There are conflicting signs over effort at resolving the dispute within the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC), even as President Muhammadu Buhari Monday summoned the governors elected on the party’s platform to a meeting on possible resolution of the feud.
While the governors said they had the president’s words on his readiness to bring the warring parties together, a claimant to the national chairmanship seat of the party and deputy national secretary, Mr. Victor Giadom, appeared to be saying the face-off is beyond Buhari’s intervention.
He insisted only the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) can resolve the imbroglio.
His position came as the current acting national chairman of the party swore in Mr Worgu Boms as the new deputy national secretary, thus displacing Giadom.
And further to this, some ‘Concerned APC members’ Monday stormed the national secretariat and called for the sack of the present crop of National Working Committee (NWC) members whom they accused of visiting misfortunes on the party.
Notwithstanding the above developments, Giadom kicked as he described his suspension as laughable, stressing that the level of impunity and rascality in APC must stop.
He said: “I have always insisted at the beginning of this crisis that the only way to resolve this issue is to surrender this party to a higher organ which is the best.
“And I am still insisting that the only way to get ourselves out of this mess is to convoke a NEC meeting. That is the only route out. I have the feeling that there is no other route to have peace and justice in this party except through a NEC meeting that has been my decision.
“There has to be a NEC meeting. NEC is the higher organ above the NWC; I do not see why they are afraid. You have to surrender this organ so that the right thing would be done and every other decision that has been taken by the leadership would be ratified by NEC. So if we do not have NEC meeting, it would be difficult to resolve this crisis.”
On his replacement, Giadom said: “You cannot smuggle somebody into the National Working Committee without an election. Anybody who wants to be a member of the National Working Committee should present himself for a democratically conducted election.”
Meanwhile, spokesman for the protesting APC group, Okpokwu Ogenyi said: “The aims and objectives of the party are being bastardised, the legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari is being destroyed, his hard-earned reputation is being dragged by the incessant activities of the National Working Committee of our party.
“This present National Working Committee has caused us to lose seven (7) states to the opposition. APC had twenty four (24) governors before the present National Working Committee. Today, we have eighteen (18) governors. Just yesterday, the Deputy Governor of Ondo state has just left us and joined the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Are we making progress or going backward?
“Today, we have four individuals who are members of the National Working Committee parading themselves as Acting National Chairmen of our Party. What a dance of shame! We are being ridiculed on daily basis. The same working committee caused the party not to feature candidates in Zamfara and Rivers states in the 2019 general elections.”
While calling on NEC, the party’s highest decision making body to immediately call for a meeting, Ogenyi also demanded that the NWC should be dissolved.
“We also call on President Muhammadu Buhari on whose integrity the party is still surviving, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of our great party, the President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajablamila to support the dissolution of the present National Working Committee if we must move on as a party.
“We wish to unequivocally state that any attempt to further keep this National Working Committee as the Working Committee of the party is to send the APC into its early grave. We shall not continue to fold our arms and allow our collective efforts being ruined,” the protesters said.
Boms in Giadom out
Meanwhile, a factional National Chairman of the party, Mr. Hilliard Eta, has sworn in Mr. Boms as Giadom’s replacement for the position of deputy national secretary of the party.
Administering the oath of office on Boms, Eta said he would carry out all functions outlined for the office by the APC constitution.
This came to fore as Giadom wrote the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to recognise the Edo governorship primaries held Monday.
Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu was declared winner after defeating two other contestants.
Ize-Iyamu, who enjoys the support of the embattled national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, defeated two other aspirants – Pius Odubu and Osaze Obazee – to win the primary.
The direct primary was reportedly conducted in the 18 local governments of the state.
In the result announced by Chairman of the Electoral Committee and Imo state Governor Hope Uzodinma, Ize-Iyamu scored 27,833 votes while Mr. Odubu, a former deputy governor of the state, came second with 3,776, with Obazee garnering over 2,000 votes.
‘Primaries not credible’
However, Giadom in his letter to INEC stated that he had not authorised and constituted any committee to organise the primaries.
In the letter written June 18 and copied to security enforcement agencies, Giadom said: “Reports reaching me is that some persons have perfected to conduct direct gubernatorial primaries for our great party in Edo state next week under the purported chairmanship of His Excellency, Governor Hope Uzodinma on Monday June 22, 2020.
“Kindly note that as Acting National Chairman of our party, l did not authorise such a committee, neither have l inaugurated one. The earlier announced date for the primaries that is June 22, 2020 has been postponed. You are therefore advised not to give any support to any such committee or to monitor any such primaries. A new date for the primaries would be communicated to you soonest. We regret the inconvenience this might cause your commission.
“A copy of this letter is being sent to the relevant law enforcement agencies, the Chairman of Edo state APC, Mr. Anslem Ojezua for their information and necessary actions.”
‘Governors not divided’
In a related development, the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) has denied media report suggesting division among the APC governors over the crisis.
In a statement by the PGF Director General Salihu Lukman the governors described the report as false.
He said: “This is false as there is nothing like the kind of sensational division being alluded to among Progressive Governors.
“Progressive Governors are all individually and collectively committed to the development of the party. In the context of the current challenges facing the party leadership, Progressive Governors are all working for the quick resolutions of the crisis.
“Although, approaches and perspectives of each progressive governor may vary, they have been able to debate and reach some consensus on the problems affecting the party as contained in the resolutions of the emergency teleconference meeting of Saturday, June 13, 2020.
“Part of the resolutions, which was made public include collectively working to ensure strengthening fair and democratic internal party mechanism for the selection of party candidates in all elections.”
Lukman further said “strengthening fair and democratic internal party mechanism means that the party will recognise and respect individual position of every leader and member.
“Debates and contestation of positions will be encouraged in the party. Anyone who seeks to stifle internal debate within the party is only interested in destroying the vital progressive credential, which the party must have to be able to live up to its commitment of being a social democratic.
“Somehow, vested interests who may have been furtively peddling false allegations against some Progressive Governors for the perspectives they hold about the crisis facing the party are doing everything possible to impose their fantasies. All other perspective outside those fantasies are being criminalised and every attempt is being made to break the ranks of Progressive Governors. This is unfortunate.”
But President Buhari has assured governors elected on the APC platform that the crisis would soon be over.
Chairman PGF and Kebbi state Governor Atiku Bagudu disclosed this Monday after a meeting with the president in Abuja.
Bagudu, who briefed State House correspondents in company of Governors Simon Lalong of Plateau state and Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa state, said the governors stressed the need for the party to convene an emergency NEC meeting to discuss all pending issues and resolve the crisis.
“Today, Monday, 22nd of June, 2020, my brothers-the Governor of Plateau state, Rt. Hon Simon Lalong and my brother the Governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and myself-visited Mr. President, President Muhammadu Buhari
“The reason for our visit is to discuss with him as our party leader, as the leader that millions of Nigerians trust, to discuss party issues and the position of the Progressive Governors to support all steps to unify and bring about peaceful resolution in our party, the All Progressives Congress and Mr. President listened attentively and discussed with us as a father, as a party leader and he gave us all the assurance we needed to know that resolution of contentious issues will soon be arrived at,” he said.
Asked to react to the replacement of Giadom as the party’s deputy national secretary, Bagudu said: “I think our party, the All Progressives Congress is a party that believes in dialogue and contentious issues arise when you are dialoguing, and we will recall that because of the sanctity which President Buhari attaches to constitutionalism, we held our national convention literally at the same time we are holding primaries because, Mr. President has always said that we told Nigerians that our party is going to be a party of due process and we will do that no matter the challenge of the moment.
“So, young people expressing their views by demonstrating, members of the party challenging court processes, shows that the people are free to express their views.
“And dissent is not to be suppressed. What is important is that all will be taken on board in arriving at a conclusion that will be to the satisfaction of most party members and indeed Nigerians.”
On why the party couldn’t summon NEC, the forum said: “At all times, Mr. President has shown that he is a democrat, he is not running the party. Yes, he is the party leader, he allows party organs to do and decide what should be done. He is very hesitant to use his standing even as party leader, talk less of his authority as Mr. President of the country to direct things, but at all times, he has been alive to the issue and like I said earlier.
“I believe with the encouragement he gave us this morning, with the level of details he has about all what is happening and the number of people he has listened to and heard. I believe that whatever needs to be done including the possibility of calling any of the organs of the party that is necessary for the resolution of lingering issues will be done immediately.
“Let me again say that the party is never a perfect assembly. There will always be issues and that is why we talk, but yes certainly, organs of the party need to meet and Mr. President without directing, is always supporting the necessity of party organs meeting appropriately.”