitting at Maitama and presided over by Justice S. U Bature.
The motion ex-parte with number FCT/HC/M/7707/2020 was supported by an affidavit sworn by one Obinna Ugwu.
The order which had Comrade Salihu as the purported applicant granted the interim order that he should act as National Secretary pending “the decision of a validly convened National Executive Committee, NEC or pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice already filed, whichever comes first.”
Salihu in a swift reaction said he was not a party to it, explaining that there was no way he could have been part of the court processes when he was at a meeting of the party’s stakeholders from the North-East where the decision was reached to nominate and endorse Arc. Waziri Bulama as the acting national secretary of the party.
He said: “My zone, the North-East has already nominated Architect Waziri Bulama in the presence of the Senate President, APC governors from the zone and other party stakeholders as the acting national secretary. I was at the meeting where this decision was reached. So, why would I now go back to obtain a court order to act as National Secretary?
“I was not part of such shenanigans. It is not in my character to play such dirty politics and I condemn in strong terms those behind the act. At a time like this when the party is going through trying times, it is such a time that all lovers of the party must pull together to keep the party running”
Those joined in the said application as defendants are the National Legal Adviser, Babatunde Ogala, National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu and the acting National Secretary and the APC, Arc. Waziri Bulama.
Rep seeks Buhari, Lawan, Gbajabiamila’s intervention , says APC in danger ahead 2023
Indeed, a member of the House of Representatives, Chike Okafor, representing Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/ Obowo Constituency of Imo State, has urged President Buhari to immediately intervene and quell the storm in APC.
Okafor also appealed to the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, APC governors and all stakeholder to rally round the party and save its soul from destruction.
The lawmaker said that the current crisis was capable of ruining the electoral fortunes of the party in 2023 elections, if not resolved.
In a statement titled: ‘APC Crisis: Where Are The Leaders Of Our Party?’ Okafor stressed that Presidential intervention was extremely necessary as the party may not survive the different actions taken by members of the NWC.
The former chairman House Committee on Healthcare Services blamed the crisis rocking the ruling party on the personal interests of some leaders of the party ahead of 2023 polls.
He said: “In the last few days our great party has become the talking point and of course the byword for all that is wrong in party politics. Whether rightly or wrongly, the incontrovertible truth is that our party is slipping.’’
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