Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has maintained that he won’t lose sleep over the 15 Senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives that have defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He described them as ‘big masquerades with no electoral value’ who would soon be disgraced come the 2019 elections.
Oshiomhole was reacting to the development after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa Abuja, on Tuesday.
He said they were men and women with no honour whose only motivation was personal interest, insisting the party would not lose sleep over the latest development.
Speaking to State House correspondents, the former Edo State Governor said, “Well, my attitude is like I have told you before, as the National Chairman, I am committed to listening to very legitimate grievances and engaging all those who are aggrieved that we can see through their grievances.
“But I insist that I will not miss a sleep one minute over mercenary activities.
“I had said and I want to repeat, this business of governance must be driven by men and women of honour. If the only motivation is personal interest, what is in it for me, what have gained, how many people have done XYZ for, if that is the basis, the earlier those in this business of personal gains, the earlier they return to where they belong the better.
“This party that I am privileged to chair is not worried at all, we are not disturbed, I am not going to miss my sleep and we will go into the campaign.
“Check the electoral results, you will find that a lot claimed to have decamped on a good day the vote they got that made them members of the senate, our president got much more votes in their constituency. So, we are fooled at all.
“The thing going on is that you have a lot of so called big masquerades with very little and no electoral value. I have tried my best which I think I needed to do to give people comfort, those who claimed to be aggrieved.
“But those who have other hidden agenda that are not negotiable, I am not going to be able to apiece anyone who expects x-level of return and the system is not delivering it, in terms of personal return.
“I can’t solve that. But those who felt that in terms of within the management of the party they have issues, those ones are on the able it can be dealt with. But those who have issues under the table they are beyond me.
“But let me assure you, I am so happy that over time that water will find its level. Because, if you remember what I said the day I formally declared my interest to contest, I had said, to be a progressive party means we must be clear that it cannot be a party for everyone. We have to be sure that you subscribed to the values and ideals of a progressive party.
“If indeed you belong to the extreme right, and you mistakenly find yourself in a progressive party, obviously that is not where you belong.
“As soon as you realise that you can’t adjust to the requirement of progressives, which is people driven, people based, people oriented and you choose to return to the right wing where you know what the name of the game was, share the money, it is your choice.
“But, I need to remind you, I am not a poor student of struggle, I am not a professor of struggle, I am a product of struggle, I know what I am talking about. Very soon Nigerians will go to the polls and we will see who will deliver what in his constituency.”
Asked what was the implication of the defection on the ruling party which now the minority in the National Assembly, Oshiomhole replied, “The issue is that they have defected so what is the other implications?”
Asked if the Senate adjourning till September does not have implication of the party, the APC National chairman said, “No No No. The business of the Senate or the National Assembly is not to legislate for the good governance of APC. It is to legislate for the good governance of Nigeria.
“If people have chosen that it is more politically convenient to suspend the process of legislation ahead of time because it is not convenient for their political interests and choose to insubordinate the Nigerian national interest for that purpose, it is their choice.
“If there are implications it is for the Nigerian nation not for APC.”
On the siege laid on the houses of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President being interpreted as an attack on democracy, Oshiomhole said, “When you are dealing with law and order issues, I am not going to stand here and make comment on the basis of your own speculations.
“I need to have the details. I am not into security apparatus, I do not understand how they operate but you also don’t want to accuse me of obstruction of justice, which a democracy require. So I am going to limit myself to my brief, namely issues that affect membership and the running of the APC.
“Just to reassure you, I am happy. I have made this point long ago that with time, Nigerians will really have to be able to say, this is what this party stands for, this is what the other party stands for.
“This thing that in the morning you will have breakfast with me, in the afternoon you are having lunch with a python and in the evening you are having sugarcane with some other forces.
“I think in the interest of our nation we need to simplify these issues before the electorates. Because, the confusion is that you have coalition of people whose ideas are not compatible.
“To be very honest with you, it is better you formalize where you belong and be properly identified by your father’s name than purporting to bear my name and you are working for my opponent.
“Every observer particularly the elite core of the Nigerian media that is represented in the State House, you know that if there has been opposition to this APC government, that opposition has come within the ranks of members of the APC, some in the National Assembly.
“I mean, how can we be in majority for example and we use that majority to elect opposition to take the number two slot in our own party.
“How could we have been in the majority and the president’s makes nominations and those nominations are lying on the floor of the Senate and the Senate will not confirm those nominations.
“If that Senate was formally led by opposition, the issue will be much more clearer but there have become much more complicated when those refusing to confirm the nominees purport to be members of our party. The earlier everybody properly identifies where he belong in my view. This is it.
“It is not in anybody’s interest, certainly not in the National interest that we continue to patch this democracy in a way that birds that are incompatible find themselves. The point I have been trying to make is that we need to build a political party that goes beyond the platform for election.
“So, if you find that you can’t win because there is body in your constituency in the same party then you jump to other party so that you can win. And once the election is over we wait for the next four years.
“It will not be worth my while to preside over a national party that is simply an electoral platform.”
Oshiomhole refused to disclose the president’s reaction to the development, saying, “Ah! You know the president’s spokespersons, talk to them.”