Romanus Ugwu, Abuja and Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The in-fighting within the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, took disturbing dimension, as the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) told aggrieved members to join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), just as it accused the immediate past national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, of accommodating impunity in the party.
Party’s spokesperson, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, insisted that the NWC under Oyegun’s watch lacked the courage required to confront the pockets of political despots who could not operate by the party’s rules.
The APC argued that certain peculiar issues resulted in the opposition party taking over states like Oyo, Imo, Bauchi, Adamawa and Zamfara.
“I would put the painful outcomes broadly under two reasons. One is indiscipline on the part of some members of our party in most of the states. The second reason is that the party leadership did not do much between 2015 and 2018 to move the party from being an amalgam of different political parties to become a truly blended progressive political party.
“We expect members who have different agenda to join their kind in PDP. We will welcome with open arms those who share our progressive ideals so that by 2022, we will have a party whose members are truly progressives,” he said.
Firing a direct canon at the Oyegun-led NWC, Onilu insisted that it accommodated impunity, which resulted in widespread indiscipline across party ranks, making certain members superior to the party and lack of respect for party supremacy and overall inability to align the varying interests of the legacy parties that formed the APC in 2014.
The ruling party further argued that the PDP bounced back not because it changed its insidious way or did anything different, but because the APC under Oyegun did not live up to expectations.
“You would recall that it was under that leadership that some impudent members of APC called the bluff of the party by imposing themselves on the National Assembly as leaders contrary to the position of the party. Where was the party? Where was the discipline when this happened? It would be difficult to calculate what lack of courage to assert the party supremacy cost APC over that period.
“The consequences of the inaction of the party were unimaginable. We all saw the consequences on governance as the National Assembly practically held our government to ransom. The impunity, which President Muhammadu Buhari has rightly described as lack of patriotism, constituted an unfortunate hindrance to the smooth running of government.
“The leadership under Oyegun, with due respect to him, condoned all sorts of acts of indiscipline from certain members. It is not surprising that the current NWC inherited such a huge mess, where the party was struggling to differentiate itself from the delinquent PDP. We all know that PDP was practically dead following the devastating defeat of 2015. The PDP bounced back not because the party has changed its insidious way or did anything different, but because APC did not live up to expectations.
“It goes without saying that when an organisation is unable to enforce its own rules, it would suffer the consequences sooner than later. We should not be ashamed to say that our partys leadership under Oyegun lacked the courage required to confront the pockets of political despots who could not operate by the party’s rules,” the statement from Issa-Onilu read.
In a swift reaction, Oyegun accused Oshiomhole of conducting the most fraudulent party primaries in the history of party politics in the country and urged him not to destroy the party others laboured to build.
In a statement by his adviser, Ray Morphy, Oyegun, said: “The Oshiomole executive is about a year in office, why does he find it hard to function without looking for excuses and scapegoats? It is common knowledge that Oshiomole ran the most fraudulent primaries in the history of politics in Nigeria.
“Recall that INEC said so when it adjudged Oshiomole primaries as the worst so far. The courts are saying the same thing today by upturning many APC primaries for being undemocratic and less than fair. Was it Oyegun who ran the primaries?
“Oyegun, an accomplished technocrat, super permanent secretary, former Governor, man without blemish working with others cobbled together creditably the legacy parties, and held them together with tact, diplomacy and finesse until Oshiomole came along. To his credit, Oyegun did not lose one member of the party.
“As an elder, a leader, Oyegun will not join issues with those who apparently are casting about looking for excuses for their inability to manage a ruling party successfully. Indeed, it is absurd to lose states with all the capacity at the disposal of the current chairman. Party members know that APC witnessed its golden years under the chairmanship of Oyegun and no one can change that bit of political history.”
He added: “Posterity has already given its verdict, Oyegun led the party to resounding victory. Oshiomole should not destroy what others had laboured to build. If he needs tutorial on how to run a party, he should ask for it civilly. Oyegun will be more than happy to help, after all, no man would like to see his son scatter what he had laboured to build.”
The ruling party equally reacted officially to the letter from the party’s Deputy National Chairman (North), Lawal Shuaibu, expressing anger that the assertions in the letter to the National Chairman portrayed the NWC as a bunch of cowards looking for a scapegoat to pass on the blame following undesired results in his home Zamfara State.
However, ythe Imo State chairman of APC, Dan Nwafor, has predicted that President Buhari might be the last president the party would produce if Oshiomhole is not fired.
Nwafor attributed the lingering crisis in his state as well as others to the selfish and dictatorial ways he allegedly conducted the party prior to the general elections.
He also accused him of being the reason the party could not do well in the last election in Imo and other parts of the country.