APC gov’s forum: Oshiomhole-led NWC intolerant, incompetent

Buhari with APC Governors at the meeting

Serving governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the platform of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) have blasted the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) over various crises rocking the party at all levels.

They described the NWC as ‘intolerant’ of criticism and lacking in necessary competence to manage a national party like the APC.

The forum also warned the party’s national chairman to desist from making further inflammatory public statements capable of putting the party in bad light.

But when contacted Sunday for reaction, the party’s national chairman through  his media aide, Mr Simon Ebegbulem, told our correspondent on phone that he wouldn’t join issue with the PGF director general.

“I don’t have any response to Lukman’s claim my brother,” Ebegbulem stated.

In the lengthy article released to newsmen Sunday in Abuja by the PGF Director General Salihu Mohammed  Lukman, the governors said the crises within APC were getting worse by the day but the “NWC is hardly able to come up with any reassuring response.”

The article titled: “Chief Bisi Akande APC National Reconciliation Committee: Our Leaders should Unite to Rebuild the Party”, the PGF director general described APC NWC under Oshiomhole as “a very efficient Trojan horse that opens the backdoor for electoral victory to our political opponents.”

Lukman said, part of the problem in the party is that Oshiomhole is surrounded by sycophants mainly from Edo state, saying “any attempt to help him through objective advice is condemned as betrayal, especially when such advice comes from people who were close to him.

“The reconciliation-disposed NWC, even if led by Comrade Oshiomhole, must refrain from making inflammatory public commentaries. As much as possible, all statements coming from the party should be made to reflect decisions of organs of the party, and the NWC in particular must respect its jurisdictional limits as provided in the constitution of the party when it comes to matters of issuing public statements. There are issues that clearly require the decisions of superior organs such as NEC or National Caucus for them to be credited to the party. Statements must not be reduced to opinions of party leaders, important as that may be.

“Any action contrary to this would undermine the work of the Chief Akande Reconciliation Committee and will be against institutionalising the APC as a party that can survive beyond the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari as a ruling party. May God help all leaders unite under the common vision of rebuilding the APC as an institutionalised party capable of winning elections for all times!

“In other words, our NWC can be described as a very efficient Trojan horse that opens the backdoor for electoral victory to our political opponents. It is really unfortunate that we are faced with all the avoidable electoral tragedies that have befallen us, all because our NWC has decided to abdicate its responsibility. This is quite disheartening and certainly beyond any expectation.

“How can all these be happening under the watch of Comrade Oshiohmole as the National Chairman? Comrade Oshiomhole’s leadership credentials cannot be disputed. But given what is going on now in APC under his watch, it is very clear that he is not that same Comrade Oshiomhole that was an inspiring union leader who competently handled all organisational leadership challenges to the admiration of Nigerians.

“Part of the problem now is that he is surrounded by sycophants mainly from Edo state. Any attempt to help him through objective advice is condemned as betrayal, especially when such advice comes from people who were close to him. Many of those who claimed now to be his supporters and loyalists are people who only relate with him based on his position of power and capacity therefore to influence access to political positions. His success as a leader who is able to direct the party towards electoral victory is never their consideration except if they are the candidates.

“One cannot blame these sycophantic crowd around our National Chairman. But I will definitely express my disbelief at the way Comrade Oshiomhole has become all of a sudden, a leader who is intolerant to criticisms. His level of intolerance is so high that any disagreement or criticism expressed against any of his decisions or actions is classified as betrayal and therefore requiring disciplinary actions. The procedure for disciplinary actions has become so cheapened such that all the relevant provisions in the party’s constitution are violated. As a result, Comrade Oshiomhole is today the leading accuser, prosecutor and judge in almost all cases where disciplinary actions have been administered in the party. The only probable exception may be the case in his Ward in Edo state where he is also being alleged to have been disciplined.”

On the Chief Bisi Akande-led national reconciliation committee, the forum said: “It is almost impossible to start any process of engagement to resolve our problems in the party without addressing the issue of intolerance that is today the main characteristic of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC. 

“This is not in any way questioning the capacity or competence of the Chief Bisi Akande-led APC National Reconciliation Committee. No doubt, Chief Bisi Akande is one leader who has all that is required to assist the party and all our leaders to resolve current challenges. In fact, Chief Akande, having led the party, immediately after the merger negotiations that produced the APC in 2013, has everything at stake if the party is allowed to continue to suffer electoral losses simply because our current leaders are intolerant to one another and consequently not able to manage processes of candidate selection within the party.

 “In addition to Chief Akande, the committee has very reputable members who have played very important roles during the merger negotiations of our legacy parties in 2013. I am very confident that this reputable team of very selfless leaders should be given all the support required to ensure that they succeed.

“How can we support the Chief Akande Committee to succeed? I think the starting point has to be an appeal to the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC, who facilitated the formation of the Chief Akande Committee to convene a meeting of the appropriate organ of the party-National Executive Council (NEC) or National Caucus where a decision setting aside all the disciplinary actions at all levels of the party, including the NWC can be taken.

 “Somehow, such a meeting can also serve as perhaps an icebreaking platform where some good pronouncements can emerge, which can encourage all aggrieved leaders and party members to express their disagreement and dissatisfaction at the way our party is being managed since 2015. Steps must be taken at such meeting to ensure that criticising or disagreeing with our leaders does not constitute an offence.

 “If the Chief Akande Committee is to succeed in this very crucial assignment, it must be positioned to set in motion the process of rebuilding the party. The hard truth is that as it stands today, APC is not a functional political party. None of its organs at any level is meeting as provided in the party’s constitution. It is even debatable if our membership register exists. At best, it will be the same old 2015 membership register.”

For the reconciliation committee to succeed, the PGF said all the party leaders at all levels must be united.

“The task of reconciliation in APC has to have a life of its own. It is about commencing the process of rebuilding the party. All our leaders should demonstrate very strong commitment. As part of such commitment, initiative must be instituted to block all openings that further expose our leaders to more conflicts. One of such issues is the question of refilling vacant positions in the NWC.

“Somehow, there appears to be decisions by the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC to endorse successors from states different from what was agreed at the last convention. If this is to go ahead, there will be more disputes within the party. If this is the preferred option, then it is safer to go for another convention where everything about leadership of the party can be renegotiated, and new agreements reached,” he said.

The forum DG identified imposition in APC as the beginning of crisis in the party, saying, “unfortunately, that is where our problems started. Contestants in party primary election failed to develop the needed sportsmanship to accept results.

“The old habits of aspiring candidates taking over leadership structures of the party and through that therefore, predetermining results of the primary elections remained the case.”

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