From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole reaffirmed on Saturday his ‘unquestionable loyalty’ to President Muhammadu Buhari, dismissing interpretations in some quarters that his comments on the APC registration and revalidation exercise weeks ago amounted to an affront on the President and the leadership of the APC.
Oshiomhole had on Tuesday, February 9, expressed reservations about the ‘revalidation’ tag of the ongoing APC membership registration drive while participating in the exercise in his Iyamho hometown.
The -exEdo governor queried the constitutional soundness of revalidating existing members who had not rescinded their membership, saying that the exercise, for already registered members, amounted to double registration.
A columnist of a prominent newspaper had, based on Mr Oshiomhole comment, speculated that it was a manifestation of the ‘awakening’ of ‘his crowd’ in a purported challenge to President Buhari and the current leadership of the APC.
Reacting to the claim in a statement on Saturday, Oshiomhole, a former labour leader, faulted the interpretation as made-up claims unreflective of his intentions when he made the comments. He said his advice on the usage of the word ‘update’ as a better tag for the membership registration exercise, as opposed to the ‘revalidation’ used, was informed by the dictates of section 9.4 of the APC constitution which prescribes the process of regular update of the register.
‘Even in expressing my reservation about the use of the word ‘revalidation’, I also at the same time acknowledged the necessity to carry out the exercise of updating the register: deleting those who have died or resigned, and register new members,’ Oshiomhole stated.
‘In addition, the fact that I left Abuja and traveled all the way to my village in Edo State to again register at my unit and went further to encourage other APC members to do likewise, demonstrates my faith and commitment to the party.’
The ex-party chairman explained that his NWC had resolved to make the same decision before its dissolution and he, therefore, could not have attacked the leadership of the party for same, as being falsely speculated in some quarters.
Mr Oshiomhole, while emphasising his loyalty to President Buhari, recounted the leadership role the President played in his emergence as the National Chairman of the APC and the support he gave to him in the role despite stiff opposition from certain quarters.
‘The President worked tirelessly to persuade and campaigned to influential leaders and members of the party in support of my chairmanship candidature. Indeed, as I have said before and it bears repeating that I may not have lasted as long as I did in office, but for the support of Mr President who on several occasions resisted pressure on him.
‘Unlike some others, I’m not an ingrate. I remain appreciative of Mr President’s commendation of my stewardship as Governor of Edo State, a week to the end of my tenure, where he publicly at two various events in Benin City, including the palace of the Oba of Benin, said that “the APC would need my services in Abuja”. This commendation understandably triggered mixed feelings – a few saw me as a threat while many others applauded Mr. President’s statement,’ Oshiomhole said.