Olusola Fabiyi, John Alechenu,Olalekan Adetayo, Samuel Awoyinfa and Olaleye Aluko
Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, and Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, on Thursday renewed their attacks on Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of their party, the All Progressives Congress.
While Okorocha claimed the fortunes of the APC had witnessed a downturn since Adams Oshiomhole took over as national chairman, Amosun alleged that the party chairman and his cohorts were working towards handing over Ogun to “a gang of expansionists.”
Amosun’s attack is contained in a statement written on his behalf by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Otunba Adedayo Adeneye, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent.
Amosun, who was reacting to Oshiomhole’s defence on the crisis rocking the APC following its recent primaries, noted that Oshiomhole had visited injustice on Ogun State by not allowing the wishes of the people of the state to stand.
The governor had reiterated that the only authentic governorship primary in the state was the one that produced Adekunle Akinlade.
While he accused Oshiomhole of not abiding by the rules and guidelines of the party, he said his attempts to hide under “false claims about conscience and integrity are cheap.”
The statement read partly, “Oshiomhole knows that there were no other gubernatorial primaries held in Ogun State other than the one that produced Adekunle Akinlade as candidate.
“He knows that the primaries into national and legislative offices were won 100 per cent by those declared winners by the panel he sent to Ogun State to oversee the exercise.
“He knows that the shenanigans of unknown court injunctions, unknown appeal panels and all sorts unleashed on the process by him and his cohorts are premeditated schemes executed to deny the members of the APC their true Choice of candidates in the elections.”
He added, “Oshiomhole knows, as we know, that in the instance of the last primaries in Ogun State, he has fallen short of the minimum standards of justice, equity and fairness. Our consolation lies in the fact that in the fullness of time, what remains unknown to the public will become bare and everyone will see Oshiomhole and his co-travellers for who they are.
“In his conduct, Oshiomhole has exhibited disdain for the interest of the APC and that of the National Leader of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari.”
On Oshiomhole’s claim that only three state governors were aggrieved about the conduct of the primaries, Amosun dismissed it as untrue, citing a nationwide outcry that greeted the exercise.
He, however, said that the majority of members of the APC in Ogun State remained unshaken in their rejection of the “gangsterism” that had been visited on them in the conduct of the primaries.
He said, “They remain resolved that the attempt to hand over their state and their patrimony to a rapacious gang of expansionists in the South-West will be resisted, not only by members of the APC but by the entire people of Ogun State who are too enlightened to tolerate such abomination.”
On the other hand, Okorocha expressed his anger while speaking to reporters after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He claimed the party was losing about five million voters due to Oshiomhole’s highhandedness.
Okorocha, who is also the chairman of the All Progressives Governors’ Forum, is one of those calling for Oshiomhole’s removal after the party primaries.
He said he had since discovered that the party chairman acted without the backing of the President, adding that investigation had shown that there was no directive from the President for the party chairman to act illegally as witnessed in some states.
Okorocha said he had also discovered that Oshiomhole was not under any instruction to replace candidates who won primary elections with others who did not win.
He urged the party chairman to learn to respect the rule of law and obey court orders where they apply.
“This issue of treating court orders as tissue papers must stop. It doesn’t reflect the image of our party.
“Oshiomhole must act quickly to fix the integrity of this party because his coming in ought to have brought joy into the party and not sadness,” Okorocha said.
Despite his allegations against the party chairman, however, the governor said the party would not disintegrate as long as the President remained the leader of the party.
He added, “APC will not disintegrate for as long as the person, Muhammadu Buhari, is still the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and remains the leader of this party.
“We cannot give that credit to the chairman. He cannot disintegrate this party; the party is still intact, just that many people are hurt.
“Since his inception and after these primaries, we are losing almost five million voters because of anger, protest everywhere and he needs to be cautioned.
He has to respect the rule of law, respect court orders and do the right thing – obey court orders where applicable and not turn himself into INEC.”
Okorocha said it was not possible for the party to replace his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, with Senator Hope Uzodinma as the party’s governorship candidate in the state.
“He cannot be standing on Hope Uzodinma because that man did not win election. You cannot compare somebody who won 265,000 votes with somebody who won 7,000 votes.
“He (Hope Uzodinma) never won election and you cannot impose a candidate who is unacceptable to the people on the people. That is how serious the matter is now.
“So, he (Oshiomhole) should do the right thing and I have advised him many times to do the right thing before he creates more disaffection in our party,” he said.
When told that the National Working Committee of the APC had submitted Uzodinma’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Okorocha said it was not possible.
He said, “He (Oshiomhole) can’t! I don’t think the National Working Committee will do that because in the first place, the National Working Committee sent a 13-man delegation that conducted election and 12 of them signed, proved that Uche Nwosu won the election with 265,000 votes as against Hope Uzodinma who got less than 7,000 votes. So, they can’t do that.
“And there is a letter to that effect from the National Working Committee saying Uche Nwosu won, there is a Certificate of Return given to Uche Nwosu, there is a police report saying Uche Nwosu, there is INEC report saying Uche Nwosu.
“So nobody can do that and if they do that, that must be the worst imposition in the history of Nigeria.”
Okorocha said the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, must have been misinformed before declaring support for Oshiomhole.
“Maybe he (Tinubu) is being misinformed. If he is properly informed, he will not say what Oshiomhole is doing is the right thing,” the governor said.
He also denied reports insinuating that he was planning to defect from the APC to the Social Democratic Party.
“SDP? How can I build a house and leave it for someone else? I am in the APC. I founded the APC. I gave the name APC and so this is our party and we must continue with the party and build the party for victory,” he said.
When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said the party would not want to take issue with its leaders on the pages of newspapers.
He said, “We will not be engaging our leaders in the open, we won’t be taking issue with our leaders, we have internal mechanisms of dealing with our issues.”
Watch your tongue, PDP tells Tinubu
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has cautioned Tinubu not to join in the smear campaign and alleged unsavoury comments against its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The opposition party said Tinubu, as an elder statesman, should not reduce his pedigree by engaging in what it called indecorous utterances which it said had become the trademark of his party, the All Progressives Congress.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.
He was reacting to statements credited to Tinubu, who reportedly boasted that the APC would defeat the PDP and its presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election.
Tinubu had said the country would not return the PDP which he alleged ran the country badly while in power for 16 years (1999-2015).
He had said whichever venue Atiku chose to meet with his team, whether in “Dubai or in the jungle,” the APC would come out triumphantly.
Tinubu had said, “We don’t fear, whether he is meeting in the jungle, in Dubai or in Abu Dhabi. People are free to meet and strategise in any way they feel, but we are not going back to the illusion of the PDP. It is not possible, Nigerians will not do that.
“We can’t go back to the pit that we inherited for 16 years. They can strategise from anywhere, but a leopard cannot change its skin.”
But the PDP spokesperson said it was regrettable that someone like Tinubu could resort to the use of what he called “indecent language.”
Ologbondiyan said, “It is also instructive to state that a person of Asiwaju status can conduct his political activities without recourse to indecent language that is lacking in respect for a personality such as Atiku, whom Nigerians, across the board, have generally resolved to be their next President.
“For the avoidance of doubt, despite the ludicrous disposition of the APC and its leaders towards the 2019 election campaign, the repositioned PDP and our presidential candidate remain committed to our promise to focus on solutions to the myriad of problems facing our people and transform their lives for the better.
“The PDP therefore cautions Asiwaju Tinubu to redirect the discourse of his party to productive issues instead of this unbridled resort to lies, deception, beguilement, propaganda, smear campaign and uncouth language, which Nigerians now resent.”
Similarly, a former presidential spokesperson of the PDP, Dr Doyin Okupe, has predicted that the PDP will “retire” Tinubu from politics in 2019.
Okupe was also reacting to the comments made by Tinubu concerning Atiku .
Okupe, said Tinubu’s statement was extremely presumptuous.
He said, “I assure Asiwaju that he does not and will not have any serious influence on who will emerge as president after the 2019 elections. He had such opportunity in 2015 but it was wasted on a moribund, unproductive and lacklustre presidency.
“It is a fact that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had a tremendous influence and did play a significant role in the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. This was due to the fact that he and the APC were able to successfully hoodwink the Nigerian electorate into wrongly believing that the incumbent at that time was weak, inept and clueless.
“The prevailing feeling in Nigeria then was that a change was necessary to “save” the country. However, things are quite different now. Without prompting, propaganda or mass-brainwashing, Nigerians have come to realise that a victory for Buhari in 2019 is an existential threat not only to the peaceful coexistence of the nation, but also to individual well-being and survival of families, breadwinners and jobs across the country.”