The national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomole, yesterday denied reports that his party was facing mass defection.
He said rather, it was the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that had suffered mass defection in recent times.
Speaking to State House correspondents yesterday after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Oshiomhole just recently after the PDP’s convention, some founding fathers of the party left.
He also ruled out the new coalition of PDP, R-APC, ADC and 36 other parties, noting that no matter which form they come, Nigerians would reject them just like they did to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s third term agenda.
In a veiled reference to Obasanjo, the APC chairman observed that an old man is going round as an organising secretary, recruiting people and looking for tired players to continue with a third term agenda which Nigerians had rejected.
On reports of impending mass defection from the APC, he said, “I think it is something you should ask the PDP. They are the ones who have suffered huge mass defection, even of the so-called founding fathers. I mean in those good old days, people like Professor Jerry Gana would tell us we are the founding fathers.
“People like President Obasanjo will tell us, ‘you know I was the first president’. All of these people are gone. I think the media needs to get more engaged and scrutinise those of us who are political players when we speak from both sides of the mouth or turning the story upside down.
“Just few months back, you know that a good section after their convention, people like Adeniran Professor Jerry Gana and a host of others who can be said to founding fathers of that party, left to form what they call SDP or ADC or both.
“So, they broke out and when it dawned on them that even together we defeated them just four years ago. And now further factionalised, what can they do? They just want to capture power for the sake of power.
“So, they say, ‘even though we have already broken the house, can we for the sake of power come together? Does it make sense? In the morning, you broke away from PDP to SDP and then to ADC. And there is no better proof than that old man who is going round as an organising secretary recruiting people, looking for tired players to continue with a third term agenda which Nigerians have rejected”.
Noting that in whatever form they come Nigerians have spoken, Oshiomhole said the opposition elements are not going to return to the era where security money was shared to people based on PDP philosophy, ‘share the money’.
“We won’t do that, if they have forgotten. It is quite easy for robbers to forget easily the robbery they just did but it is not easy for the victim of the robbery to forget”, he added.
When asked why the APC is going on with the Imo State ward, local and state congresses despite a court order, Oshiomole said he did not receive any stay of execution order from the court.
He explained: “It is going on. I know for a fact that I was served with a court paper, which nullified the congresses that were done under my predecessor. On the basis of the court judgement, which nullified the election, we were obliged to now go back and re-conduct, which is what we are doing today.
“If anybody purports that there is a new court order, it has not been served on me. You will agree with me that however unfairly you look at me, however small I am, I have a postal address, a contact address, a residential address. So, it is not possible to have a court order and it is not served on me. And I do not belong to the category of persons that will run away from service.
“If there is a court order, as a governing party, we are obliged to live by example. So, the truth is that there is no court order. There is no stay of execution. A stay of execution is not something that is secret. If anybody has one, he should show it to you”.
When asked about his mission to the villa, he said, “As a national chairman of the governing party, I have the responsibilities to preside over and to administer the party. And party matters in a very dynamic environment such as the one we are in.
“I have come here to meet with the president who is the head of the federal government and the executive elected on the platform of our great party to share with him what we are doing in the party and what he is doing in government so that there is no gap between government and the party. That is the way it should be and we had a very brief business like meeting”.
He further explained reasons why the party adopted the direct primary system for the APC gubernatorial primaries in Osun.
He also expressed confidence that the APC will emerge victories in the Osun governorship election in September on the ground that incumbent governor of the state, Rauf Aregbesola, is at home with his people.
He stated: “As for Osun state, we are even much more confident because there, we have a governor who is at home with his people, he is a mobiliser, an organiser and an astute politician.
“We have also decided that in order to give people a more sense of ownership in the electoral process, we use direct primaries, which means that every card carrying member of the APC is going to participate in choosing who should fly the flag of the party.
“Now, this method gives more and more people a sense of ownership and a sense of commitment to the candidate that they have all chosen. It returns the party to the grass root so that new sense of renewed ownership, renewed sense of participation and inclusion by itself, is a value that would make the actual election even much easier”.
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