• Gang up against Tinubu, S’West chapter worsens
• Crack in NWC, NEC
• How Buhari’s men saved Oyegun
• Oshiomhole, Tambuwal meet APC senators, Reps
Things have fallen apart in the All progressives Congress as the cold war between President Muhammadu Buhari and the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, deepened shortly after its National Executive Committee meeting on Friday.
Sunday Telegraph gathered that Buhari, few hours to the NEC meeting, rebuffed the APC national leader’s request for the parley to endorse the letter written by the party leadership to Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara on the remaining leadership positions in the National Assembly.
“The President has used and dumped our leader; the fact that the President ignored all attempts by the leader to have the letter endorsed is a slap on all of us from the South-West,” a serving senator from one of the South-West states told our correspondent shortly after the meeting on Friday. Sunday Telegraph had sought to find out from the senator, the reason for Tinubu’s absence from the meeting. “It is clear the President has got what he wanted all along and it does appear the real personality behind him is coming out gradually.
If not, he would not have encouraged this revolt by his silence and indifference while we are facing challenges as a party. “You don’t expect the man (Tinubu) to come and sit at a place where some people have seen an opportunity to rubbish him while the party and its products look the other way. The worst is the vote of confidence NEC passed on the national chairman, a man who bungled our chances to plant party supremacy and party discipline,” he said. The situation has led to a crack in the NEC and National Working Committee, as its members are now on either with the President or Tinubu.
A pro-Buhari member of the APC National Working Committee who spoke on condition of anonymity said the vote of confidence passed on the party’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun would rather strengthen the party than weaken it. “What has the vote of confidence got to do with what we are talking about? If some persons wanted the ouster of the national chairman out of their selfish reasons and the larger house said no and passed a vote of confidence, what is wrong in that? “Let me tell you, one man cannot decide the entire fate of the APC; we all toiled for the party; yes some joined after it had been formed but can we say we would have gone far without those same persons that some people want to obliterate from the party?
The simple answer is No. They all contributed their quota. “Can we also say the South-East and South-South should be ignored just because of the circumstances of the March 28 presidential election? The answer is also No, and this is what we are trying to avoid, that is, taking all things to one zone to the exclusion of others. “So if anyone says someone has been used and dumped, don’t believe such; may be some wanted to say stand up, sit down, run now, stop, sleep and wake to the President and he has diplomatically turned it down.
“As far as some of us are concerned, one man cannot dictate to us who takes what in the party, who gets nominated as presidential candi-date and vice presidential candidate respectively and still insist on controlling the parliament. It can’t be encouraged to happen; this is national politics.”
A source said that at the APC’s NEC meeting, the first since the party’s victory in the March 28 presidential poll,the President’s loyalists viewed attempts to remove Oyegun as an indirect move to tarnish Buhari’s image. They also viewed it as a way of weakening the party and resolved to save him, so that the party would not disintegrate.
Thus, party leaders endorsed a vote of confidence on his leadership of the party. When contacted, Oyegun urged the media to concentrate on the positive things the current government can bring to bear on Nigerians. “Why do you media people want to know all these things that are mere insinuations? Why not devote your time and energy to what the APC-led government can do for Nigerians? Please, we have no problem at all.
As you can see, we are already on the verge of resolving everything, so bring anything other positive stories that will help the party and the government it has put in place,” Oyegun said. For his part, APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said all issues regarding the crisis are being handled by the governors elected on the party’s platform.
“All I can say is that the governors elected on our party’s platform have the mandate of the leadership of the party to resolve all issues relating to the crisis; let us not personalise anything please. Let us allow the governors to look into all issues and come out with resolutions that will be acceptable to all,” he said. But Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said his boss needed no other evidence than what he said at the meeting that the party remainesd supreme.
“The President has made it clear that as one who believes in the supremacy of the party. He stands with the APC leadership on their positions. What more does he have to prove?” Sunday Telegraph learnt that Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; and his Edo State counterpart, Adams Oshiomhole were mandated to meet with the party’s senators and members of the House of Representatives yesterday and submit their report last night.
Curiously, conspicuously absent were Tinubu and the immediate past National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande. Both men are strong backers of Senator Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila who both lost out in the National Assembly leadership contests. For Tinubu, no reason was given for his absence at Friday’s meeting.
But while one account had it that some unnamed former governors of the party had threatened to storm the meeting if the former Lagos governor was allowed in, another hinted that Tinubu may have stayed away in protest after failing to convince Buhari to enforce the party’s letter to both Saraki and Dogara. The contention of the two that the remaining National Assembly principal offices be shared to their associates earlier favoured by the party leadership in the leadership contest is at the centre of the crisis.
Senator Saraki had refused to read a letter from the national chairman pronouncing the favoured party men for the four principal offices. A similar rebuff from Speaker Dogara penultimate Thursday led to a free for all in the House.
New Telegraph reports
• Gang up against Tinubu, S’West chapter worsens