The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress, APC over the National Chairman of the party is deepening as state chairmen became divided over the issue.
Source gathered the report that 23 of the state chairmen are in support of the embattled National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and passed a confidence vote on him, 14 chairmen denied doing so, adding that they had not met but would meet before next Tuesday’s National Executive Committee, NEC meeting.
Meanwhile, Oshiomhole was absent as no fewer than eight members of the National Working Committee, NWC, resumed on Tuedasy, work following the decision of the Police to unseal the party’s national secretariat, on Monday.
According to the Vanguard who gathered that the NWC members met for a few hours, it was not clear what the agenda of the meeting was.
However, a party official disclosed that the meeting was in connection with the March 17 NEC meeting.
This happened on a day that a chieftain of the APC in Edo, Maj.-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, retd, disclosed that he and other stalwarts had joined forces to back up President Muhammadu Buhari and Oshiomhole to resolve the crisis plaguing the party.
Those who attended the NWC meeting include the acting National Secretary, Chief Victor Giadom, who presided; National Vice Chairman, North-East, Comrade Mustapha Salihu; National Vice Chairman, South West, Barr. Bankole Oluwajana; and the National Organizing Secretary, Emma Ibediro.
Others were National Youth Leader, Abubakar Sadiq; National Woman Leader, Hajia Salamatu Hassan Baiwa; National Disabled Leader, Misbah Lawan Didi; and the party’s acting National Auditor.
No sooner had the meeting ended than the party officials filed out of the secretariat, in what sources said would be the continuation of the meeting at another undisclosed venue.
According to the Vanguard also sighted the factional Chairman of the party in Edo State, Mr. Anselm Ojezua and three others.
It was gathered that the party had earlier extended invitation to Col. David Imuse, a factional Chairman of the party in Edo State to attend the NEC meeting.
The development had prompted Ojezua to visit the secretariat to ensure a reversal.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the March 17 event, the NEC meeting room in the party secretariat was being renovated with electrical fittings and air conditioners being fixed or replaced. The premises were also being cleaned as at the time of filing this report.
It has become a norm for the party to always put the conference room in shape ahead of every NEC meeting.
The division among the chairmen became manifest as the Publicity Secretary of the Forum of All Progressives Congress APC State Chairmen, Hon. Lawal Liman, issued a statement denying reports that it met in Abuja on Monday and passed a Vote of Confidence on Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Liman said the chairmen would meet before the NEC meeting of the party slated for next Tuesday.
On Monday, the Forum Chairman, Ali Bukar Dalori and the Secretary, Dr. Ben Nwoye reportedly issued a statement in Enugu, disclosing that the forum passed a vote of confidence on Comrade Oshiomhole after meeting in Abuja.
However, Liman who is the APC chairman in Zamfara State said as soon as some of his colleagues saw the statement by Dr Nwoye, they began to call him (Liman) to find out when and where the meeting held.
“l have told them that no such thing happened and that they should disregard the statement.
“We had agreed, in the past, that nobody should issue a statement, in the name of the Forum, if the chairmen had not met and accepted the release of such statements,” he said.
Liman however said the Forum would enjoin party members to await the outcome of all the cases in the courts rather than taking the laws into their hands.
“l want to confirm to my colleagues that there was no meeting held and there was no statement issued to pass a Vote of Confidence on the National Chairman.
All issues would be resolved at the next NEC meeting and, hopefully, we will hold a meeting of the Forum before the said NEC meeting.
“We will not, in any way, bring the name of the Forum to disrepute by doing what will take away our credibility”, he stated.
23 of us are behind Oshiomhole – Dalori Forum chairman
However, before the spittle could dry on Liman’s lips, the Forum Chairman, Hon. Ali Bukar Dalori said that 23 state chairmen of the APC were strongly behind Oshiomhole.
Dalori stated this to Journalists in Maiduguri, on Tuesday, while reacting to the press statement signed by Liman, the forum’s Publicity Secretary, who doubles as the APC chairman in Zamfara State.
Dalori insisted that those who are opposed to the leadership of Comrade Oshiomhole are doing so for their selfish interest, and not the interest of the party, which must be resisted by all lovers of good governance and democracy, that APC upholds.
He noted that apart from some state APC chairmen in Zamfara, Kebbi, Ekiti, Sokoto and few others, 23 APC state chairmen have passed a vote of confidence on Oshiomhole, because of the good works he has been doing, particularly his efforts to ensure the ruling APC won elections in some states hitherto controlled by opposition parties.
His words: “I am the Forum Chairman of APC states chairmen in Nigeria, and as I am talking to you, we have 23 state chairmen of the ruling party who are strongly behind our National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who has done credibly well in repositioning our party to greater heights, even in some states hitherto governed by opposition parties.
Our National Chairman did well to ensure we won governorship and other elective positions.
Therefore, those who were opposed to Comrade Oshiomhole are doing so for their own interest and not the collective interest our great party.
“In fact, apart from some state APC chairmen like in Zamfara, Kebbi, Ekiti, Sokoto and few others, 23 APC state Chairmen out of the 36 states of the federation including FCT, Abuja have passed a vote of Confidence on Oshiomhole because of the good works he has been doing.”
Stalwarts team up in Edo to rescue Oshiomhole, APC
Meanwhile, Airhiavbere, a frontline aspirant for the governorship slot in the forthcoming Edo elections on the platform of the APC, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, said the APC, led by Oshiomhole has faced recurring leadership crisis that appears to be threatening Oshiomhole’s plum job.
Airhiavbere lamented that the crisis which has pitched Oshiomhole against some interests in the ruling party was being induced by those he described as political dissidents in the APC.
”We shall help President Buhari and Chairman Adams Oshiomhole to overcome the crisis being induced against the party by political dissidents in the APC,” he said.
Airhiavbere explained that it was getting clearer by the day that what was at the core of the entire plot against Oshiomhole was “the ambition of Governor Godwin Obaseki.’’
According to him, the governor is being used as a “pawn” in the power struggle by some governors, who are vacating office in 2023.
Airhiavbere argued that the quest of the governors was to weed out every politician associated with the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC and the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the buildup to the 2023 general elections.
The APC chieftain said the ultimate game plan was to erase Buhari’s legacy and everything associated with him if the dissidents grabbed power in the next political dispensation.
He noted that, “the indiscretion, insubordination and desperation of the Edo governor is what has thrown the APC into crisis at the moment. “It is feared that it may likely send the APC to coma if the dissidents are not checkmated forthwith. However, there is already a groundswell of support from majority of both the national working committee and members against the dissidents and their attack dogs.”