In a sharp response to tantrum thrown at him by some governors over the last party primaries, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, yesterday, said he would not mortgage his conscience to please aggrieved members of the party.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents after a close-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Oshiomhole dismissed reports that some governors were moblising to unseat him.
He said out of the 23 APC governors, only three-Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state, Ibikunle Amosun of Osun state and Rochas Okorocha of Imo state-were not pleased with the outcome of the primaries in their states.
He said no one could begrudge the governors for being unhappy if a particular outcome did not coincide with their expectations, stressing that the APC job is not pensionable and that he would one day leave, hence the need for him to do the job according to the rules and his conscience.
The APC chairman said he neither had the power to appoint nor the power to change anything, particularly when things had been properly done.
He said: “All I have tried is to find some courage to enforce the rules, and I think an overwhelming majority of the governors appreciate that I have done the best because change is not easy.
“We all want change but the process of change can be quite traumatising; because it is not painless. People have been used to a particular way of doing things; to encourage them to do them differently can be a challenge.
“So, here I am as national chairman conducting primaries, the outcome of which some very powerful people did not see their preferred candidates emerging.
“Let me say that if there is a choice between my conscience-what I believe is right, and mortgaging that conscience in order to keep the job, I will have no difficulty resolving it in favour of my conscience.
“And those who know me know that at my age, I cannot learn new tricks; I am absolutely committed to justice; fairness; I am a stickler to enforcement of rules because the source of relevance is derived from rules. I have lived my life fighting for justice and fairness.”
Tinubu backs party chair
In a related development, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has dismissed calls by some members of the party for the party’s national chairman to resign over the conduct of primary elections held nationwide recently.
Addressing State House correspondents after a close-door meeting with President Buhari, the former Lagos state governor said Oshiomhole has not violated the APC constitution or engaged in any anti-party activity that would warrant his resignation or removal from office.
“We all have to respect the party supremacy. You were all here when we had the Congress, we elected the new executives, we had the convention, the NEC was formed and we surrendered to avoid conflict, to avoid domination, to avoid abuses of power, we surrendered our rights, all rights to the National Working Committee headed by Adams Oshiomohole, that the National Working Committee should set up electoral bodies to supervise various state congresses and elections. ‘We signed off for it’.
“So, if it is not in our individual favour, so be it. We gave three options, consensus, where there is no consensus because if you are more than two or three, and you cannot agree to one candidate, you go to the next level.
“The next level is the stakeholders’ delegates (system) and you have to be supervised by the National Working Committee of the party, national election committee of the party. That shows party supremacy or the freest option, the less cumbersome is to open direct primary, line up and count the number, 1, 2, 3. If you win, you win and if you fail, go home,” he said.
Tinubu said an appeal committee was set up by the party to look into grievances arising from the conduct of the primaries, stressing that the committee, which served as internal mechanism for conflict resolution, had performed its duties diligently.
“It was there (appeal committee), you cannot turn round against that, and you cannot turn against all of that. No, party is supreme, party must be respected, abuses will not do it and anger will not do it. It is party politics, somebody will win and somebody will lose, too bad,’’ he said.