Two days after President Muhammadu Buhari was declared the winner of Nigeria’s presidential election, the cracks within his party have again come to the fore.
Buhari is considered a rallying point for diverse interests within the APC. All interests within the party worked together for his victory.
However, some officials of the party, including two of its governors had declared they would support candidates of other parties for governorship and state assembly elections in their states.
On Friday afternoon, the APC announced the suspension of the two governors, Rochas Okorocha of Imo and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun.
Two others suspended were the Niger Delta minister, Usani Usani, and the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu.
The NWC also recommended the expulsion of the governors and the presidential appointees from the ruling party in a recommendation sent to APC national executive committee, the party’s highest decision-making organ, for ratification.
All four suspended officials are known allies of Mr Buhari who played controversial roles during the presidential campaign rally in Ogun and Imo. In both states, Mr Buhari made statements that suggested he was asking party supporters to vote for the governorship and state assembly candidates of their choice irrespective of the party.
Messrs Amosun and Okorocha have had running battles with the party leadership after their preferred candidates for the upcoming governorship and state assembly elections were rejected by the APC.
Both governors, who won senatorial seats on the APC platform last Saturday, are now backing their preferred candidates who defected to other parties.
Reacting to his suspension, Mr Okorocha said the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, has ‘thrown caution to the wind’ in his politicking.
He said the chairman is working to destroy the party in the South-east zone.
Mr Okorocha made his position known in a statement sent to Punch newspaper.
“Adams Oshiomhole was determined right from the outset to destroy APC in the South-East and unknown to party chieftains from the zone who had genuinely supported his chairmanship,” he said.
The Imo governor said Mr Oshiomhole, with the suspension, was playing politics of 2019 and 2023.
“He is playing the politics of 2023 in 2019 and in playing it, he has thrown caution to the wind. In all the South-East states there are crises and all arising from the fraudulent manner he conducted the primaries.”
Mr Okorocha did not elaborate on what he meant by “politics of 2023 in 2019,” but there has been intense tussle within the APC that after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in 2023, the presidency should move to the South. Messrs Okorocha and Okechukwu are at the forefront of it moving to the South-east while major politicians from the South-West including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and ex-Lagos governor Bola Tinubu want the presidency to go to the South West. Mr Okorocha, should he remain in the APC till then, would be a contender for the presidency from the South-east.
In his statement, Mr Okorocha narrated how he played a major role in the formation of the APC.
He lashed at Mr Oshiomhole for backing a governorship candidate with ‘five corruption charges’ and ‘travel ban. He was referring to Hope Uzodinma, a senator who is the APC candidate in Imo in the March 9 gubernatorial election.
“In 2015, Governor Okorocha had joined the merger that gave birth to APC at the risk of his second tenure and was called all sorts of unprintable names. Yet, he won the governorship election, delivered 24 out of the 27 members of the House of Assembly for APC, two House of Representatives members and one Senator.
“In 2019, Oshiomhole felt that such a man should be treated with disdain. He handed over the governorship ticket of the party to Hope Uzodinma who has never resigned his membership of the PDP on the floor of the Senate like others did and giving all kinds of flimsy excuses.
“If Oshiomhole had meant well for APC and Imo people in particular, would he have given the ticket of the party to a man facing five corruption charges and having travel ban slammed on him, to be the party’s candidate.”
Mr Okorocha boasted of his exploits in terms of winning elections for his party in the last polls, accusing Mr Oshiomole of cutting short the celebration mood.
“In the February 23, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly election, Governor Okorocha won in ten, out of the twelve local governments in Orlu zone to emerge winner for Imo West Senatorial District. He also delivered four House of Representatives candidates on the platforms of APC and AA respectively, with one Senate seat and two House of Representatives seats outstanding.
”When the APC members across the nation are still celebrating the success of the party in the Presidential and National Assembly elections, Oshiomhole in his wisdom or lack of it, felt that the best action in the circumstance was to suspend two governors who did well in the election, even when he played safe in 2015 and 2019 in Edo State without any known pressure.”
“Again, Oshiomhole coming up with the purported expulsion this time was only acting out of the fear that God in his infinite Mercy could give Governor Okorocha a role to play in the Senate, in the overall interest of the nation.”
“The truth is that Oshiomhole is only labouring in vain to play his own part of the deal that warranted his giving out the tickets of the party to non-deserving elements like in the case of Imo.”
“Finally, APC especially in the South-East and in Imo, in particular, will outlive Oshiomhole. Men like him hardly sleep with their two eyes closed. They always sleep with their eyes open because they have murdered sleep with their actions and inactions. And unfortunately for him, the purported expulsion can’t stand because the law has taken care of it even long before now.”
Okechukwu not briefed
In his reaction, the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, said he was yet to be notified of his suspension from the APC.
“One has not gotten a letter of suspension from my great party,” he said.
Mr Okechukwu said contrary to the party’s belief that his actions affected the performance of the party in the just concluded election, he worked for the party.
“One had taken time and resources to campaign vigorously for my great party and even set up the Zikist-Buharist-Movement (ZBM), an offshoot of Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) of which am a foundation member.
“It is on record that with ZBM we toured the nooks and crannies of Enugu and indeed the South East, canvassing for votes for our great party.
“Am also instrumental to the most consistent advert placed in several media in the South East, on behalf of our great party” he said.
He, therefore, said they should not be blamed for the performance of the party in the South East.
“Accordingly, one should not be blamed for the triumph of bigotry in Enugu State and South East in general.
“Our chairman should not blame me for hoisting some unpopular National Assembly candidates for the APC in our zone.
“For I am at a loss how one contributed to the failure of his darling candidate, Mrs Juliet Ibekaku Nwagu in Egede, her home town and Udi local government her primary local council in the five that make up the senatorial district.”
He also believes the suspension may not be unconnected with those who “want to sideline their enemies in this season of contestation.”
Gov Obaseki Threatens To Expel Oshiomhole From APC
The faceoff between Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki and the APC National chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, has taken a new twist with the state governor threatening to expel Oshiomhole from the party if he continues his “anti-party” activities.
Obaseki’s faction of the APC in December 2019, suspended Oshiomhole from its party.
Both men have been at loggerheads over who should control the affairs of the party in the state.
Obaseki handed down the threat when he spoke at a meeting of the 18 APC local government chairmen in the state.
Reacting to the political rally Oshiomhole organised last weekend in Auchi, Etsako West local government area where thousands of people from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defected to the APC, the governor said former governor would not have tolerated a fraction of the things he has put him through since he became governor.
He maintained that should Oshiomhole come to the state again to have a ”power tussle” with him, he would show him that he is the governor and controls the affairs of the state.
“All this nonsense they are doing, if anybody in the name of our party tries to do anything contrary to what we have agreed as a party, we will deal with that person ruthlessly no matter who he is.
“If you are elected a chairman, your attitude should show if you believe in the party. Party supremacy means the leadership of the party must respect the membership. It is the members that make the party supreme because the members subscribed to a constitution which governs the conduct of the party. One man cannot be the party.
“We are warning the suspended National Chairman. If he continues his activities in Edo State, I will show him that I am the Governor of Edo State. While he was Governor, he will not tolerate a fraction of the misdemeanor and misbehaviour he is undertaking today.
“I have declared that if Oshiomhole comes here to Edo to say he wants to disrupt the activities of the state and the party we will deal with him the way we know how best to do it. Comrade Oshiomhole stands suspended from the party. In due course, we will expel him if he does not behave. The party does not belong to him, it belongs to all of us.” Obaseki said
Oshiomhole is yet to react to Obaseki’s threat.
PDP Threatens To Boycott 2023 Polls
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has threatened to boycott the 2023 general elections if electoral reform are not carried out.
National Chairman, Uche Secondus, stated this yesterday, when he received a team from the International Republican Institute (IRI), who visited him at the PDP headquarters, in Abuja.
He said the decision to shun the polls was borne out of the experience of the opposition party in recent elections, which he say had not been pleasant.
He claimed the government, security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were working together to deny the people the right to choose their leaders.
Secondus noted that the country needed a new electoral law that would legalise electronic voting as well as insulate the military and other security agencies from the electoral process. He said anything short of that would not be unacceptable.
“One of the areas we are looking forward to in our country is our electoral processes and laws. We believe they are antiquated, they need amendment. We need to improve on our voting patterns and the reporting of results from voting point and the transmission processes.
“They are all embodied in the electoral processes and amendment; without that, it will be difficult for us to think about contesting any election because previous experiences have been terrible and horrifying. The people in government with INEC and security agencies collaborate to deny the people their right. As we speak, both the legislature and judiciary have been caged and they are taking directive from the villa.
“So, these are areas that we need the collaboration of IRI and other international agencies. If people do not have the right to vote, what is the essence of election? People must come out of their houses to register and vote. They must have the right to go out there to vote and then be safe.”
He said the party has resolved to set up a committee to review the conduct of the 2023 polls, adding that the report will, to a great extent, determine if it would participate in future polls in the country.
“If there is no need, we will inform the leaders of our party, show them the facts and figures, people who have been killed, people who went to vote, if you can not be guaranteed that you can go and vote and come back safely, what will be the need in 2023 to come and vote?”
Speaking during the visit, the Resident Program Director, IRI, Angela Wambugu, said electoral reform was much needed in the country.*
BREAKING: PDP Wins Imo Supplementary Election
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared Jerry Alagbaoso of the Peoples Democratic Party the winner of the supplementary election held on Saturday in Orlu/Orsu/ Oru East Federal Constituency in Imo State.
The Returning Officer of the election, Emma Anakwuba, announced the results and returned the PDP candidate under tight security at INEC’s office in Owerri on Tuesday.
This declaration is coming three days after political thugs invaded INEC’s collation centre in collation, tore the election results, accusing the electoral umpire of compromising the exercise.
INEC had already collated results of 14 out of 18 polling units before the hoodlums struck.
The results of the remaining four polling units were collated at the INEC’s headquarters in Owerri on Tuesday and thereafter a winner was announced.
The returning officer said that the PDP candidate polled 22,475 votes to emerge the winner.
According to Anakwuba, the All Progressives Congress candidate, Eddy Iheanacho got 20, 814 votes while All Progressives Grand Alliance got 5,099 votes.
He said, “That Jerry Alagbaoso of the PDP having scored the highest number of votes and satisfied the requirements of the law is returned elected.”
The winner, who was first elected into the house of representatives 2011 was reelected in 2015, was declared winner again in 2019.
An appeal court in Owerri partially canceled his victory in 2019 and ordered a supplementary election in 18 polling units in the federal constituency.