I Surrender, Oshiomhole Declares
“I have toiled for this party as much as any other person and perhaps more than most. Despite this investment or perhaps due to it, I have no problem with making personal sacrifices, as long as the party remains true to its progressive, democratic creed.”
With those words, the national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, lamented the party’s loss of cohesion and direction despite its two-time triumphs during the 2015 and 2019 presidential polls.
He said he was not perturbed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention or its outcome, but that the situation in the party degenerated to the point where the president was moved to intervene.
In a statement he personally signed, the former Lagos State governor and one of the pillars of APC also regretted that those with bad wishes for the party have continued to predict its imminent disintegration.
Tinubu’s reaction came, just as the ousted national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, recounted his achievements, remarking that he has accepted his fate in good faith, without remorse or intention to challenge his removal in court.
Justifying President Buhari’s dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), Tinubu noted: “With lawsuits so numerous one needed a spread sheet to keep track, President Buhari has reasonably decided that he has seen enough.”
In the statement titled, Becoming the party we were intended to be,” Tinubu commended the sacked NWC, stressing that under their collective stewardship, the party earned great and important victories, particularly the second mandate to President Buhari.
Regretting the descent to chaos, the former Lagos State governor said, “Our task as a party is to build upon the progress thus made so that both nation and party may advance to their better future.”
While noting that a political party that has lost sight of the reason for its existence becomes but the vehicle of blind and clashing ambitions, Asiwaju maintained, “this is not what drove the APC’s creation.”
His words: “Some people have gone so far as to predict the total disintegration of our party. Most of such dire predictions were from critics, whose forecasts said more about their ill will than they revealed about our party’s objective condition.
“Predictions of APC’s imminent demise are premature and mostly mean-spirited. However, an honest person must admit the party had entered a space where it had no good reason to be.
“The trouble is not that we would forfeit our collective existence, but whether we were in danger of losing our collective purpose. In some ways, this possibility is of greater concern.
“Yet, we must acknowledge that something important has gone off track. For some months we have experienced growing disagreement within the leadership of the party. This unfortunate competition had grown so intense as to impair the performance of the NWC, thus undermining the internal cohesion and discipline vital to success.”
Tinubu, who is also Jagaban Borgu, said despite all that have gone on in APC, “those who believe Nigeria can be forged into a better nation and deserves good governance must harken back to the establishment of our party.”
“Those who were there and contributed the most to the party’s genesis embraced a common vision. Not only did we believe the venal, purblind PDP was leading the nation into a pit, we sincerely held a common vision of progressive good governance. This was the overriding reason for the APC,” he recalled.
He stressed that many APC members have lost their balance, stressing that their personal ambition apparently came to greatly outweigh the obvious national imperatives.
The National Leader maintained that the sacked NWC itself, became riven by unnecessary conflict, regretting that “those who disagreed with one another stopped trying to find common ground.
“Attempts were made to use the power of executive authority to bury each other. I must be blunt here. This is the behaviour of a fight club not the culture of a progressive political party.”
While lamenting that instead of trying to solve the myriad challenges facing the country, including poverty, economic inequality, insecurity, the party faithful spent time on needless battles based on vaulting personal ambitions.
He therefore appealed to aggrieved members to accept the sacrifice they have been asked to make by the NEC meeting, saying that doing so would help clear the air for the party to assume its proper role of helping the government lead the nation.
“For the average man, watching politicians wrestle for position is a poor substitute to seeing politicians working for the benefit of all. Yet, such intramural fighting has come to occupy the attention of many high ranking party officials and members.
“Some members went against their chairman in a bid to forcefully oust him. In hindsight, his fence-mending attempts were perhaps too little too late.
“I believed and continue to believe that Comrade Oshiomhole tried his best. Mistakes were made and he must own them. Yet, we must remember also that he was an able and enthusiastic campaigner during the 2019 election. He is a man of considerable ability as are the rest of you who constituted the NWC,” Tinubu stated.
In his reaction to the dissolution of the NWC, Oshiomhole said he is left with no option other than to accept his removal, since President Buhari endorsed it.
Oshiomhole, who appeared unruffled, canvassed support for the Buhari administration towards the delivery of the party manifesto, which revolves around fighting corrupt practices, insecurity and the revitalisation of the economy.
While expressing gratitude to party faithful who stood by him at the height of the leadership crisis, Oshiomhole disclosed that he had directed the withdrawal of his pending suit at the apex court challenging his controversial suspension.
Giving himself a pat in the back, he cited the party’s victory in the 2019 poll, as well as Kwara and Gombe governorship and the cordial relationship between the Senator Ahmed Lawan National Assembly and the Executive arm, as some of his landmark achievements for the past two years.
Tracing his journey to the party’s leadership, Oshiomhole narrated: “Mr. President graciously invited me to run for the office of chairman of the party in 2018, precisely about two years ago. The president told me then that if we do not reform the APC, we could as well forget about the party.
“You know that reforms are challenging and it will entail taking difficult decisions. Mine has been a life of trouble and I accepted this and I believe I did my best. I’m happy that at the end of the day, 2019 elections have come and gone, thanks to Nigerians, our president had more votes in 2019 than we had in 2015. We have more members in the Senate and House of Representatives.
“Unlike 2015, we were not able to manage our victory in the two chambers such that we had an APC Senate President and PDP Deputy. This time working hard with my colleagues in the NWC and in consultation with leaders of our party across board, we have the kind of unity expected in the governing party in the two chambers of the National Assembly.”