Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The former National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has described those in the Progressive Governors’ Forum who are supposedly using its Director-General (DG), Salihu Lukman, against him as ‘cowards’.
Oshiomhole, who met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Monday, was responding to an assertion made by Lukman that he might be attempting to stage a comeback as the party’s National Chairman.
Lukman, while advising the new national leadership of the APC in a letter last week, had accused Oshiomhole of frustrating the newly inaugurated National Caretaker Committee to ensure that he is returned as the party’s chairman.
But the former Edo Governor specifically accused Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi, of unilaterally appointing Lukman as the Progressive Governors’ DG.
The ex-president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), while fielding questions from State House Correspondents, Oshiomohle said engaging in a dirty fight with the DG would mean soiling himself.
The former Edo State Governor said: ‘You want me to engage in a fight with a pig? If you engage in a fight with a pig, the pig already is stained by its nature and you will wear your white garment, and in my own case, khaki to go and wrestle with a pig? I will not.
‘You see, what I want the media to interrogate, how does winning Edo…when I was removed as national chairman, Edo was APC…So, do I have to win Edo to become the chairman? Do I look so unemployed? I’m 68.
‘So, what they don’t understand is that it is not the office of chairman that made me who I am. It is my pedigree from my days as a labourer in the textile industry to be the general secretary of textile workers all over Nigeria and becoming the president of NLC.
‘There is no village I go to that people do not know me and it is this that I used to override the Godfathers in Edo State for two consecutive terms and even got the governor elected through elections, no violence before becoming the national chairman.
‘So, if you remove the office…is like our president now, though I cannot compare myself to him, but it is like President Muhammadu Buhari by 2023, when his tenure would have lapsed as President but those who believe in him, in 2024 and beyond, each time they see him, that trust they have in him will always be there.
‘He bonds with the people, that bond was not created by the fact that he is the president. In fact, he became the president because of that bond.
‘So, it takes an empty brain to suggest that I, Oshiomhole wants to stage a come back to become the national chairman. For what? To go and do a reseat?
‘So, my attitude is not to reply to the noise and it is coming from somebody who says he is an employee and appointee of Progressives Governors Forum. He is just like the cowards that are using him that are not able to come out. Otherwise, you should ask this guy, who is now an election expert.
‘He contested for senate against Makarfi, he lost. He even contested against governor el-Rufai during the primaries and he lost before Fayemi unilaterally appointed him the DG.
‘So, if he is now the spokesman abusing me and all of that, you want to drag me to his level? No! A gentleman does not wrestle with a pig if you do you will always be stained and I don’t want to get into that.’
The former Edo governor said he was at the presidential villa to appreciate the president and pledge his absolute loyalty to him.
He also revealed that he requested for security for the conduct of the September 19, 2020 poll, saying that whoever is found wanting among the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or the APC should be brought to book.
Oshiomhole also accused Governor Godwin Obaseki of deceiving Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, into commissioning a phantom industrial park that has since become the den of armed robbers and kidnappers.