Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Deputy National Chairman (North) Senator Lawal Shuaibu has demanded the resignation of party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, alleging that having failed to add value to the fortune of the party and shown gross incompetent to lead the party, he should quit.
In a personal letter he wrote to the former Edo state governor, titled ‘APC: It’s fortunes vs misfortune, time to act’, and made available to the news media, the embattled party chieftain decried what he characterised as Oshiomhole’s highhandedness, accusing him of crashing the fortune and goodwill the party garnered in 2015.
Shuaibu lamented what he saw as the failure of the party under Oshiomhole to consolidate its victories at the governorship and National Assembly levels, saying that the national chairman’s “ability to ensure this party flourishes is deficient as you lack the necessary composure and you also don’t possess the capabilities and the requisite experience to run a political party.
“The respect APC was commanding among its members and sympathizers have been completely eroded,” Shuaibu said. “While the goodwill has equally evaporated with the type of attitude of threats to members you deploy, including senior members like Governors, Senators, Ministers and other government officials whose functions do not fall within your jurisdiction.
“As I know, the relationship between party and government are cooperation and collaboration to ensure government programs are implemented in line with the party manifesto, but not shouting and giving marching instructions to government officials on television screens or on the pages of newspapers and, more often than not, they call your bluff and make look helplessly unimportant in the scheme of things.”
“Please don’t get me wrong, do not think I am saying these about your conduct as chairman because I want to be chairman. I don’t want to be National Chairman, because I can not be, even if I want to, for as long as President Muhammadu Buhari is in office, having come from the same North West geo-political zone.
“In advanced democracies, people who fail to add value or build over and above what they met on assumption of duty show some civilized examples, they honourably bow out. In that connection, therefore, I want to advise you to take the path of honour, to step aside and allow the party to embark on the onerous task of reconstruction and rehabilitation in those states it was weakened by the effect of manner the last primary election exercises were conducted or even the task of recreating the party where it is on the path of extinction, arising from the loss of a sitting APC government.
“For example in Zamfara State, where you directly personally created the problem, leading to the painful complete loss of APC’s electoral fortunes, FROM UP TO DOWN. All these are uncontestably facts. You cannot exonerate yourself from blame on what happened to APC Zamfara State, thereby destroying the hopes and aspirations of 534,541 APC members and supporters, including my good self! l have nothing personal, except that I love this party and can not keep quiet seeing it being brutally murdered!” he noted.
While highlighting the faulty processes, he accused the chairman of altering some sensitive decisions taken during the NWC meetings, accusing him of taking the meetings of the national leadership of the party to his personal residence.
“The last congresses in states, unfortunately, represented a complete lack of knowledge, let alone experience on how due process in political electoral process is adhered to. The NWC is saddled with the responsibility of recommending guidelines for every electoral process and appointing committees that will embark on conducting primary elections for every constituency and submit report and thereafter an appeal committee will attend to complaints and petitions and also submit its report to the NWC.
“The NWC is then expected to perform the duty of the final adjudicatory body on each electoral matter and from there you have the final list of Candidates. National Chairman cannot, in any circumstances be Chairman of any committee be it screening committee of any other committee contrary to what you did.
“Chairman presides over the meetings of NWC in which each matter disposed of by any appeals committee is examined and final decision reached. If the National Chairman should chair any of these committees what if there is a complaint about his own conduct, who do you send your petition to? He can not be a judge in his own matter!
“NWC meetings, in my own experience, shall not be held in private residences especially where it involves thousands of party men and women with grudges over injustice meted out on them by officials of the party. The party secretariat is the officially recognized venue of such meetings, unless if there are other motives for keeping away from there.
“For every meeting of any organ of the party, there shall be minutes of the meeting reflecting every decision taken at such meeting. Most of the meetings held and fundamental decisions purported to have been taken were not backed by minutes.
“The few meetings that were covered by the secretariat and minutes taken could clearly show that final decisions of the NWC were altered! Example was the unanimous decision by NWC to allow Aisha Alhassan, former Minister of Women Affairs to go and contest with her co-aspirants at the primaries in Taraba State which decision was overruled by you. You single-handedly disqualified her and numbers in the party got depleted and thereby weakened. So also, several other aspirants that you personally disqualified without just cause.
“Arising from such conduct, the APC ended up with severe injuries and is today badly fractured in virtually every constituency in this country, resulting in the erosion of the massive goodwill that you met the party with.
“Apart from the President, more than 60 per cent of members including those that contested elections under the APC in 2019 are not happy with the process as it left a lot to be desired. We have court cases in every state, by far much more than it was in 2015 and I wonder how much money the party is likely to spend on litigations arising from mistakes of the National Chairman in not adhering to due process and side-lining transparency.
“Committees for primaries became secret affair to the extent that not even members of the NWC were aware of how certain committees were constituted with members mostly from Edo State outnumbering every other State and in some instance, the same Edo members sewing in more than one State in conducting primaries.
“The records are there to be seen. What is wrong with being just in what you find yourself doing for the people? Personal interest should not be allowed to overshadow the interests of our teeming loyal members across the country,” he quipped.
Ex-raying the incidences that culminated into the misfortunes suffered by the party in the 2019 election activities and campaigns, he said: “Under normal circumstances, when you take over as a project manager, it is expected that you bring to bear, your wealth of experience to the new job which will be seen in your capacity and capabilities as value addition.
“In a political party like the APC, you are expected to also introduce new approach to strategies through committees that will work and submit recommendations to you towards improving on the current fortunes of the party. It is expected that for every decision credited to the party, it should be the result of a meeting where resolutions are passed by the working committee.
“It is also expected that policies by the party are always alI-inclusive and never one sided and to cap it up, no unilateral decisions should be made to represent the opinion of either the NWC, the National Executive Committee or even the least, the National Caucus. National Chairman cannot assume the powers of the NWC,” he said.
Expressing disappointment that the ruling party’s members at the National Assembly have to practically kowtow to members of the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to win the statutory positions for the party, chiding Oshiomhole over his utterances not to allow any PDP Senator to be appointed as Committee Chairman except the committees statutorily meant for the opposition members of the Senate.
“We all know and I still believe that by electing us into the various party offices, we are expected to build this institution to flourish and wax stronger beyond our own tenure, not to be seen as undertakers that came to kill and bury it, and clearly so! The strength of every political party I also believe, lies in the number of States it is able to win elections.
“We had 23 States in 2015, but after the 2019 elections we lost seven states! We also had 60 Senators in 2015 at the end of the election count, we now end up with 57 Senators in 2019! You were not brought in to lose election, It is absolutely unacceptable!
“What this entails is that for any Senator to become a presiding officer he needs to go and kneel down before the PDP Senators and beg for support! And to make things worse, you announced that APC will not allow any PDP Senator to be, appointed as Committee Chairman except the committees statutorily meant for the opposition members of the Senate.
“That is never the tradition of the legislature anywhere! The Legislature is the house of collaboration and lobby and you can never succeed with hostile approach, you must lobby seek for cooperation of members across party divides. If you don’t know, you have made the situation worse than it seems.
“Try and use your calculator and you will find that as at now, if anybody, backed by the PDP members, wants to become Senate President, all he needs is the support of only six APC Senators to win the election on the floor of the Senate! Chairman, strategies are not announced on television, they are discussed at caucuses.
“We have no reason whatsoever to go about it this way if we really are serious in building this institution that many leaders suffered to put in place,” he fired.