Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Fresh crisis is brewing in the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman, accused the party National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, of mismanagement.
In a memo forwarded to the Bisi Akande-led APC national reconciliation committee, titled: “Our leaders should unite to rebuild the party,” Lukman lamented that the ruling party had become a Trojan horse under the former Edo governor.
“The hard truth is that as it stands today, APC is not a functional political party. None of its organs at any level is meeting as provided in the party’s constitution. It is even debatable if our membership register exists. At best, it will be the same old 2015 membership register,” Lukman wrote.
But when media aide to the ruling party boss, Simon Ebegbulen, was contacted for reaction, he declined, saying: “I’ve seen the material but I don’t have comment.”
The DG also accused the party’s boss of assuming the responsibilities of the National Working Committee (NWC), stressing that party members were now confronted with avoidable electoral tragedies because the NWC abdicated its responsibility.
“Perceived weaknesses of the John Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC served as the justification of electing Adams Oshiomhole as replacement for him. Sadly, challenges of internal democracy and fair competitive practices during candidates’ selection processes in the party remained a dream.
“Now, clearly, the problems associated with candidates’ selection process has produced what can be regarded as an electoral college. Citizens can vote but our Supreme Court will eventually determine the winner, all as a result of very poor management of candidates’ selection process by our party.
“Unfortunately, our party’s NWC is hardly able to come up with any reassuring response. The crisis in the party is clearly getting worse and worse by the day. It has gotten to a stage whereby the competence of members of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC to provide needed leadership to ensure victory in every election has been eroded.
“We can win election and, on account of some inabilities to competently manage legal challenges associated with nomination of candidates, we are compelled to surrender victory to our opponents. This is he narrative of the Supreme Court judgement of February 13, 2020, in respect of November 16, 2019, Bayelsa election. It was also the case with the May 24, 2019, Supreme Court nullification of the election of all APC candidates in the 2019 elections in Zamfara State.
“In other words, our NWC can be described as a very efficient Trojan horse that opens the backdoor for electoral victory to our political opponents. It is really unfortunate that we are faced with all the avoidable electoral tragedies that befell us, all because our NWC has decided to abdicate its responsibility. This is quite disheartening and certainly beyond any expectation. How can all these be happening under the watch of Comrade Oshiomhole as the national chairman? Comrade Oshiomhole’s leadership credentials cannot be disputed.
“But given what is going on now in APC under his watch, it is very clear that he is not that same Comrade Oshiomhole that was an inspiring union leader who competently handled all organisational leadership challenges to the admiration of Nigerians. Part of the problem now is that he is surrounded by sycophants, mainly from Edo State. Any attempt to help him through objective advice is condemned as betrayal, especially when such advice comes from people who were close to him.
“Many of those who claimed now to be his supporters and loyalists are people who only relate with him based on his position of power and capacity, therefore, to influence access to political positions. His success as a leader who is able to direct the party towards electoral victory is never their consideration, except if they are the candidates.
“One cannot blame these sycophantic crowd around our national chairman. But I will definitely express my disbelief at the way Comrade Oshiomhole has become, all of a sudden, a leader who is intolerant to criticisms. His level of intolerance is so high that any disagreement or criticism expressed against any of his decisions or actions is classified as betrayal and, therefore, requiring disciplinary actions.
“The procedure for disciplinary actions has become so cheapened such that all the relevant provisions in the party’s constitution are violated. As a result, Comrade Oshiomhole is today the leading accuser, prosecutor and judge in almost all cases where disciplinary actions have been administered in the party. The only probable exception may be the case in his ward in Edo State, where he is also being alleged to have been disciplined,” he noted.
The DG, therefore, warned that: “With this kind of background, it is almost impossible to start any process of engagement to resolve our problems in the party without addressing the issue of intolerance that is today the main characteristic of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC.”
“This is not in any way questioning the capacity or competence of the Akande-led APC national reconciliation committee. No doubt, Chief Bisi Akande is one leader who has all that is required to assist the party and all our leaders to resolve current challenges.”
On the way forward, Lukman said: “I think the starting point has to be an appeal to the Oshiomhole-led NWC, who facilitated the formation of the Akande Committee, to convene a meeting of the appropriate organ of the party, National Executive Council or National Caucus, where a decision setting aside all the disciplinary actions at all levels of the party, including the NWC, can be taken.
“Somehow, such a meeting can also serve as perhaps an icebreaking platform where some good pronouncements can emerge, which can encourage all aggrieved leaders and party members to express their disagreement and dissatisfaction at the way our party is being managed since 2015. Steps must be taken at such meeting to ensure that criticising or disagreeing with our leaders does not constitute an offence.
“If the Akande Committee is to succeed in this very crucial assignment, it must be positioned to set in motion the process of rebuilding the party.”