Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, has fallen out of favour with some stakeholders of the ruling party, hence, the need to go the extra mile in the struggle to retain his position.
As more people are embracing the Oshiomhole-must-resign campaign, which was launched recently by the party’s Deputy National Chairman North, Sen. Lawal Shuaibu, the future of the Chairman’s position in the party remains uncertain.
Moreover, Chairman’s effort to counter calls for his resignation has suffered a setback when his predecessor, Mr. John Oyegun, joined the anti-Oshiomhole’s forces and described him as an incompetent leader and agent of destabilization in the ruling party.
The erstwhile Chairman also urged his successor to take the blame for the APC’s electoral misfortune and other problems currently bedeviling the party, adding that he was unfit to remain in office as the party’s Chairman.
Oyegun joined the fray when the National Chairman’s allies accused him of hatching the plot for Oshiomhole’s downfall and laying landmines on his path.
The Chairman’s current predicament is the repercussion of the defeat, which the ruling party suffered in some states in the last general elections.
Zamfara and six other states under the ruling party’s control before the general elections were taken by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which triggered the calls for Oshiomhole’s resignation.
APC, under Oshiomhole lost Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Imo, Sokoto and Oyo states respectively; and suffered disqualification in Rivers and Zamfara States, which was blamed on ego as well as the inability of the party’s leadership to halt the internal crisis in the affected states at its early stage.
A source revealed that some aggrieved members of the ruling party faulted Oshiomhole’s dictatorial style of leadership, blaming him for the calamity that befell the party in the affected states.
This allegation was on Sunday confirmed by Oyegun, “Oshiomhole fails because he lacks the temperament required to run a political party. He lacks the capacity to manage different interests and tendencies that constitute a political party. He engages his mouth before engaging his mind, so he offends party members.”
Those in the know argue that rather than toe the path of justice and fairness, the Chairman allowed his former colleagues (ex- governors) in some states to disregard due process in selecting the candidates for the various elective positions.
Analysts are of the opinion that the leadership of the incoming National Assembly is another reason for the current campaign to unseat Oshiomhole.
His opponents are not happy with the zoning arrangement as announced by the party’s chair, which zoned the offices of Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives to individuals instead of allowing the aspirants to test their popularity among their colleagues when the 9th National Assembly is proclaimed this month.
Apart from Shuaibu, other stakeholders that want the Chairman to vacate his seat are former governor of Sokoto State, Yahaya Abdulkarim and the immediate past Minister of Communication, Mr. Adebayo Shittu.
Shuaibu, had in a letter to Oshiomhole berated him for creating the problem that led to the painful loss of a sitting APC Government in Zamfara State. His claim was contained in a letter entitled, “APC: It’s Fortunes Vs Misfortunes, Time To Act!”
He said, “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.”
“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,” he said.
In the same way, Abdulkarim agreed with Shuaibu, saying that the Chairman has, indeed, failed in the task of leading the party.
Abdulkarim said, “I am 100 per cent in support of the call for Oshiomhole to step down for the party to have good leadership that will lead it to its progress.The party’s national Chairman is supposed to lead the party to capture more states, give it right leadership and direction. The essence of politics and political party is to win elections; if it fails then it is not a party.”
According to Abdulkarim, Oshiohmole had met APC leading in 26 states, but ended up losing many of the states to the opposition. “Losing control in six states is too much a blow for members to bear. If Oshiomhole does not quit, the APC will be dead by 2023,” he said.
Shittu, on his part, endorsed the call for the resignation of the Chairman, stressing that allowing him to remain in office would mark the end of the party before the next general elections.
He said, “I endorse it. The truth is that with Oshiomhole, this party would go down by the time President Muhammadu Buhari finishes.
“Oshiomhole is full of himself and he has an ego problem and he wants to dominate every environment but democracy is not like that. We are concerned and everything that we can do to force him out, we will do.”
But the embattled Chairman’s allies have deployed some foot soldiers to the field to counter the anti-Oshiomhole’s forces.
A source informed The Next Edition that the Chairman’s camp is taking the Oshiomhole-must- stay campaign to the party’s stakeholders across the federation.
Our source further revealed that the mission seems to be yielding some positive results.
For instance, the party’s Chairmen in the six South-South States have risen in defense of Oshiomhole and given Shuaibu a seven day- ultimatum to tender an unreserved apology to the Chairman for calling for his resignation.
According to the Chairmen, Shuaibu would incur the wrath of the people of the zone if he failed to apologize within the stipulated time.
The Chairmen portrayed Shuaibu as a mischief-maker and accused him of being a tool in the hands of enemies of the ruling party.
Their position was contained in a communiqué signed by A.U Ojezua, Edo: Jones Erue, Delta; Amos Lalabunafe, Bayelsa; Ini Okopido, Akwa Ibom; John Ochalla, Cross River; Ojukaye Amachree, Rivers, and made available to newsmen on Friday.
Similarly, the Imo State Chapter of the party has assured the chairman of its full support.
Oshiomhole has also gained the sympathy of some stakeholders in Adamawa where the party’s state Organising Secretary, Ahmed Lawal, is currently drumming up support for the embattled National Chairman, describing calls for his resignation as unnecessary.
“There is no justification in calling on Oshiomhole to quit office, because major decisions that brought problems to the party were not taken by him alone,” Lawal said.
“If the call is based on poor management of party’s affairs, all members of the National Working Committee, NWC, should go because all of them took decisions collectively. So calling for Oshiomhole’s head is not the solution but dissolution of the entire national officers. I, therefore, advise the National Chairman not to resign,” he said.
Similarly, a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, in his reaction said that some powerful politicians within the ruling party are behind the call for Oshiomhole’s resignation.
He said, “When your deputy publicly calls for you to step down, you know that someone powerful and strategic is behind him. I feel sorry for my old friend and brother, Adams Oshiomhole. They have used him and now they want to dump him.”
Pundits, however, contend that removing the Chairman for the reason of what transpired during the general elections will be unfair to the man who has promised to reform the ruling party.
Rather than seek a quick fix to the party’s post-election problems, its leadership should learn from its mistakes, pacify the aggrieved members and move on as a team.
The latest development, analysts argue, is not unexpected from a party that is well-known for shifting blames. In good times, the leaders dance the victory dance together but in the time of misfortune, an individual must be singled out to take the blow.
Since the 2019 general elections would not be the last polls in Nigeria, the ruling party should accept its misfortune in some States in good faith, learn the obvious lessons and prepare to forestall the repeat of such drawback in future elections.
It is also the responsibility of the ruling party to ensure that the prediction about its impending collapse is not materialized.
But what the leadership of the party should note is that passing the buck can never advance the cause of the APC in Nigeria.