Chukwudi Nweje and Godwin Tsa, Abuja
As the crisis plaguing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) festers, national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has declared support for the embattled national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, even as he called on party faithful to shelve their individual ambitions and help the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration achieve his programmes.
In a statement yesterday Tinubu linked the crisis in the party to some members who have launched their 2023 political aspirations, warning that their actions were detrimental to the party and country.
“In a well-structured society, people come to understand that the time for politics is seasonal, it is periodic. The responsibilities of governance are what is perpetual. Many of our politicians, sadly, have inverted this reality. This is the time for governance. It is not the moment to bring the politics of 2023 into 2020. In due course, 2023 shall come. Nothing can prevent it. However, that time is not today. If we are earnest, the present offers sufficient work and challenges for us without trying to add to it by rushing the future. Let us dedicate our energies to helping President Buhari win the present,” he said.
Tinubu also threw his weight behind Oshiomhole, describing him as “a tireless campaigner and mobiliser, who steered the APC through difficult elections.”
He said, “The President is faced with many challenges. He is fighting hard on security to keep the population safe. He is pushing for economic reforms that will augur future sustainable growth. His disdain for corruption remains unwavering. Add to it now the coronavirus crisis and its resultant social as well as economic impact. Politicians express loyalty to him, but the words of too many of our politicians are like butter under a burning sun, they melt quickly away. Better to be loyal indeed. Instead of trying to manipulate party and other mechanisms solely to their political gain, it is time to shelve political intrigue for the time being. It is time for all party members to truly see what is at stake and work with Mr. President for the collective good of the nation. This means we must rally around President Buhari. We must help him build a stronger national consensus on policies that will ensure safety and bring greater prosperity.
“The chairman has been a tireless campaigner and mobilizer for the party. He has steered the party through difficult elections. His contributions should not be undervalued now that the bulk of elections are behind us. To do so would be an act of ingratitude.”
Tinubu declared that those plotting the ouster of the former Edo State governor as chairman of the APC do so because they feel Oshiomhole posed a threat to their 2023 ambitions: “The plotters launched their attack solely because they perceive the chairman as an obstacle to their 2023 ambitions. People went to court knowing full well the party constitution prohibits such action because these people had not yet exhausted all internal disciplinary procedures. We even had a national deputy secretary improperly call for a NEC meeting on the basis that he believed himself the acting national chairman. Clearly, this man would not have summoned the temerity to make such a move had he not been instigated by powerful individuals who he thought would reward or, at least, protect him for committing the wrongful act.”
He accused some politicians of exploiting the dispute between Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, and Oshiomhole to pursue selfish ambitions.
“It is no secret that the chairman and Governor Obaseki are in dispute. This is unfortunate. However, the party has moved through proper procedures within the proper organs to, hopefully, resolve this spat. All party members know this. Such decisions are part and parcel of internal party governance. Yet, motivated by ambitions that have nothing to do with the quality of the chairman’s performance, people shunned the agreed party reconciliation mechanism and resorted to other means to oust him. These self-help attempts are unwarranted. These attempts reveal more about the mala fides of their perpetrators than they do about the chairman,” he said.
The APC national leader warned that the party was not a platform for pursuing selfish ambitions, but to bring progressive governance to Nigeria.
“Many of us expended sweat, tears, toil and sleepless nights to build this party. Our personal sacrifices were not insignificant. We built this party not simply as a vehicle for personal ambition. We built the party because we saw it as perhaps the only enduring hope to bring progressive governance to this nation. Those who now seek to abuse the party by using it as their personal device do it great harm. They should not be allowed to sacrifice this collective enterprise at the altar of their self-aggrandisement. Somehow, someway they should find in themselves the bearing to adhere to the democratic spirit on which the party was founded. To be an APC member means more than merely carrying a membership card. It means to believe in a set of ideals and principles geared to our highest purpose as a party and a nation,” he said, urging politicians and groups caught in the 2013 frenzy to commit themselves “to the harder yet more rewarding task of improving progressive governance, whether within the party or at the local, state or federal levels.”
Appeal Court begins hearing today
The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal would today commence hearing in an appeal brought by Oshiomhole seeking the reversal of his suspension by a high court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Justice Danlami Senchi, in an interlocutory ruling last Wednesday, had ordered that Oshiomhole should desist from parading himself as the APC chairman.
Daily Sun learnt that the Court of Appeal’s registry had communicated the hearing date to concerned parties via hearing notices sent to them.
The appeal, which is predicated on four grounds, is contesting the ruling of Justice Senchi, stating that he erred in law and arrived at a wrong conclusion, which occasioned a miscarriage of justice by placing the APC chair on suspension at an interlocutory stage of a suit instituted against him by some aggrieved members of the party.
Oshiomhole also argued that the high court further erred in law when it decided that he, in the performance of his duties as APC national chairman, would interfere in the court action filed against him by the aggrieved members.
The former Edo State governor also argued that the issue of duties as APC national chairman was a matter that arose from substantive issues for determination and claim and ought not to have been determined at the interlocutory stage of the main matter.
Oshiomhole claimed that the trial judge erred in law and arrived at a wrong conclusion, which occasioned a miscarriage, when after ordering the filing of pleadings and immediately set down motion for interlocutory injunction for hearing in the absence of pleadings.
He further faulted the suspension order against him on the grounds that the trial court determined the motion for interlocutory injunction without recourse to triable issues, which ought to have been discerned from pleadings.
Respondents in the appeal are the APC national vice chairman,North-East, Mustapha Saliu; Edo State APC chairman, Anselm Ojezua; Alhaji Sani Gomna; Mr. Oshawo Stephen; Mr. Fani Wabulari; and Mr. Princewill Ejogharado. Others are the Inspector-General of Police and the director of the Department of State Security (DSS).