The feud deepened following the recent primary elections which degenerated to a face-off between Oshiomhole and the governors of Ogun, Imo, Ondo and Zamfara
Ade Alade and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye
The rift between National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Mr. Adams Oshiomhole and some influential governors of the party, barely three months to a general election, is of serious concern to President Muhammadu Buhari, Saturday Sun has learnt.
The feud, which has its root in the power struggle among the major blocs within the party, deepened following the recent primary elections, which degenerated to a face-off between Oshiomhole and the governors of Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun; Imo, Rochas Okorocha; Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu and Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara over the choice of candidates for elective positions in their respective states.
The President’s worry, especially the impact the worsening crisis may have on the party’s chances in the coming elections has led to series of meetings between the feuding parties and the president as well as other stakeholders in the presidential villa in the last two weeks.
Things took a more worrisome dimension last weekend when the Department of State Services (DSS) took Oshiomhole into custody on Sunday and Monday for long hours of interrogation over allegations of sabotage and financial inducements from candidates. Saturday Sun also learnt that the party boss was being investigated over alleged payments from a Northeast state governor, running for a second term in office and a Southwest state governorship candidate who allegedly parted with $2 million. It was not stated who the payments were made to.
The weight of some of the allegations and the determination of the security agency to press on with the investigation have put Oshiomhole under pressure to resign from his position because of the damage the outcome may eventually have on him and the party he leads. Though he left the country midweek to allow things calm down, the indications however show the contrary, as there appears to be more storms gathering for him and waiting for his return.
Associates and supporters of the party chairman are already pointing accusing fingers at Amosun, Okorocha, Akeredolu and Ekiti state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi as the brains behind his ordeal. The basis of their accusation is that the four governors have virtually turned the presidential villa to their home in the past two weeks in their attempt to nail Oshiomhole.
One of the governors who spoke to Saturday Sun however countered the allegation. “No doubt, we have been having meetings with the president but our visits have nothing to do with Oshiomhole’s probe. We are only interested in securing the president from some deadly traps because what is happening now is of serious concern to the president. For instance, if we allow them to undermine Amosun in Ogun, fine, Amosun may lose but the president will also lose. This is their game plan. That was the same mistake President Jonathan made and we are trying not to allow President Buhari fall into the same trap”, the governor stated.
Also speaking with Saturday Sun on the same issue, Governor Fayemi dismissed the allegation against them as baseless. “We have nothing to do with his ordeal, nobody should link us to it please”, he stressed and pleaded to be left out of the conversation.
In another exclusive chat with the governor of Kebbi state, Atiku Bagudu, he assured that concerted efforts were being put in place to resolve the flaming issues.
His words, “As events in political democracy where you have occasional misunderstandings and grievances, these are necessary features of any democracy. Today, we are seeing midterm elections in the US, for people who have been watching including myself over the past few weeks, we have seen challenges that seem almost insurmountable but here we are. In Nigeria also, we believe that the issues affecting the primaries in all the states like the ones you mentioned would be resolved. We believe that the national leadership of our party, and our party leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, are engaging in a meaningful way that will lead to a resolution.
“As to whether it will affect the party in the 2019 election, we believe that our party is very very strong, we believe that the president’s records are there for everyone to see. Like I said, democracy is give and take. What we want is the kind of engagement that is taking place, which we believe will lead to resolution.”
Also speaking exclusively with Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong, he said there is need for mutual respect in the party.
According to him, “The party has a mechanism for resolving conflicts no matter how difficult. We started before, we had our conflict whether on mode of elections and all that, we came here and resolved it. So, in every party like the APC, we understand that there will always be conflict. Politics is about conflict, it is about different interests. So, we have our mechanism for resolving such conflicts. I have told you that we have mechanisms for resolving internal conflicts, we are working on the mechanism and I assure you that at the end of the day, just wait and see whether we resolve it or not.”
On who should control the party in the states, Governor Lalong said, “there are two views because the same party is saying that they want to take away the party from the governors because the governors have hijacked the party. How do you hijack the party if you are not funding it? These are conflicts within the party. In some cases they will say the governors have hijacked the party because they have overfunded the party and in another breath they will say the governors are not funding the party.”