Last week, the taciturn former chairman of the All Progressives congress ( APC), John Odigie-Oyegun launched a scathing attack on his successor, Adams Oshiomgole.
According to him, “Oshiomhole fails because he lacks the temperament that is required to run a political. He lacks the capacity to manage the different interests and tendencies that constitute a political party,” The Punch newspaper quoted Mr Odigie-Oyegun to have said on Sunday.
Oyegun added: “He acts in direct opposite of decisions taken by NWC. No minutes of NWC meetings which, in any event, take place outside the party secretariat.
“How would you not have crises in states with the confusion that Oshiomhole created when he gave the states freedom to choose their methods of choosing candidates for elections?
“Much of the crisis in states arose out of sheer incapacity on the part of the current chairman. How does this Oshiomhole’s incapacity become traps by Oyegun?.” When I first read the news, I thought it was the usual social media fake news because Oyegun is not known to attack opponents or critics. But when I saw the news on some reputable websites, I figured he must have been pushed to the wall.
Trust Oshiomhole; he is never a man to back down from a fight. He swiftly hit back at Oyegun. In a fresh response issued by the APC national publicity secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party said Oyegun condoned indiscipline and accommodated impunity by certain party members when he was national chairman of the party.
The party said Oyegun’s tolerance for political despots in the party gave room for the crisis that resulted in the party failing to live up to the expectations of Nigerians when elected in 2015.
The APC said Oyegun’s failure to rein in the excesses of some influential members led to the power clash that eventually happened when Oshiomhole assumed leadership.
The statement reads: “Let me agree that the NWC that led the party into the 2015 elections and continued till June 2018 did nothing different from what you would find in PDP. It was a period the party was seen as mere vehicle to attain political office.”
“The system accommodated impunity as certain members appeared to be superior to the party. Their interests were far more important than the collective interests of the APC, even when most times such interests are at variance with the ideals the party stand for.
“You would recall that it was under that leadership that some impudent members of APC called the bluff of the party by imposing themselves on the National Assembly as leaders contrary to the position of the party. Where was the party? Where was the discipline when this happened?
“It would be difficult to calculate what lack of courage to assert the party supremacy cost APC over that period. The consequences of the inaction of the party were unimaginable. We all saw the consequences on governance as the National Assembly practically held our government to ransom.
“We all know that PDP was practically dead following the devastating defeat of 2015. The PDP bounced back not because the party has changed its insidious way or did anything different, but because APC did not live up to expectations.
“It goes without saying that when an organisation is unable to enforce its own rules, it would suffer the consequences sooner than later.
“We should not be ashamed to say that our party’s leadership under Chief Oyegun lacked the courage required to confront the pockets of political despots who could not operate by the party’s rules.” Let me give my personal opinion on this. Let’s look at the issues Oyegun raised. First, there is no gainsaying the fact that Oshiomhole’s abrasive leadership style led to some electoral losses in some states. His commander-in-chief of the APC posture did not augur well with governors and ministers who are members of the party.
In a way, I commend him for trying to entrench party discipline and I love the way he clipped the wings of some emperor-governors but he was not consistent in his dealings.
I put the blame of the Zamfara collapse squarely on the doorstep of Oshiomole. In a bid to stop former Governor Abdulaziz Yari from having his way, he dissolved the primaries conducted by the governor and promised to send a new committee to conduct fresh elections. Trust Yari; he descended into the gutters warning Oshiomhole and his team to stay clear of Zamfara.
That was how the deadline for submission of candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) elapsed. Yari and Oshiomhole are the culprit- in-chief in the Zamfara APC disaster.
A similar thing happened in Adamawa where former Governor Jibrilla Bindow did a Yari style and held a sham primaries which Oshiomhole endorsed.
The same Oshiomhole endorsed the fiction called direct primaries election in Lagos. We all knew Akinwumi Ambode was going to lose the primaries anyway but things should be done right.
I felt sad watching Clement Ebiri reversing himself after claiming less than 24 hours earlier that primaries didn’t hold in Lagos. The scene just reminded me of the bestselling novel by Mario Puzo titled the god-father.
On the other hand, the reign of Oyegun as chairman of the APC was also a disaster. His dour nature coupled with President Buhari’s aloofness was a total cataclysm for the party. Party discipline and supremacy were thrown out of the window. Pseudo lords sprung up in the party and there was no leader to put them in check. The president and Oyegun were not interested.
In my opinion, if Oyegun had remained as chairman of APC, the ruling party would have lost more states in the general elections than it lost under Oshiomhole.
For now, both men should sheathe their swords and all this finger pointing and blamestorming should stop in the interest of the party.