Some state chairmen of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have called for the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari and other national leaders of the party in the dispute between the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and his predecessor, John Odigie-Oyegun.
The states chairmen, including those of Osun, Plateau, Benue, Imo and Rivers said the intervention of the party leaders was necessary to prevent the dispute from degenerating into a major crisis.
They made the call on Wednesday just as indications emerged that the state chairmen would meet in Abuja over the issue and other matters.
While the Benue State chapter of the party said the chairmen would meet in Abuja on Thursday (today), the Chairman of the APC in Ebonyi State, Dr Eze Nwachukwu, said they would “between now and Monday.”
The Deputy National Chairman (North), Lawal Shuaibu, had in a May 28 letter asked Oshiomhole to resign for allegedly running the APC like a private fiefdom.
He had alleged that many decisions attributed to the National Working Committee were personal decisions of the national chairman but imposed on the party.
Also Odigie-Oyegun on Sunday criticised Oshiomhole’s leadership style, saying the ex-Edo State governor lacked the temperament and capacity to run a political party.
But in order to end the crisis, the Director Publicity, Research and Strategy of Osun APC, Kunle Oyatomi, said the President should immediately intervene to save the party from disintegration.
Oyatomi said, “A fight like this can cause disintegration. Both Oshiomhole and Oyegun belong to the APC and the President is the leader of the party. He should immediately curb the excesses of the people involved.”
On the allegations and counter-allegations from the two camps, Oyatomi said both Oyegun and Oshiomhole had different approaches to leadership.
Also, Rivers State chapter of the party called on the President to intervene in the disagreement between the two party leaders.
The state Publicity Secretary of the APC, Chris Finebone, described the feud between Oyegun and Oshiomhole as avoidable and unfortunate.
He stated, “I very much believe that the President should intervene, not just in this matter, but in other matters that have been calling for his intervention because he is the party leader.
“The statements from the two of them are unfortunate. I know that the first statement started from somewhere. But even if it started from somewhere, it wasn’t compulsory that because it started from somewhere, the second person should also join in the fray.
“This brickbat is avoidable and should not have even started, therefore, their statements are unfortunate; what they are doing now is unfortunate.”
The APC Publicity Secretary in Benue State, James Omguga, also supported the call for President’s intervention.
He said the state chairmen of the party would meet on Thursday (today) in Abuja over the crisis in the party.
Omguga said, “We are looking forward to having an APC devoid of crisis. There are some people who want the downfall of the party but our appeal is that the President and the National Executive Committee members of the party should intervene to prevent the party from slipping into a major crisis.”
When asked if there was any invitation from the national headquarters of the party for a meeting, the publicity secretary said, “There is going to be a meeting of the state chairmen of the party tomorrow (Thursday). Although, I am not privy to the agenda of the meeting, I am sure some of these issues will be raised.”
The APC chairman in Ekiti State, Paul Omotoso, on his part said, “There is nothing bad if the President intervenes. But I think there are ways by which disputes and rifts are resolved in our party. We have internal mechanisms towards the resolution of issues and matters in the party. So, I don’t think it has got to the stage of Mr President intervening. But nothing stops him from intervening if he feels like. That depends on his position.
“I think it’s all about a conflict which the party can handle. It is a dispute that involves two national leaders – one former national chairman and the incumbent national chairman. I still believe that we have the National Working Committee, the National Executive Committee caucuses, we have the leaders and we have a lot of structures that can handle the matter.”
On its part, the Oyo State chapter of the party said Odigie-Oyegun gave room for indiscipline festering in the party till date.
The Public Relations Officer of the party in the state, Dr AbdulAzeez Olatunde, told one of our correspondents that “Oshiomhole is doing his best to check some governors’ high-handedness in their respective states.”
Also, the Secretary of the APC in Plateau State, Mr Bashir Sati, said the state chapters of the party had been summoned to Abuja.
Sati said, “We have been following the exchange of words between the two leaders in the social media. I was made to understand that we would be summoned to Abuja this week to be briefed on what the problem is.”
The Secretary of the APC in Katsina State, Abu Danmusa, said the party’s national leaders should intervene in the altercations between Oshiomhole and his predecessor.
Danmusa said the altercations could even be a booby trap by the opposition to distract the APC from executing its programmes and making the party unpopular especially in 2023 when Buhari would not contest the presidential election.
He reminded the party leaders of how intra-party crisis led to the loss of Zamfara State governorship seat to the Peoples Democratic Party.
Danmusa said, “The two of them are party leaders and I will rather call on the other leaders and elders to intervene instead of involving President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The verbal war may even be part of the plans of the opposition to distract our great party, the APC, from executing its programmes and making us unpopular in 2023 especially when President Muhammadu Buhari, who Nigerians love so much, will not be contesting.
“Look at Zamfara and how an intra-party crisis made the PDP to get the governorship seat on a platter of gold. The same intra-party crisis has made us to lose a number of House of Representatives’ seats. We have to be careful. Let the party leaders and elders including Bola Tinubu intervene.”
But the APC in Ebonyi State said President Buhari could not intervene in the dispute between Oshiomhole and Odigie-Oyegun.
The party said it was too early for the President to intervene in a “mere” internal party misunderstanding, when all traditional avenues known by the party, had not been utilised.
The Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Mr Chika Nwoba, in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH in Abakaliki, said, “Chief John Odigie-Oyegun had been our leader, until he was unceremoniously removed, the way he was removed. As it currently stands, no one can tell if he is still an APC member. You don’t expect him to be happy, going by the circumstances that surrounded his removal.
“It’s a mere internal party misunderstanding between the two leaders of our party. It’s too early for the President to step into the issue. We have the states’ working committees, the zonal working committees, the National Executive Committee, and the National Working Committee. And I don’t think all these organs in the party have finished looking into the matter.”
But the Chairman of the APC in the state, Dr Eze Nwachukwu, told one of our correspondents that the state chairmen and other critical stakeholders of the party, would “meet in a couple of days” with the national leadership.
“Don’t ask me anything about Odigie-Oyegun and Oshiomhole. They are both adults and they should know how best to resolve their grouses. I don’t want to comment on it.
“But we will meet with the national leadership of the party soon. I think between now and next Monday, we should have met with the party’s leadership in Abuja,” Nwachukwu said.
However, the Imo State chapter of the party called on the President to advise Oshiomhole to resign.
The APC chairman in the state, Daniel Nwafor, who spoke to one of our correspondents on Wednesday in Owerri, said “Odigie-Oyegun is correct. Oshiomhole does not have the right temperament to continue as the national chairman of our party.”
Nwafor said the continued stay of Oshiomhole as the APC national chairman “portends danger for the growth of our party.”
He said, “I agree with Odigie-Oyegun 100 per cent. Oshiomhole does not have the right temperament to continue as the national chairman of our party. President Muhammadu Buhari should advise him to resign.”
However, the News Agency of Nigeria reported that the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yekini Nabena, called on President Buhari, as the party’s leader, to intervene in the hostilities between Odigie-Oyegun and Oshiomhole.
Nabena, who said the war of words between Odigie-Oyegun and Oshiomhole was unnecessary, described the development as a distraction that could weaken the party.
He stated, “Elections have been won and lost, high-level meetings such as the National Caucus and the National Executive Committee are there to address the party matters.
“I call on our respected leaders, particularly the current and immediate past national chairmen to end their hostilities, particularly in the media.”
Nabena said this was critical to ensure that the APC focused on the important task of forming government at the state and federal levels and deliver on the next level mandate.
He said, “I call on President Muhammadu Buhari, as the leader of our party, to lead fence-mending efforts and address obvious grievances in many states and among stakeholders in the party.
“The defeat the APC suffered during the 2019 general elections in some states it previously controlled is indeed worrisome.
“However, we are still the governing party which produced the President, control majority states and have an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly.
“Compared to the failed PDP, the APC remains the political party of choice for both Nigerians and politicians. I urge our aggrieved members to remain in the APC fold and settle their differences.” – Punch.