Romanus Ugwu and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was a battleground, yesterday, as protesters grounded activities, demanding the sack of the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, ahead of its national caucus meeting and National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.
The protesters, which conducted themselves in a peaceful manner, claimed that the national chairman, expected to uphold the sanctity of the constitution, has allegedly worked against it, stressing that it has led to division in the party, especially in Edo state.
They, however, urged President Muhammadu Buhari, former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other national leaders of of the party to prevail on Oshiomhole to “honourably resign” his position as the national chairman.
Displaying banners with various inscriptions including: ‘Oshiomhole is a dictatorship,” “Oshiomhole has killed APC,” “Oshiomhole must go,” the protesters claimed that the former Edo governor has factionalised the party.
One of the leaders of the angry protesters, Iyoha Toni Osakbovo, said the protest is about saving the soul of the APC as a national party.
“We have come to save our party; the person we gave the mantle to uphold our constitution is the person attacking the constitution.
“He swore to protect our great party but so far what we have seen is not what is working. He is the person attacking the constitution, he has factionalised the party in our state (Edo). As I speak, he has created a faction in the party.
“We are begging Mr. President to please save this party because Adams Oshiomhole came to meet this party, there was a national chairman before he became chairman. We do not see reason why Adams Oshiomhole will destroy this party.
“We’re begging the president to come to our aid because the person that is supposed to uphold the constitution is now the person destroying the constitution. Our constitution is very clear, the National Working Committee (NWC) has no disciplinary power, but under Oshiomhole, the NWC is usurping the power of NEC.
“There is nowhere in the constitution that says NWC has disciplinary power, but how come under Oshiomhole the issues are now different? So, we are begging the president, it’s time for us to start healing, enough of fighting,” the protesters demanded.
Meanwhile, the Edo caucus in the National Assembly has pledged support for Oshiomhole in the feud between him and Governor Godwin Obaseki.
The caucus at a press briefing in Abuja, yesterday, blamed Obaseki for the crisis rocking the state chapter of the APC.
Deputy Leader, House of Representatives, Peter Akpatason, who read a statement on behalf of the caucus traced the crisis to the manner the governor proclaimed the Assembly.
“We advise Governor Obaseki and his management to appreciate the damage they are doing to the state and party with their undemocratic and unorthodox political actions and to retrace their steps.
“The governor should issue another proclamation as stipulated in the Constitution and have all the 24 elected members properly inaugurated so they can duly represent their constituents and make invaluable contributions to the growth and development of the state.
“To stop forthwith all forms of intimidation and harassment of elected officials, appointees and perceived enemies. Allow peace to reign in Edo State and work to enhance democratic practices by opening up political spaces.”