Second republic federal lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, has said that while the All Progressives Congress, APC, had the right to show keen interest in those aspiring to lead the National Assembly, the dictatorial posture of its leaders was a turn-off.
Speaking with Sunday Telegraph, Mohammed said the utterances of the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, on the leadership tussle in the National Assembly portrayed him as someone who did not understand party leadership.
According to Mohammed, while the party had a right to demand the loyalty of its members elected into the National Assembly, its leaders must learn not to make careless utterances on the matter.
He said, “I admit that because of what happened last time (2015), the APC wants to make sure it gets it right this time. But it appears that the same carelessness with which they handled the matter last time is also repeating itself.
“Last time some members of the party felt that they had something called independence or autonomy of the parliament so they can do what they like. But it would have made a lot of sense of they had won the election as independent candidates. It is only then that they can talk about independence of the legislature.
“However, Oshiomhole has carried over his attitude as a labour unionist and enforcer of strikes into the running of a political party and nobody has called him to order.
“If he thinks that it is only by bullying members of party in the National Assembly that they would achieve their goal then he must have a rethink. He should never have been the National Chairman of the ruling party or any other party for that matter. We tend to think people will change their character when they occupy certain positions of authority but it doesn’t happen that way. It is not possible for leopard to change its spots,” he said.
Mohammed did not also spare a national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for inadvertently “playing roles” that could hurt the ruling party in the long run.
He said that the fact that both Senator Ahmed Lawan and Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila are perceived as Tinubu’s candidates had already become a challenge for duo who are seeking to lead the incoming National Assembly.
Junaid Mohammed said, “It is an open secret that Tinubu had a presidential ambition in 2023 and whatever he does now is perceived as designed to boost his own chances in the future.
“But how many votes can Lawan mobilise for him in Yobe and the North and how many votes can Gbajabiamila deliver for him in Lagos and the South West? But I don’t see how fixing certain people in certain places in the National Assembly can advance his political career. It will not and he needs to very careful,” he said.
Mohammed urged the ruling party to put their house in order by persuading their members to support their preferred candidates on the basis of merit rather than through coercion or godfatherism.
He warned that if the APC goes about it recklessly they may create another opportunity for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to cash in on their mistakes.