Barely four months after assuming office as the national chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is enmeshed in a power play that threatens to consume him.
The plot by some influential persons within the party who are dissatisfied with his style of leadership to remove him as national chairman is gathering steam by the day.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the grouse of these party big wigs who are angling for his removal is that he introduced direct system of primary election for the selection of candidates that are to fly the party's flag at different levels in the forthcoming general election.
The Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) had proposed the option of direct primaries to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, which adopted and ratified it.
But when the option of direct primaries came into effect and was used in the just concluded primaries of the party, powerful forces within the party on sensing that they may lose out hatched the plan to see Oshiomhole removed from office.
A source at the party's national headquarters told our correspondent that the most affected party members were some governors who had plans to transit from Government House to the National Assembly and at the same time, appoint successors who may not have electoral value for the party.
This, according to the source, did not sit well with Oshiomhole whose mantra is to hand the party over to the majority and give everyone a sense of belonging.
The source who did not want his name in print said, "On coming to the office, the comrade chairman was interested in changing the party from the old order where only select individuals determined who gets where and has what to democratic system where everyone has a say in the affairs of the party.
"For instance, some very powerful persons in the party are leaving with their supporters. The national chairman is of the opinion that if you expand the base and everyone knows he has a stake in the party, 2019 will be an easy work.
"But if we field someone that has little or no electoral value, we will not only lose, even our supporter base will be greatly affected and ultimately, it will affect our chances in the presidential elections".
APC In Safe Hands, ex-Edo Gov Declares
Confirming the plot to remove him, Oshiomhole yesterday raised the alarm over alleged clandestine move by some unnamed party stalwarts to frustrate his plans to reposition the APC with the ultimate aim of passing a vote of no confidence on him.
The national chairman assured however that the party under him is in safe hands as it marches on sure footing to victory in the 2019 general election, adding that this is the overarching mission of the national working committee, NWC, of the party under his leadership.
In a statement by his chief press secretary, Simon Ebebgulem, the APC chairman described as unfair the suggestion in some quarters that the APC cannot win with him.
He was reacting to the statement credited to one of the presidential aspirants on the platform of the party, Alhaji Mumakai Unagha.
Ebebgulem said, "The totality of Unagha's claims without necessarily addressing them one after the other tallies with cooked-up narratives being sponsored by some influential stakeholders in their respective states that Comrade Oshiomhole is responsible for all the problems in the APC at the moment.
"These influential stakeholders, according to grapevine, have begun to mobilise to pass a no-confidence vote in the leadership of Oshiomhole, having failed to impose their preferred candidates on the party in the nomination process".
The statement continued: "Comrade Oshiomhole did not become national chairman of the governing party to bring it down a notch from the pedestal of its 2015 electoral victory let alone to preside over its liquidation.
"Rather, his single-minded goal, from the outset of his declaration of interest in the position, was to deploy his capacity in helping to strengthen and reposition the party as a truly supreme and disciplined political entity.
"Although, it might appear fortuitous to some persons that he became national chairman at the threshold of the 2019 general election; the truth is that there is no accident in predestination".
The media aide urged party members to appreciate the fact that it pleased God to place Oshiomhole in the saddle of APC leadership at this time for a purpose, just as he noted that the purpose has begun to manifest, including instilling discipline, ensuring party supremacy, promoting due process, dealing with impunity and executive arrogance wherever they manifest to undermine intra-party electoral processes in the states.
He stated: "From the outset, we never expected that those who cherished and supported the status quo, which Comrade Oshiomhole supplanted, would cave in easily under the magnitude of the current political revival that he spearheads.
"Indeed, while the progressives are enamored of change, the conservatives find it difficult to embrace it. That is the current reality in the deliberate effort to rebrand the APC.
"Again, we were not, in the least, deluded that the process of rebranding or rewriting the narrative of the four-year old party would be easy. What we are witnessing in the APC today is Comrade Oshiomhole's adroit management of the strains and pains that accompany the birth of a resuscitated governing party.
"The leadership provided in the recently-held primary elections and the large-scale integrity of the processes are developments that should hence serve as exemplars in the administration of governing parties.
"Indeed, the message therein is very clear that the party, and not pseudo political empires in the states, has the power to superintend the primary elections for the nomination of the party's candidates in the general election.
"While the party will not surrender its functions, which are constitutionally circumscribed, to any other entities, it will always be ready to moderate the divergent tendencies and mediate the disparate political camps in the interest of party cohesion.
"This is one of the hardnosed truths that the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC preaches and practises with an apostolic zeal to the chagrin of some influential stakeholders in the states.
"Comrade Oshiomhole envisions an APC that is capacitated to pragmatically build a corpus of leadership and membership that do not only submit to the high ideal of party supremacy but also the credo of party discipline.
"These-party supremacy and discipline- are two fundamentals that had been eroded even before the emergence of the Oshiomhole leadership. It is sad that while the national chairman is working round the clock, some stakeholders have thrown selfish political agendas into the mix to threaten the building of institutional capacity for the APC.
"Rather than resort to needless perfidy at the threshold of a general election, we call on them to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship, bolstered by the fact that the Oshiomhole leadership is propelled more by its interest in propriety in which victory for the party could be grounded. The crime committed by Comrade Oshiomhole's leadership is its disdain for impunity and circumvention of due process perpetrated in some of the states at the pleasure of some influential stakeholders".
Ondo Chapter Rejects Senator Omogunwa's Candidature
Meanwhile, members of APC in Ondo South senatorial district have rejected the candidature of Senator Yele Omogunwa as the flag bearer of the party in 2019 general election.
The party described the automatic ticket given to Omogunwa by the national leadership of the party as highly unacceptable, adding that his choice may sway prospective voters away from the party in the 2019 elections.
In a letter written by the party leaders in the senatorial district to the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the party described Omogunwa who is the current Senator representing the district as a mole in the party.
They also described Omogunwa as a "spy of Mimiko's ZLP that is clandestinely working for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar."
The letter was signed by Chief Alex Akina (Ese-Odo local government area), Comrade Imisi Oripenaye (local government area), Dr. Peter Akintokun (Okitipupa local government area) Chief Adegoke Oyeto (Irele local government area), Alhaji Abdulateef Omosehin (Odigbo) and Barrister Akinfolarin Akindolie (Ileoluji Okeigbo local government area).
They stated: "We humbly draw your Excellency's attention to the reported move to return Senator Yele Omogunwa as candidate of the APC in Ondo South Senatorial District of Ondo State. In unequivocal terms, Senator Omogunwa is more of a liability than an asset to our great party. A quick run through the following will expose Senator Omogunwa as an opportunist whose inconsistency is legendary.
"During the days of the late Sani Abacha, Omogunwa was Council Chairman under a Zero Party arrangement. From 1999-2002, he was Commissioner for Education under the late Governor Adefarati of the then Alliance for Democracy but betrayed him in connivance with Dr Rahaman Olusegun Mimiko who later became governor as both ditched the governor for PDP.
"From PDP, he again defected to the Labour Party alongside Mimiko. Still with Mimiko, Omogunwa dumped LP and returned to PDP just a few months to the 2015 Presidential election, which ushered in President Muhammadu Buhari.
"He was thereafter imposed by Mimiko as Senatorial candidate against the wish of the people and rigged in as Senator. We can go on and on to highlight his vices as an incontrovertible opportunist. But we make bold to submit that Senator Omogunwa's heart is not in APC.
"We are aware and wish to inform you that Senator Omogunwa is having nocturnal meetings with Mimiko in respect of the Atiku Project. Our worry and question is this: Is it not curious that Senator Omogunwa has always joined a winning party? Can anyone point out a particular period he remained a member of his party that brought him up to the end even in the face of being in the opposition?
"The facts posited herein are verifiable through any discrete means the NWC may wish to adopt. We are heading for a doom as a party if Omogunwa is considered as Senatorial candidate for our district."