- Accuse state chief executives of plotting to unseat national chairman
- Say governors already collecting signatures for Oshiomhole’s removal
- Governors split as four of them move to save embattled chair
The Forum of State Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday accused some governors elected on the platform of the party of working against the party’s interest in the recently concluded governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
The Chairman of the forum, Hon. Ali Bukar, who disclosed this during their meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday, also revealed that the unnamed governors, whom he said were working to unseat the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, had already started collecting signatures to achieve their plot.
According to the party chairmen, the said governors, as part of their plot to make the National Chairman seem like he is not working efficiently, worked against the governorship candidates of the party in the recently held governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
They claimed that the anti-Oshiomhole plot is being sponsored by the said governors because of their 2023 presidential ambitions, calling on President Buhari to rein them in so that they will not destabilise the party because of their ambition.
The Forum said: “Mr. President, sir, let me also express our recent worries regarding the activities of some of the governors who are undermining the efforts of the National Chairman of our great party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to reposition the party by plotting his removal.
“It is more worrisome knowing full well that they are not doing this because the National Chairman is not performing his duties according to the constitution, but they are fighting him due to their 2023 presidential ambitions when it is a notorious fact that Mr. President has just commenced his second term in office a few months ago.
“Your Excellency, it may interest you to know, sir, that because these governors were desperate in their bid to oust our national chairman, they even worked against our governorship candidates in Kogi and Bayelsa States so that we would lose and they would have latched on the losses as grounds to advocate for the removal of the national chairman.
“It is really unfortunate, Your Excellency, that just after we won additional state in the South-South, which is Bayelsa, consolidated on our hold on Kogi, these governors have been busy collecting signatures, spending our hard-earned resources in both covert and overt campaigns for the removal of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
“We believe, sir, that the affected governors don’t mean well for your administration, because after Nigerians voted massively for Your Excellency, all hands should be on deck to give Nigerians the desired dividends of democracy and not creating crisis where there is none.
“On the watch of this National Working Committee (NWC) led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Mr President, our party ensured that true party leaders who would work in accordance with the visions and missions of Mr President were elected as leaders of the National Assembly.
“Today, we are enjoying cordial relationship between the Executive and the Legislature and Nigerians are seeing the difference.
“These and many other achievements have been recorded under the Oshiomhole-led NWC. Therefore why will some people want to remove a winning team?
“We want to appeal to Your Excellency to use your good office to call these governors to order so they will not destabilise the party.
“We need stability at this point and not anything that will cause distraction.
“And we use this opportunity to reiterate the vote of confidence which we earlier passed in our National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and we appreciate Mr President for the cooperation that you have been giving to the NWC.”
APC governors split Oshiomhole
In a related development, APC governors were on Thursday divided over the fate of Oshiomhole.
While most of the governors pushed for his immediate ouster, four others resisted it.
The governors who stood against Oshiomhole’s ouster included Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun); Babagana Zulum (Borno) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).
The four governors prevailed on their colleagues to give Oshiomhole the chance to “reform himself” or ensure reconciliation in the party.
According to a reliable source, the governors clashed over Oshiomhole during a session with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa on the future of the APC and the fate of Oshiomhole.
The governors’ meeting with the President was said to be a follow-up to the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party held some weeks ago.
Findings also indicated that the session with the President arose from a secret meeting in Jos by the governors after the 3rd Federal Government-Progressive Governors’ Forum parley on policy synergy.
It was learnt that the plot to remove Oshiomhole was sealed in Jos and was meant to be delivered to Buhari at the Villa in Abuja on Thursday.
Prior to the meeting with the President, it was gathered that some APC governors (suspected to be pro-Oshiomhole) were either notified late or deliberately sidelined to checkmate them from attending the Villa session.
But it was gathered that the pro-Oshiomhole governors got wind of the audience with the President and dashed to Abuja to attend the Thursday meeting.
The meeting with the President was however laced with drama as the governors reeled out the sins of the APC National Chairman to the President.
But with disagreement among the governors on the approach to adopt in addressing the challenges facing APC, there was no consensus on the fate of Oshiomhole.
A governor who spoke in confidence said: “Edo was not discussed at the meeting with the President. It was purely about the state of the party and the leadership of Adams (Oshiomhole).
“Majority made it clear he should go. None spoke in his favour as everyone agreed that the party is in trouble with him in the leadership.
“But a few governors like those of Lagos, Osun and Borno felt Oshiomhole should be given a chance to reform himself, to which many argued that his temperament and character were not suited to the leadership of a political party.”
Responding to some questions, including the alternative to Oshiomhole, the source added: “Yes, all APC governors were there, apart from Governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina) and Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) and the three are all in support of Oshiomhole’s exit.
“No alternative yet, but it is as if some are rooting for wholesale changes to the National Working Committee (NWC).
“He (Oshiomhole) may as well get an ambassadorial seat in a Grade A Embassy. No talk of replacement at the meeting and no clue as to when he will go.”
But another governor who confided in our correspondent said that what took place on Thursday was “more of a palace coup against Oshiomhole if not for the decision of the President to have a second opinion on Oshiomhole.”
Another governor said: “Some governors were really not properly notified of the session with the President. They got to know in the last minutes. These governors who are backing Oshiomhole managed to gatecrash into the meeting.
“This opportunity enabled the likes of Governors Oyetola, Sanwo-Olu, Zulum and Abiodun to plead with their colleagues to exercise restraint and avoid a decision that could disintegrate the party.
“What the pro-Oshiomhole’s governors wanted was reconciliation and the need to give Oshiomhole a second chance to ‘reform himself.’
“It was obvious that we were divided at the meeting and the President had to tell us that whatever we are going to do must follow due process and in line with the party’s constitution.”
On the response of the President, a third governor said: “Buhari told us that although Adams was his choice after feeling dissatisfied with ex-National Chairman John Odigie Oyegun’s leadership, he could not understand how things had turned out in the party.
“He said he feels whatever it takes to have the party back on its feet should be done and done in accordance with the rule of law and the party’s constitution.”
Investigation revealed that the anti-APC governors banked on the “window” created by President Buhari and regrouped later in the evening on Thursday.
But the second meeting was stalemated because of a “well-prepared script to advise Oshiomhole to resign.”
A source said: “At the meeting of the Progressive Governors Forum (PPF), some of our colleagues said we should address the press that we have advised Oshiomhole to resign.
“But one of us said no because we have not heard from Oshiomhole. The governor also said the NEC mandated the APC national chairman to put in place a reconciliation committee.
“He said ‘why can’t the governors follow due process as advised by the President? The second session however ended in a flop too.” The Nation