Dozens of protesters stormed the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday, expressing support for President Muhammadu Buhari and the party's National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole. The action came as an alleged plot by some APC governors to remove Oshiomhole gathered steam.
The protesters, under the aegis of the Federation of Buhari Support Group (FBSG) vowed to work for the president's re-election in next year's general election, in spite of alleged antics by APC's adversaries.They carried placards with the inscriptions: "Nigeria Sai Buhari!" "Oshiomhole Remains Our Chairman Whether They Like It Or Not!" and "On Buhari, Oshiomhole We Stand!"
The Coordinator of the group, Ibrahim Sikiru, alleged that some APC governors, led by a governor from the southwest, were working underground to undermine the chances of the party in 2019. "Instead of the governor to focus on projects that will better the lot of his people, he is busy running from north to south, collecting the signatures of governors and party chairmen to pass a vote of no confidence in Oshiomhole," said Sikiru.
The Guardian learnt that the governors are insisting Oshiomhole calls a national executive council meeting, a decision he is reportedly avoiding. The governors believe Buhari stands a slim chance of winning the election as long as Oshiomhole steers the ship. While the presidency might have read the handwriting on the wall, it is reportedly at a loss on its next course of action.
Competent sources said Rochas Okorocha, Imo State governor and chairman of the Progressive Governors' Forum, is also seeking Oshiomhole's exit. Though the governor was among those who backed the national chairman's emergence, he is said to be disappointed over a perceived lack of support by Oshiomhole on the governorship ambition of his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu.
Also, a source close to Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said the governor is angry that Oshiomhole reneged on an agreement that indirect primaries would be used in the state. According to the source, the move robbed the governor of the opportunity to call the shots on which candidates returned to the Senate or House of Representatives.
But Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun yesterday insisted his relationship with Buhari remains strong and unimpeachable, in spite of desperation by political opponents to orchestrate disaffection through mendacious propaganda.
In a press statement he personally signed, Amosun vehemently denied the allegations against Buhari attributed to his (Amosun) person, describing them as lies from the pit of hell. "The ultimate aim of the purveyors of these unconscionable falsehoods is to drive a wedge between me and the president and tarnish my hard-earned reputation. This hatchet job will not work as Mr. President is discerning enough to know the sources of the pack of concocted lies," he said.
The governor noted: "The relationship between President Buhari and myself transcends partisan politics. Senator Amosun holds President Buhari in the highest esteem and nothing will change that. "The target of this grand campaign of calumny is actually our dear President Muhammadu Buhari. For the avoidance of doubt, let me state categorically that the people trying to cause disaffection between those of us loyal and committed to Mr. President and the success of APC are plotting to strip Mr. President bare, so that their grand design to achieve unfettered domination of the party would be achieved."
The party was hit by more defections yesterday as many members jumped ship in Delta State. Receiving the defectors at Kwale Township Stadium, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa instructed that they should be "wholeheartedly accommodated in all party structure."The defectors included former APC deputy governorship candidate in the 2015 general elections, Chief Vander Abanum, Hon. Mercy Almona-Isei, Hon. Gabriel Mordi and Victor Nsolor.
"We will continue to drain APC of its key membership before elections. We can't be deceiving ourselves, because we know Delta State better. APC does not have the love of the state at heart. These are people who even deceive themselves, as their primaries have shown. That is not our pattern. When we headed to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, they were expecting the party to go bunkers, because of the heavy weights in the race. But we came up with transparent primaries at our convention, which the world has continued to acknowledge as one of the best in recent times," Okowa said.
Also, the crisis rocking the Ebonyi State chapter took a dramatic turn as a chieftain resigned and picked the governorship ticket of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Chibueze-Ago, a former commissioner of education under the Martin Elechi administration announced his exit at a rally in Ngbo, Ohaukwu Local Government Area, describing the APC as dead in the state.Recall that Chibueze-Ago contested and lost the primary election for Ebonyi/Ohaukwu federal constituency on the platform of the APC.
He said: "Truly, my resignation from my former party, the APC is because the party is bedeviled with lack of internal democracy, injustice and fraught with irregularities, calumny and political atrocities. Things fell apart and those of us whose vision for a better Ebonyi cannot be shattered, left the party, not for personal gains but for the overriding interest of our dear state."