The controversy trailing the suspension of former Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, from the All Progressives Congress (APC) continued yesterday as warring camps in his ward 10 in Etsako west local government of Edo State differed over his status in the party.
Reprieve came the way of Oshiomhole when 17 members of a faction of the executive committee of ward 10 in Etsako West local government of the party led by secretary of the ward, Emuakemeh Sule, announced the lifting of Oshiomhole’s suspension from the APC.
But another faction made up of 10 members led by APC chairman in Etsako Ward 10, Mr Oshawo Stephen, said Oshiomhole remains suspended as a member of the party, insisting that the ward executives stand by their suspension of the erstwhile national chairman.
This is just as the APC also announced receipt of the nomination from Rivers State as a replacement for the deputy national secretary, Chief Victor Giadom.
LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that Oshiomhole was suspended by the party in November last year following his protracted disagreement with Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo State.
A High Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) ordered his suspension as APC national chairman in March 2020, a verdict which was upheld by Court of Appeal on Tuesday.
But respite came the way of Oshiomhole yesterday as a faction the executive committee of ward 10 in Etsako West local government of party in Edo State announced the lifting of his suspension from the APC.
Speaking at a press conference at the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja, Emuakemeh Sule, secretary of the ward, stated that the resolution was arrived at after its members had “found no merit in the allegation or processes employed.”
Interestingly, 17 members out of 27 signed the resolution.
Sule said, “We the undersigned, being the Executive Committee of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ward 10 Eisako West L.G.A, Edo State having met today 4/ 6/2020 affirm the following positions.
“That we have reviewed the circumstances leading to the suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and found no merit in the allegation or processes employed. We hereby lift the suspension placed on Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by the Ward.
“We call on all organs of our great party to restore all rights and privileges of membership to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.”
Receiving the team on behalf of the NWC, national vice chairman (South South), Ntufam Hilliard Etta, said, “We have received the resolution of Etsako West Ward 10 as has been read out by the Secretary of that Ward.
“Let me say that 17 out of 27 members have signed this resolution. Let me also day that in matters of this nature, our constitution provides for only a simple majority and 17 out of 27 is indeed more than a simple majority. So, we want to use this opportunity to thank Etsako West Ward 10 for what they have done. History will be on your side.
“I am also in receipt of the acceptance and ratification of that resolution by the Etsako West LGA executive dated the 9th of June 2020 and signed by the Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Akokia and the Secretary, Hon. Dauda Ahmed.
“I am also in receipt bid further ratification by the state executive committee of the APC in Edo state signed by Col. David Imuse (retd), the acting state Chairman and Lawrence O. Oka, state Secretary.”
But in a swift response to claims of lifting of the suspension, the APC chairman in Etsako Ward 10, Stephen, said Oshiomhole remains suspended as a member of the party, insisting that the ward executives stand by his suspension.
In a statement, Stephen said the ward executives who were elected into office in 2018 remain intact and have not been displaced by anybody, describing the claims of the lifting of the suspension as a charade.
According to him, “The suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by the ward executives remains valid. The statements to the contrary in the media are false and should be disregarded. We stand by our decision and have no reservation on the action as it is in the best interest of the party.
“The ward executives as well as our counterparts at the Etsako West Local Government level stand by the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole for his divisive role in the crisis rocking the APC in Edo State.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman APC in Etsako West LGA, Ezolomhe Rabiat, also affirmed that the local council executive members were still members of the party in the state and stand by the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole.
On the replacement of Chief Giadom, national vice chairman (South South) of the APC, Ntufam Etta said, “You are aware that on Friday, a competent court of jurisdiction declared Chief Victor Giadom as not being a member of the National Working Committee NWC and should never parade himself as such.
“Even before then, there was a resolution by the NWC asking the South South zone of the party which I head to transmit a name for his replacement or filling of the vacancy made possible by his resignation to contest as Deputy Governorship Candidate of our party in Rivers state.
“I want to announce to the world that I am in receipt of the name of a distinguished member of this party from Rivers state to the Zone for ratification in the person of Worgu Boms Esq, a former Attorney General of Rivers state.
“His name has been transmitted to my good office and I want to announce that in the earliest time possible, the south South zonal executive committee will meet and ratify that name and send same to the NWC of our great party”.
The position of the APC NWC on Giadom was corroborated by APC’s National Legal Adviser, Babatunde Ogala, who said that it will abide by the order of a Rivers State High Court, which restrained him from parading himself as Deputy National Secretary or Acting National Chairman of the party.
Recall that the Rivers State High Court, presided over by Hon. Justice Florence Fiberesima had on Friday restrained Giadom from parading himself as a member of the NWC of APC, following his resignation in September 2018 to contest for an election in Rivers State.
Speaking during phone-in live radio programme monitored in Port Harcourt yesterday, APC’s National Legal Adviser, Babatunde Ogala, said the party is bound to obey the court order as a law abiding party.
Ogala said, “It is the Court that said he ceased to be Deputy National Secretary and members of the National Working Committee of the party when he went to contest for election in Rivers State in September 2018. It is the Court that said it not me.
“It is the court that said he should stop parading himself as Deputy National Secretary or Acting National Chairman of the party. As a law abiding party, we must obey the order of the court.”
He insisted that the processes the March 13, 2020 order of the Federal High Court on Abuja, which recognized Giadom as the Acting National Chairman of the party, was never served on the party or other defendants in the suit.
N’East Vice Chair Asks Court To Quash Order Making Him Acting National Secretary
Meanwhile, in a new twist to the APC crisis, the North-east national vice chairman of APC, Comrade Salihu Mustapha has applied to the FCT High Court to strike out the order making him the acting national secretary of the party.
The court sitting in Maitama presided over by the Justice S.U. Bature had last week issued an order that Mustapha should be allowed to carry out the functions of acting national secretary of the party.
Mustapha, who immediately rejected the order said he was aware that such plea was entered in March but the recent resolution of the zone endorsing the nomination of Arc. Waziri Bulama for the office of the national secretary of APC which is forwarded to NEC for ratification has overtaken such plea from the Court.
According to him, the North-east stakeholders involving the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and all APC Governors and members of the National Assembly from the zone, met and endorsed Bulama’s nomination for national secretary and forward same to NEC for ratification.
He refuted the publication of a national newspaper that he was not aware of suite in the court.
According to him, it is mischievous for anybody to publish that he was not aware of suite in the FCT High Court purporting to making him Acting National Secretary but he only said he did not continue the suite since his zone had resolved the nomination of Bulama.
Similarly, the party chieftain said he is also aware that the FCT High Court granted the deputy national secretary, Chief Victor Giadom, an order to Act as APC national chairman in March and the renewal on June 16.
Invoke Doctrine Of Necessity, Sack Current NWC – Oyegun
The immediate past national chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has called for the doctrine of necessity as a way to resolve the current leadership crisis bedevilling the party.
Odigie-Oyegun also averred that the current National Working Committee (NWC) be flushed out and a caretaker committee instituted without delay.
This, he said, will provide an avenue for all agitations to be laid to rest.
Oyegun in a statement yesterday titled: “Before It Is Too Late,” said, “There is a most urgent need for the party National Executive Committee (NEC) to meet and institute for the party a Caretaker Committee (even if we have to invoke the doctrine of necessity), whose main responsibility will be to arrange for a special National Convention.
“I remain proud of the great strides of our government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. However, I am afraid to note that the legacy of a government is defined mostly by its politics rather than its achievements in other areas, no matter how lofty those achievements are.
“Our recent history bears enough testimony to this reality. The military government of President Ibrahim Babangida is today remembered mainly for the June 12, 1993 elections and its aftermath. Our own political party, the APC, is fast becoming the single most dangerous threat to the legacy of our government and our President”.
On the formation of APC, he recalled that when they decided in 2012 to build a political coalition of progressives, they were driven by a deep sense of patriotism to rescue the country and a strong commitment to salvage its democracy.
He said, “We believed at the time that the ship of our country was headed for the rocks. Therefore, the significant progressive opposition parties and indeed all men and women of goodwill joined forces, not only to bring it back on course but also to set it on a completely different trajectory that would restore the hopes of our people and make every Nigerian proud of this great country again.
“We approached Nigerians with the promise of change that resonated widely across the country. Based on our promise of change, the people voted against the ruling party in a collective political action that was unprecedented in our nation’s history. Never before had our people’s hopes been so raised. It is my fervent prayers that in a few years from now, we do not look back and say never before have a people’s hope been so dashed.
“In the last few months we have watched how the party has brazenly subverted its own principles of internal democracy and flagrant violation of every rule of decent political engagement in a manner that makes everyone associated with its promise of change liable to be accused of either hypocrisy or apostasy.
“We must therefore remember that our victory in the 2015 Presidential elections and the peaceful transfer of power that followed was a major testament of progress in our nation’s journey towards real democracy. This unprecedented democratic achievement has since inspired progressive forces all over Africa and has become a standard by which democracy is measured in the rest of the continent. Unfortunately, it appears that while other countries around us have marched ahead in the democratic journey, we have largely regressed.
“This statement is therefore a clarion call to leaders of the party, particularly the Governors and Mr. President to urgently bring a stop to the disgraceful and humiliating charade occurring within the National Secretariat of our great party”.
APC Govs Are Behind Me – Obaseki
Meanwhile, Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, said yesterday that his second term ambition enjoys the broad based support including governors from the APC.
The governor, who stated this after appearing before the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), screening committee, also assured that he won’t be a divisive candidate.
The governor who described his screening as fair, added that he presented all his certificates, adding that the committee was objective.
Asked about unconfirmed reports that he still enjoys the sympathy of APC governors, he said, “I still thank God that I enjoy national support not just support from my colleagues from the APC. I think the support is national.
“There are elder statesmen who are apolitical, there are traditional rulers. I have people from different spectrum of the society who come around to solidarise with me and support because I think Nigerians are generally fair minded people.
“They are people who do not accept injustice. From what I have seen over the past several weeks and months, the support is just across the board. It is not just from APC governors alone”.
On the certificate he presented to the committee, he said, “The screening was fair, it was very professionally done. You could see objectivity and I presented all my certificates, my secondary school, higher school, university and my National Youth service certificate, so that they can look at it and see if there are inconsistencies in them and you can ask the screening committee if there are any inconsistencies in any of them?” he said.
The governor however declared that his candidacy won’t divide the party, adding that he has been reaching out to aggrieved aspirants.
“Well, I am not a dividing candidate. I am speaking with all the aspirants. My hope and purpose for the PDP is to have a united and very strong party.
“Party primary should not be divisive because we as a party are focused on the same objective and because we are separate individuals, our approaches may be different. So, party primary, in my view, should not be acrimonious and destructive. And there are common grounds, common interest and I am very very hopeful that I will get it even as there are quite number of delegates for the exercise,” he stated.
He however stated that there is no ideological difference between APC and PDP.
“My experience is that having served four years as a governor, I don’t see that ideological divide, it doesn’t exist. I think the focus for me is development. Whether you are a conservative or a progressive, it is expected that the outcome should be development.
“And unfortunately, I get a beat confused in the APC that at some point, I was being accused of not sharing the money. When we were campaigning against PDP, we said that the problem there was that they were sharing the money. So for me, it cannot be about ideology”.
But some disgruntled PDP members in Edo Central senatorial district have refused to back down on the aspiration of Barr. Kenneth Imasuangbon popularly known as ‘Rice Man’ to clinch the ticket of the party at the party primaries scheduled for June 23.
Imasuangbon has refused pressure to step down from the race for Governor Godwin Obaseki.
The Edo Central PDP chieftains in a press statement said their support for Imasuangbon was their belief on the need to reward loyalty and commitment.
Speaking on behalf of the PDP chieftains from the five local governments in Edo Central, Elder Solomon Eboigbe, urged Imasuangbon not to accept any offer to step down from the race.