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APC CRISIS: Oshiomhole Survives But The Path For Peace Still Far Off

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The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole penultimate week survived attempts to remove him from office. ANDREW ESSIEN in this piece, writes that the leadership crisis has been resolved, but the path to peace may still be a long way off.

For those who are familiar with the recent history of Nigeria, the mere mention of the name Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is somewhat synonymous with unionism, struggle and in some cases, outright fight. It is therefore safe to say that he is not new to environment beclouded with contestations.

From his time at the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to his systematic transformation into politics and becoming the Edo State governor, and currently consolidating his political journey as the APC National Chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole has fought his way through several battles.

The latest however, does not only have an impact on the man, it shook his party to its very foundations, threatening to even overheat the political climate to an unprecedented degree not seen in recent times.

Just as some are quick to point out that his coming as APC chairman has brought with it several electoral successes, others are quick also to counter that the myriad of challenges plaguing the party arising from various interest groups and factions was heightened with his coming due largely to his leadership style which has arguably threatened the APC’s delicate balance and tilted it to a boiling point.

At another level, some school of thought argue that the crisis being experienced are largely inherited from the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party and as such should not be attributed to him.

One of the Chairman’s ‘sins’ has been the introduction of the Direct Primary System. This was the beginning of many more internal wrangling that greatly polarized the party even as pundits had wondered on the APC’s ability to rise from the ashes of the crisis that beset it, galvanize all its ‘formations’ and ‘arsenals’ in time to prosecute future elections.

Arguments for and against this process has continued to rage. In trying to make a case out of their decision, the party leadership argued that the introduction of the direct primaries was not only meant to deepen the internal democracy of the party, eliminate, if possible, the penchant for trading votes for money and the imposition of candidates on the party, but to bring an acceptable and to a large extent, credible candidate for the party even as it goes to the all-important 2019 general elections.

The national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole while explaining the rationale behind the move stressed that the NWC “decided that in order to ensure popular participation, and to deepen democracy in Osun State, in line with the provisions of’’ the APC ‘’constitution which allow for either direct or indirect primary’’, they ‘’have resolved that the governorship election primary in Osun State will be conducted on the basis of direct primary.

‘’What that means is that every card-carrying member of our party will participate in the process of nominating the flag bearer of the party. This for us, is the most democratic way to conduct elections and is in line with what our critical stakeholders from that part of the country want and we are quite happy to oblige.

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“The whole idea of that is that the more we allow our party members to participate in the process of nominating candidates, we will remove the issue of corruption or monetising the processes of nominating aging candidates, in addition to the fact that party members will have a sense of ownership of the outcome of the exercise”, assured the former Edo State Governor.

In layman terms, every registered member of the APC may not just be an “observer” but a participant and delegate who will not just be involved in general elections but also in all primary elections, to choose their prospective elective representatives.

From this point, the national chairman has recently come under intense fire over his handling or otherwise of party issues especially since the primaries that produced party flagbearers at different levels of government. Accusations and counter accusations fill the media space over what did or did not transpire within the period even as party faithful try to make sense of what is the true situation of things.

His deputy, deputy chairman (North) of the APC, Lawal Shuaibu, threw the first stone by calling for the chairman’s resignation. In a letter to the chairman dated May 27, 2019, the top official declared the chairman’s leadership a “failure”.

The former senator from Zamfara State in a five-page open letter, insisted that the party chair was squarely responsible for the party’s loss in his home state among other alleged gross misconduct even as alleged that Comrade Oshiomhole caused the APC to lose seats. He also listed other dwindling fortunes of the party, which he said “is on the path of extinction”, to buttress his claims.

He stated, “It is expected that for every decision credited to the party, it should be the result of a meeting where resolutions are passed by the working committee.

He said: “It is also expected that policies by the party are always alI-inclusive and never one-sided and to cap it up, no unilateral decisions should be made to represent the opinion of the National Working Committee, the National Executive Committee or even the least, the National Caucus. The national chairman cannot assume the powers of the National Working Committee.

“The last congresses in states, unfortunately, represented a complete lack of knowledge, let alone of experience on how due process in political electoral process is adhered to.

Again, current political atmosphere in Edo State is also heating up the party as many political onlookers are interested as to how Comrade Oshiomhole will handle the daily-degenerating relationship with his one-time political associate and current governor of his home state.

Expectations were that the current administration would be a family affair as the first four political officers in the executive arm were seen as Oshiomhole’s political children; the governor was the Chairman, Economic Team of Oshiomhole’s eight years administration; the deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shuaibu, rose to become the Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly before going to represent Etsako Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives where he was called back to become the deputy governor; Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, first-served as Secretary, Oshiomhole Campaign Organisation and then Chief of Staff to Oshiomhole in his first term and Commissioner for Works in his second term; the Chief of Staff to Obaseki, Taiwo Akerele, came to the Oshiomhole government as Senior Special Assistant (SSA) attached to the Economic Team headed by Obaseki.

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The shocking reality is that for the past one year, the crisis has defied solution as the party is sharply divided into supporters of the governor, and those of the National Chairman. Supporters of the governor accuse Oshiomhole of playing a godfather role and wanting to control the governor.

But the crisis must be brought to an end one way or the other to ensure the APC participates in the election.

However, egos have been bruised and it is believed that there would be casualties at the end of the day.

At another level, From the South to the North, from the West across the East, the APC at both national and state levels have been battling with so many issues with political analysts fearing that these crisis, if not timely checked, may significantly weaken the overall fighting power in the party when the time comes.

From faraway Bayelsa to distant Kano, across to Gombe then Kaduna, Kogi, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Yobe and the list goes on, the APC chapters in these states erupted in one form of crisis or the other. The leadership at the center, added to the issues it was dealing with, had to intervene in all these troubled spots, even as it surprisingly went on to win elections conducted in some of these “troubled spots”.

To unravel the many tension spots within the party, in mid-December of 2019, the NWC initially revealed that “After due consultation, the All Progressives Congress (APC)  appointed a high-level ten-member National Reconciliation Committee chaired by the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan.

“This is in line with the November 22, 2019 resolution of the Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

“Other members of the committee are: First (Interim) APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande (Vice Chairman); Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase; Sen. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura; Sen. Kashim Shettima; Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor; Alh. Nasiru Aliko Koki; Sen. Khairat Gwadabe-Abdulrazak; Sen. Binta Garba and Sen. John Enoh (Secretary).

“The Committee is empowered to address grievances of party members and resolve existing conflicts, all with a view to fostering unity and oneness within the party.”

No sooner had the committee members been named, opposition to its constituents also gathered momentum. In fact, Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, in his reaction faulted the development, accused the senate president and the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Wase, of playing a prominent role in the crisis rocking the party in the state.

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Obaseki rejected the former arrangement and vowed not to heed to it until the party substituted those he complained about.

“We believe the committee does not only fall short of the most basic of integrity tests, but is also a disservice to genuine efforts to bring a lasting solution to the crisis rocking different chapters of the APC across the country,” the Edo official said.

“To the specifics, Senator Lawan and Ahmed Wase in the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, presided over the plenary sessions where the motions to take over the Edo State House of Assembly were deliberated. They are also parties in the court case, in which the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt ruled that the National Assembly cannot take over the functions of the Edo State Assembly,” the governor through his spokesperson, Crusoe Osagie, had said.

For reasons best known to it, the party’s leadership decided to make a U-turn, reconstituting the committee with Chief Bisi Akande, who was to serve as the vice chairman of the ‘rejected’ reconciliatory team, appointed as chairman to replace the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan in the reconstituted team.

In a statement signed by the APC spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, on Monday, he noted that “President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have reviewed the membership of the party’s National Reconciliation Committee.”

Interestingly, the deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase still made the list of the reconstituted members despite the protest from Obaseki’s faction.

Other members include the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello; the Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola; Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; Tanko Al-Makura (a senator); Kashim Shettima; Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor; Aliko Koki; Khairat Abdulrazak-Gwadabe; Binta Garba and John Enoh (secretary).

APC spokesman, Lanre Issa-Onilu also said the reconstituted “committee is empowered to address grievances of party members across the country and resolve existing conflicts, all with a view to fostering oneness, strengthening the party for better governance and ensure unity of purpose within the party.”

All these came to a head when a High Court in Abuja, after considering a case brought before it, asked the APC national Chairman to step aside. The battle that followed this judgement has left many party faithful questioning the very essence of the APC even as it has left a gaping wound that will take some time to heal.

Through intense political manuvering, the party had some reprieve when, through another pronouncement, the national Chairman was asked to return to office but not after a lot of casualties had been made in the week of intense disagreement.

The questions on the minds of many are: have the lessons been learnt? Are the various factions ready for true reconciliation? Will they make the difficult sacrifices to ensure long lasting peace?

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PUNCH News Headlines Trending In Politics, Today, 24th September, 2021

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PUNCH News Headlines Trending In Politics, Today, 24th September, 2021
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PUNCH News Headlines Trending In Politics, Today, 24th September, 2021 As Listed By Chrysora Media

Pensioners’ hardship worsens as states owe backlogs of gratuities

Pensioners’ hardship worsens as states owe backlogs of gratuities

Some pensioners during protest


State governments including Kano, Benue, Osun, Delta, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers and Kwara are currently owing pensioners many of whom are dying without receiving their entitlements.
Labour leaders and officials of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, who spoke to The PUNCH in separate interviews on Thursday, said besides failing to remit the contributory pensions, retirees on the defined benefit scheme were being owed.
But state officials attributed the delay in paying pensions and gratuities to the poor economy of the country and assured that the entitlements would be paid as soon as their cash flow improved.
The defined benefit scheme is the pension scheme that was in effect before the adoption and payment of pensions to new retirees under the CPS as stipulated by the Pension Reform Act…..
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Akeredolu canvasses second term for Oyetola

Akeredolu canvasses second term for Oyetola

Oyetola


Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, on Thursday said by giving his Osun State counterpart, Adegboyega Oyetola, another four years in office, the state would gain more from him.
Akeredolu spoke on the sidelines of 30th anniversary of the creation of Osun, where 28 distinguished and prominent citizens of the state were honoured.
The Ondo State helmsman, who said achieving milestone of 30 year was worth celebrating, noted that “it has been a wonderful celebration having identified those who build, the founding fathers of this state and those who have contributed to the development of this state is now been given award, I think the government is doing very well…..
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Adamawa PDP councilors pass no confidence vote on LG chairman
Adamawa PDP councilors pass no confidence vote on LG chairman
Eight out of ten Peoples Democratic Party councilors in Demsa Local Government Council, on Thursday passed a vote of no confidence on the Chairman, Gibson Pwadadi.
The councilors accused Pwadadi of anti-party activities. They specifically accused him of divisiveness and loyalty to Senator Grace Bent, former PDP BOT member who defected to the All Progressive Congress.
Speaking on behalf of party stakeholders from the council, Samson Kumbita told reporters in Yola that the decision was sequel to a series of alleged infractions by the chairman…..
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PUNCH News Headlines Trending In Politics, Today, 24th September, 2021

2023: Jega, Utomi’s group to set conditions for APC, PDP on candidates

2023: Jega, Utomi’s group to set conditions for APC, PDP on candidates

Professors Pat Utomi and Attahiru Jega


The emerging third force in Nigeria’s political space is set to force political parties to adopt certain criteria in selecting candidates for various public offices in the 2023 general elections.
Several prominent Nigerians, including a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, and a political economist, Professor Pat Utomi, have teamed up to sack the ruling All Progressives Congress and the biggest opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, from the political space in the 2023 general elections.
They are to unveil a mega political movement to be known as ‘Rescue Nigeria Project’ on October 1…..
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National Assembly’s approval unnecessary for e-transmission of results – REC

National Assembly’s approval unnecessary for e-transmission of results – REC

Ogun State Residence Electoral Commissioner, Olusegun Agbaje


THE Ogun State Residence Electoral Commissioner, Olusegun Agbaje, has said the commission does not need the backing of the National Assembly and the approval of the National Communication Commission to transmit election results electronically.
Agbaje disagreed with the National Assembly’s position that the Independent National Electoral Commission had no constitutional backing to transmit election results electronically without the approval of NCC.
Agbaje said this on Thursday while speaking at a press briefing as the new REC in the state.
The National Assembly had insisted that the commission must seek the approval of NCC before transmitting election results electronically….
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Age Limits For The Presidential Aspirants Should Be…- Obi

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Age Limits For The Presidential Aspirants Should not Be…- Obi
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Age Limits For The Presidential Aspirants Should Be…- Obi

Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 general election, Mr Peter Obi, has recommended a 60-80 years age range for aspirants vying for the office of president of the country.

The former Anambra State governor also said those vying for the office of governor should not exceed 60 years.

This was contained in a statement signed by his media aide, Valentine Obienyem, in Awka, on Thursday. He issued the statement to clarify what his principal said while campaigning for the Anambra PDP governorship candidate, Valentine Ozigbo.

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The statement read in part,” Obi, known for issue-based campaign in his speech at Aguata, Orumba North and South, and few other places, on Tuesday and Wednesday, pointed out numerous projects he did across the State, from roads through schools to security, and appealed to the people of these areas to vote for Mr Ozigbo for possessing the capacity and youthful age to deliver.

“He also said that whilst the other two contestants have had the opportunity to help their people and did nothing, that Ozigbo would be the clear difference.

“Obi said that the two out of three major contestants were over 60 years, while Mr Val Ozigbo is 50. He therefore concluded that Val possessed the ideal age for governorship at sub-national level, which he put between 40 and 60.”

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“Obi even went on to say that it was the experience garnered at that (governorship) level that would contribute to the success of leadership at the presidential level, which he put at between 60 and 80 years. “

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Buhari’s Sectionalism In Making Appointments Increasing Division – Ortom

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Buhari’s Sectionalism In Making Appointments Increasing Division - Ortom
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Buhari’s Sectionalism In Making Appointments Increasing Division – Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Thursday accused the President, Major General Muhammad Buhari (retd.), of promoting nepotism and acts of sectionalism in all his appointments.

Ortom, who said such act violated the principle of federal character as enshrined in the constitution, added that the lopsided federal appointments and other acts of sectionalism had divided Nigeria more than ever.

The governor stated this in Enugu during a lecture organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Enugu chapel, with the theme, ‘Emerging security situation in the South-East: the place of good governance” held in Enugu.

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He said, “The lopsided federal appointments, nepotism and other acts of sectionalism, particularly from 2015 to date, have divided Nigeria now more than at any other time in the country’s history.

“The Federal Character Principle as enshrined in the constitution has been abused and abandoned by the present administration. This is where leadership has failed Nigerians and good governance has also been relegated to the back seat.

Buhari’s Sectionalism In Making Appointments Increasing Division – Ortom

“Eastern Nigeria, like other parts of the country, deserves equal attention with the provision of critical infrastructure and development projects, as well as allocation of resources and key appointments at the federal level.”

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Ortom, who said he would never be cowed, maintained that the All Progressives Congress government had failed in every area.

He said the Federal Government was busy fighting perceived opposition while at the same time looking the other way amid mindless killing and maiming of Nigerians by herdsmen.

“The present administration at the centre has adopted the approach of intimidation of those who dare to voice out their frustrations and concerns over growing insecurity and marginalisation.

“But I, Samuel Ortom, will never keep quiet as long as injustice and marginalisation prevail in the affairs of our country,” he added.

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