•S’South chieftains divided over suspension
•Nabena urges Buhari, others to intervene in crisis

Reprieve came the way of the embattled National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole yesterday, as state chairmen of the party asked the feuding parties to return to the Chief Bisi Akande-led dispute resolution and reconciliation committee raised by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The chairmen in a statement after their meeting in Abuja and made available to reporters in Enugu, restated their confidence in Oshiomhole, insisting that the issues against him were political and, therefore, should be given similar solutions.

The statement, signed by the forum’s chairman, Ali Bukar Dolari, and secretary, Dr Ben Nwoye, who are also state chairmen of the party in Borno and Enugu, equally resolved to wade off all threats to the implementation of ‘democratic ethos’ being championed in the party by Oshiomhole.

Besides, the Lagos State chapter of the party also solidarised with the former labour leader. In a statement signed yesterday by its publicity secretary, Seye Oladejo, the ruling party said it appreciates the leadership of the national chairman, which according to it, was responsible for the party’s victories in the national elections.

The chapter added that it regards the crisis as “testing the waters for the ultimate strategy of the enemies within to decimate the party before their final onslaught.”

Meanwhile, chieftains of the political grouping in the South-South geopolitical zone are divided over the ongoing moves to unseat the erstwhile Edo State governor as helmsman of party.

Yesterday, the APC South South Stakeholders’ Forum backed the suspension, noting that the measure would “create the enabling environment to reposition the party.”

Its spokesperson, Dr. Ray Murphy, who blamed Oshiomhole for the ‘setbacks’ suffered by the party since the 2015 general elections, stressed the need for his replacement with a “well-qualified person from the South South geopolitical zone.”The group disowned the remarks of the party’s National Vice Chairman, South -South, Prince Hilliard Eta, just as it pledged support for the APC’s National Working Committee (NEC) meeting slated March 17.

Eta had on Sunday insisted that chieftains of the party from the zone were solidly behind Oshiomhole.Moreover, indications have emerged that Oshiomhole might not survive the crisis anytime soon, especially given his last-minute attempt to allegedly impose his lackeys on the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

The information came to the fore yesterday when the party’s acting National Secretary, Chief Victor Giadom, insisted that the emergency NEC meeting would hold on March 17 as scheduled.

Giadom stressed the fact that since Oshiomhole announced the inclusion of former Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and Architect Bulama as Deputy National Chairman (South) and National Secretary shortly after the court ruling on his suspension, he remains the highest ranking official of the party constitutionally empowered not only to convene the party’s NEC but also the convention.

Also yesterday, the party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena sought the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari in the crisis.

Nabena, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja, also enjoined Senate President Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and other party leaders to wade into the matter.