The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) are deepened as the governors elected on the platform of the party has divided over who to act as National Chairman of the party pending the supreme court rules.
According to the Nation who gathered the report that 13 governors are backing the Abiola Ajimobi-led National Working Committee, seven others and some ministers in President Buhari’s cabinet are opposed to it.
The seven governors, who have branded themselves as “reformists,” are desperate to hijack the party’s structure ahead of the 2023 general election.
The 13 governors have, however, described the seven governors as “day dreamers” and “people driven by hubris.”
The crisis is not sitting well with some stakeholders who are now pleading for peace.
The immediate past national chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and the Deputy National Secretary, Mr.Yekini Nabena, in separate statements yesterday called for an immediate resolution of the crisis which was sparked by the suspension of the national chair, Comrade Oshiomhole by a court and the dispute over who should hold the fort in his absence.
A former deputy national secretary of APC, Mr.Victor Giadom, is laying claim to the position over and above the Deputy Chairman (South) Senator Abiola Ajimobi and the National Vice Chairman, Prince Hilliard Etta.
Oshiomhole said yesterday that Giadom was out to harm the party the way his group allegedly did in his home state of Rivers.
Nabena expressed a similar sentiment about Giadom, saying he was acting out a script.
The 13 governors who are backing the Ajimobi-led NWC, The Nation gathered yesterday, see the hand of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the APC crisis and have vowed to find a solution.
However, the other seven APC governors, who have styled themselves as reformists, are not so inclined towards the current leadership of the party.
A few ministers are also said to be fueling the crisis.
Sources said their overall objective is to seize the party’s structure ahead of the 2023 elections.
It was gathered that attempts by some of the aggrieved governors to destroy the minutes of a meeting of the North-East APC held in Gombe State last Saturday were foiled by Governor Babagana Zulum and some party leaders.
The plot to destroy the minutes was meant to pave the way for a fresh crisis in line with a disowned order of a Federal Capital Territory High Court which purportedly asked Giadom to act as National Chairman of the APC.
The National Vice Chairman (Northeast) of the party, Comrade Mustapha Salisu, who purportedly filed the motion, has said he was never a party to it.
He also said he did not ask anyone to file any motion on his behalf.
“I was not part of such shenanigan. It is not in my character to play such dirty politics, and I condemn in strong terms those behind it,” Salisu said on Thursday in reaction to the filing of the suit in his name.
The 13 pro-NWC governors are said to have been alarmed by revelations that the crisis in APC is being fueled by some PDP leaders.
A source cited the defection of Governor Godwin Obaseki to PDP on Friday with an APC governor allegedly playing a key role in the development.
The governor is believed to have helped in getting Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, a waiver to contest the governorship race.
Obaseki himself told reporters in Abuja yesterday that he still enjoys the support and sympathy of APC governors.
“I still thank God that I enjoy national support; not just support from my colleagues from the APC,” he said after his screening for this week’s primary of the PDP in his state.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The division among the APC governors is deeper. We have 13 on the side of the NWC and seven described as “dreamers.”
The 13 governors believe the party should survive all its leaders. They are therefore working for the stability of APC.
“They are of the opinion that instead of destroying APC, its leaders should sink their differences.
“They are worried that President Buhari is being blackmailed as if the APC was formed to realise his ambition alone.
“They are also insisting that 2023 Presidency should not be allowed to lead to the collapse of APC, irrespective of the aspirations of various leaders.
“They were shocked at the way their colleagues have been taking undue advantage of the judiciary for different rulings.”
On the fate of the suspended National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the source said: “I think we will soon get over that with measures put in place by the 13 governors and other party leaders.”
He said those opposed to the Oshiomole-Ajimobi leadership were doing so because of 2023 politics.
His words: “They have been boasting that they have pocketed the judiciary and can get any judgment. Although we have left the ultimate divine judgment to God, we will do our best to curtail their hubris.
“It is unfortunate that some ministers in President Buhari’s cabinet have teamed up with these seven governors to plot the collapse of the APC which produced the government in which they are serving.
“They hide under the guise of being “reformists” to cause crisis. For instance, one of the governors actually facilitated Obaseki’s negotiation with PDP so that APC could lose.
“Also, another of the seven governors is said to be boasting that they have piled up funds to destroy APC completely unless they have their way.”
Asked the way out, the source said: “The two camps have not been able to reconcile. No one is mediating between the two camps as I am talking to you. We are hopeful that President Buhari will be decisive in saving APC from collapse.”
How attempts to destroy minutes were foiled
A member of the APC NWC said the plot to destroy the minutes was meant to pave the way for a fresh crisis in line with the disowned order of a Federal Capital Territory High Court which purportedly asked the Deputy National Secretary, Victor Giadom, to act as the National Chairman of APC.
The source said: “To justify the need for Giadom to be acting National Chairman and the National Vice Chairman (North-East), Comrade Mustapha Salihu, to be National Secretary, a ranking member of those seeking to destroy APC called the Zonal Secretary to bring the minutes of last Saturday zonal session in Gombe.
“The leader said the purpose was to destroy the minutes and attendance register for strategic reasons and in the interest of the APC. He said he was acting on the instructions of other leaders from the North-East.
“Sensing danger, the Zonal Secretary contacted North-East leaders, including Governor Zulum who was in Abuja on Friday.
“The Zonal Secretary was directed to keep the records of the meeting in Gombe. I think they are desperate to initiate a fresh crisis. The minutes and other documents are now in safe custody.”
Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, speaking in an interview yesterday in Abuja, claimed that Giadom was out to destroy the APC the way his group allegedly ruined the party in Rivers State in the run-up to the 2019 election.
Oshiomhole said Giadom ceased to be a member of the NWC of the party a long time ago and that in any case, there was no way a deputy national secretary would be handed the affairs of a party over and above other high ranking officers.
“It is common sense that if the chairman is absent, it should be the deputy. In the absence of the deputy, it is the vice chairman. How does the deputy secretary come in?” he said
“As we speak, we have a secretary sitting in the office, working late hours to ensure that the secretariat functions. I think that my brother, Victor Giadom, wants to take our party through the route of Rivers State where they created so many problems.
“As we speak today, in Rivers, we have a crisis. My plea to them is that they should put God first and put our national party’s interest second and our democracy deep in their hearts and not try to use externalities to destabilise our party the way it has been destabilised in Rivers State.
“How can a deputy National Secretary, assuming he was still one, claim to be chairman?”
The immediate past national chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, yesterday called for the invocation of the doctrine of necessity to provide for the setting up of a caretaker committee to resolve the leadership crisis in the ruling party.
Odigie-Oyegun in a statement entitled “Before it is too late”, said: “There is a most urgent need for the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to meet and institute for the party a Caretaker Committee (even if we have to invoke the doctrine of necessity), whose main responsibility will be to arrange for a special National Convention.”
He asked President Muhammad Buhari, who is the leader of the party, to do the needful and save the party from collapse.
He said: “As former National Chairman of the party, I remain proud of the great strides of our government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“However, I am afraid to note that the legacy of a government is defined mostly by its politics rather than its achievements in other areas, no matter how lofty those achievements are.
“Our recent history bears enough testimony to this reality. The military government of President Ibrahim Babangida is today remembered mainly for the June 12, 1993 elections and its aftermath.
“Our own political party, the APC, is fast becoming the single most dangerous threat to the legacy of our government and our President.”
Going down memory lane, he added: “When we decided in 2012 to build a political coalition of progressives, we were driven by a deep sense of patriotism to rescue our country and a strong commitment to salvage our democracy.
“We believed at the time that the ship of our country was headed for the rocks. Therefore, the significant progressive opposition parties and indeed all men and women of goodwill joined forces not only to bring it back on course but also to set it on a completely different trajectory that would restore the hopes of our people and make every Nigerian proud of this great country again.
“We approached Nigerians with the promise of change that resonated widely across the country. Based on our promise of change, the people voted against the ruling party in a collective political action that was unprecedented in our nation’s history.
“Never before had our people’s hopes been so raised. It is my fervent prayers that in a few years from now, we do not look back and say never before have a people’s hope been so dashed.
“In the last few months, we have watched how the party has brazenly subverted its own principles of internal democracy and flagrant violation of every rule of decent political engagement in a manner that makes everyone associated with its promise of change liable to be accused of either hypocrisy or apostasy.
“We must therefore remember that our victory in the 2015 Presidential elections and the peaceful transfer of power that followed was a major testament of progress in our nation’s journey towards real democracy.
“This unprecedented democratic achievement has since inspired progressive forces all over Africa and has become a standard by which democracy is measured in the rest of the continent.
“Unfortunately, it appears that while other countries around us have marched ahead in the democratic journey, we have largely regressed.
“Because we were the political party that benefitted from a system that offered the opposition a chance, everyone expected us to show unwavering dedication to broaden the democratic space for everyone; to ensure that equity and justice take precedence over all other considerations and to ensure that our party truly functions as the vehicle for aggregating and managing contending political interests.
“Unfortunately, what we have witnessed from our party is the steady erosion of even the very basic tenets of democratic principles in a manner that could turn our watershed victory of 2015 to the waterloo of our hard won democracy.
“As a major stakeholder and as a founding member of the All Progressives Congress, I have made various efforts to add my voice to those of several other well-meaning leaders of the party in ensuring that the ideals and principles that we fought for are not completely thrown overboard. “However, I have come to realise that those who feel more entitled to the party are no longer capable of hearing alternative viewpoints other than those counseled by their ego and their self-serving interests, which they have promoted over all other considerations, including that of common decency.
“Yet, no political party will survive for long, which is unwilling to accommodate competing ideas and provide the space for healthy debates.”
The APC, according to him, “is fast becoming the single most dangerous threat to the legacy of our government and our President.
“This statement is therefore a clarion call to leaders of the party, particularly the governors and Mr. President to urgently bring a stop to the disgraceful and humiliating charade occurring within the National Secretariat of our great party.”
The APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena, lashed out at Giadom for his antics, which he said are capable of destabilising the party.
He also called for the convocation of an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) as a solution to the leadership crisis rocking the party.
The APC deputy spokesperson, who spoke with newsmen in Abuja on Saturday, lamented that the party was clearly at a tipping point.
He said: “Not too long ago, Victor Giadom claimed the position of the National Secretary. Now he is claiming the chairmanship. It is unfortunate that Giadom is being used as a destabilising agent by fifth columnists.
“On what ground is Victor Giadom claiming the chairmanship of the party when he has long ceased to be a member of the National Working Committee following his resignation to contest as the Rivers State deputy governorship candidate in the 2019 elections?
“Whatever waiver Victor Giadom is brandishing cannot stand, as the Constitution and INEC guidelines require resignation from public office to contest general elections, which Victor Giadom did by resigning as Deputy National Secretary.
“The same Victor Giadom and his sponsors are already engaging in anti-party activities through their continued support of Governor Godwin Obaseki despite Obaseki formerly joining the Peoples Democratic Party to contest the Edo State governorship election.”
The Bayelsa State born APC chieftain said Giadom and his sponsors should be investigated by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
“The National Judicial Council should investigate the boasts by sponsors of Victor Giadom, a minister and a north central governor, that they are in control of the Court of Appeal and are already using it to further their selfish interest and sabotage the APC.
“As I have always said, personal interest must never override party interest. The APC is nobody’s personal property.
“I call on our dear President to accede to the request by majority of well-meaning party members and leaders and convene an emergency NEC meeting to address the leadership crisis and deliberate on consolidating the APC’s control of Edo and Ondo states ahead of the forthcoming governorship elections.
“At least four people are laying claim to the chairmanship of the APC following the court-ordered suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
“All manner of court cases and orders are flying around contesting party decisions and National Working Committee positions.
“Factions are festering at the national level and many states. The APC is clearly at a tipping point.
“The several court cases and orders over the national leadership of the party have put the party in a standstill and is a legal threat to the forthcoming elections in Edo and Ondo states.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is the leader of the party, and it has become imperative for him to convene an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee to find solutions to the crisis and chart a way forward.”
Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in River State has forwarded the name of Mr. Worgu Boms to the party’s national secretariat as the Deputy Nnational Secretary of the party.
He is to replace Victor Giadom.
Boms is a former attorney general and commissioner for justice in Rivers State.
The National Vice Chairman South South, Hon. Hillard Eta, disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja on Saturday at the National Secretariat of the party.
Also speaking on Boms nomination yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC in the state, Igo Aguma, said the NWC would be pleased with the decision.
Aguma confirmed that following the request of the NWC that the Rivers State chapter of the party should send a replacement for Giadom who resigned his position as a Deputy National Secretary in 2019, the chapter immediately sent a letter containing a fresh nomination.