Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole yesterday fired back at the reformed-APC, insisting that neither him nor the governing party is losing sleep over threats by the group to leave the party.
He was reacting to a statement signed by national publicity secretary of the rAPC, Prince Kassim Afegbua, on Sunday in which he claimed that the APC leaders are having sleepless night over the mass exodus of its members.
Afegbua said no amount of offer being put on the table to woo aggrieved members who left the APC recently back will budge the rAPC, just as he said the APC is only struggling to save itself from the imminent defeat it is to be confronted with soon.
But speaking to State House correspondents yesterday at the presidential villa, Oshiomhole described those planning to return to the PDP as men who lack honour.
He said, “No, I am not losing sleep. I am sleeping very well. I still maintain that I don’t see any man of honour who with his eyes open left PDP on the account of their gross mismanagement, abuse of the treasury and all of the crime that the PDP committed, I don’t see them whatever their irritations, returning to that house. All we need to do is to play back their own tape about what PDP represents and why they left.
“I still hold the view that you can’t vomit in the morning and convert it to lunch in the afternoon if you have honour. And that position still remains the same”.
Oshiomole, who admitted that there are party members who have genuine grievances and those who are just mercenaries, added that the job of the party is to sift the wheat from the chaff and find solutions to genuine grievances.
He stated: “I have made this point clear that we can distinguish the mercenaries from those who genuinely have complains. Our business as party leaders is to try and manage, listen and find solutions to those who have verifiable complains.
“But those who are permanent mercenaries and are in this business for personal issues, there is not much we can do about that and we are not going to change the core values of the party in order to retain them.
“So, let me reinstate that we remain committed and I have said so in my acceptance speech when I was elected that we aknowledge the fact that there are people with genuine complains. For such people we are ready to listen, we are ready to act on the basis of justice, fairness, no arrogance and incursion. I remain committed to these”.
Reiterating his earlier position that he will not deal with mercenaries, he said most of them cannot deliver their wards during election.
He continued: “On principle, I do not deal with political mercenaries; that remains my position. I will not miss my sleep because a lot of these guys cannot on a good day deliver their unit. And we have the records that tells us who won elections where.
“I am a tested fighter. I fought them from Edo from zero- zero and I overcame their most powerful godfathers. So, I know what I am talking about. I speak from experience and I will talk, negotiate and persuade but there are core principles that are not negotiable”.
The APC national chairman also noted that the last minute rapprochement he is making with aggrieved members of the party who are planning to dump the ruling party is not an act of cowardice.
Oshiomhole said the last minute reconciliation is all about working for peace towards getting justice and fairness for those who deserved it and not as a result of being jittery in anyway.
The immediate past Edo state governor stated this during a book launch organised by Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim (APC Yobe East) yesterday.
He said, “Throughout the weekend and up till today (yesterday), many of the national dailies reported different stories with the impression that I have not been sleeping within the last one week as a result of alleged midnight meetings with aggrieved party members who they say I have been begging not to leave the party.
“In some of the reports, insinuations even went as far as saying that I made juicy offers to the aggrieved party members in stopping them from cross-carpeting.
“While I will not be too direct in reacting to such reports here, I will only say I have been meeting aggrieved party members over whatever injustice they felt the party or some chieftains of the party had done to them, but I have not been having sleepless nights as being reported and also not in any way jittery .
…Threatens To Sack Ngige, Sirika Over Board Inauguration
Also, the national chairman of the APC, Oshiomole, yesterday read the riot act to Minister of labour and productivity, Chris Ngige and his Aviation counterpart, Hadi Sirika, asking them inaugurate the recently constituted boards of their respective ministries or risk suspension.
Two weeks ago, Oshiomole had asked Ngige and Sirika to inaugurate all boards under their ministries within one week or face sanctions from the party.
In a letter dated July 11, 2018 and addressed to the ministers, the APC chairman berated the ministers for failing to reconstitute the Boards, saying it contravenes the position of the National Executive Council and the presidential directives to all ministers, even as he described it as a great disrespect to the party.
In his reaction, Ngige had said the board of the NSITF was not inaugurated because of corruption involving N48billion federal government and employers’ contributions to the Employees’ Compensation Fund plus some non-remitted PAYE taxes.
Speaking to State House correspondents yesterday, Oshiomole warned that the party will no longer tolerate rebels as ministers who shun its directives.
According to him, some ministers are taking undue advantage of President Buhari’s fatherly deposition, noting that if the president condones disrespect for his office, he will not condone disrespect for the party.
He said, “If the minister refuses we will suspend him from the party. You know we must return to internal discipline. For me, it is the height of mischief for any minister. You cannot purport to be honourable minister and you act dishonourably. Nobody is greater than the party.
“And if the president condones disrespect for his office, I will not condone disrespect for the party. And when we expel the minister we will prevail on the president that he can’t keep in his cabinet people who have neither respect for his own decisions nor have respect for the party without which they would not have been ministers.
“There are no independent candidate in our system. Nobody. I emphasise no minister is above the party and they have taken undue advantage of the president’s fatherly disposition”.
Stating that it is the same green pen that made them minister that appointed these boards that they are refusing to swear in, Oshiomole said it is absolutely illegal for a minister in a democracy to prey the powers of the board because the laws establishing those institutions are clear.
He added: “I am convinced that what they are doing is not with the endorsement of Mr President. Over the period, they have tried to drop the president’s name but I tell them it is the same authority that appointed these people.
“So, we are informing them that it is either they comply to the president’s instructions or they comply with the party’s position or they go and administer outside the government. We have respect for ministers but only to the extent that they recognise that they are a product of a political party and we are not negotiating that. If they do that in the past under our leadership we will not tolerate it.
“They either comply or we will expel them from the party. When we expel them we will find out how a government can keep a rebel in the cabinet. There is no question about that”.
PDP Inaugurates Committee On Name Change
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday setup a committee to look into the change of its name.
It also approved the fusion of reformed All Progressives Congress (rAPC) into its fold.
The party also expelled Senator Buruji Kashamu, representing Ogun East, and three other members from Ogun State for hobnobbing with the APC.
Other members expelled by the party are Semiu Shodipo, Bayo Adebayo and Segun Seriki.
The party, which also approved the timetable for it’s party primaries ahead of the 2019, took the decisions after its 80th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at its national headquarters in Abuja.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, the national publicity secretary of PDP, kola Ologbondiyan, also said the NEC has resolved to go to court over the Ekiti governorship election.
Against speculations that the party would change its name at yesterday’s NEC meeting, Ologbondiyan said, “The party has also constituted a committee on harmonisation on the possibility of a change of name, as part of Re-branding our party. We await the outcome of the harmonisation committee.”
On time frame for the committee, he said, “The issue is not about time frame but about now. We can wake up tomorrow morning and say this is the new name”.
He said the NEC also applauded the decision of the party to go into grand alliance as well as the decision of the rAPC to fuse into the PDP.
He noted that the committee has been encouraged to continue to seek for those who are sick and tired of the government of the day and desirous of changing it.
For members returning to the party, Ologbondiyan said the party has designed a template or framework on how to handle the return of members.
He said, “We have provided a percentage or structure in states for governors that are returning or joining afresh”, adding that same applies to qualitative members of national and state assemblies.
He however added that the NWC is not imposing its will or desires on the state structures, even as he said in states where such fusions will happen the stakeholders will apply the template.
Speaking on the disciplinary action, he said, “We took disciplinary action against members hobnobbing with the ruling party. We shall not accept any untoward behavior from members anymore.
“As a result, NEC approved the expulsion of Senator Buruji Kashamu, Semiu Sodipo, Segun Seriki, Dayo Adebayo, all members of the Ogun State chapter of the party”.
He added that the NEC has approved the decision of NWC to go to court over Ekiti State governorship election, adding that the PDP national legal adviser will head the legal committee.
The party spokesman said the party has considered and approved the timetable ahead of the 2019 general election.
Speaking during the NEC meeting, the national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, told members of the party across the country that Nigerians are looking up to them to halt the disastrous slide in the state of the nation.
He said, “The situation in the country demands that all people of goodwill must join hands to legally see out this incompetent APC government. In our wildest imagination, none of us thought that Nigeria could deteriorate to the level it is today”.
He said that the monkeys and baboons as predicted by the APC have truly been soaked in blood, as life is no longer worth anything with rivers of blood a constant spectacle.
Chairman of PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Sen Walid Jibrin, urged members of the party to be ready to make efforts and sacrifices if they want to take over from the ruling party.
“We must play to the letter the agreements reached in the coalition. Members of APC will join us within a week. So, I enjoin you all to think ahead and do whatever is possible so that we will end up well.”
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