Oshiomholes Exit: The Untold Story

Oshiomholes Exit: The Untold Story
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By Raji Rahman

Last weeks dissolution of the All Progressives Congress, APC, National Working Committee, NWC, brought to an end Adams Oshiomholes turbulent reign as National Chairman, however, unknowingly to many was the behind the scene events leading to the appointment of an interim leadership.

APC National Executive Committee, NEC, on Thursday June 25 dissolved the partys NWC based on recommendations of President Muhammadu Buhari. It was crystal-clear that the internal wrangling in the party which Oshiomhole was at the centre of almost all compelled President Buhari to sanction the sack of the last NWC. 
AljazirahNigeria gathered that besides Oshiomhole being at loggerheads with his godson, Godwin Obaseki, and long list of other stalwarts in APC, his biggest target was to deliver the partys national leader, Ahmed Bola Tinubu as the party presidential flag bearer come 2023 – a task vehemently opposed by some chieftains of the party.
The plot to oust Oshiomhole who enjoys the support of Tinubu was actually due for execution  in March 2020, with former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi and  Governor Nasir elRufai of Kaduna leading the onslaught, hence the Oshiomhole-Obaseki rift was as good as a side attraction until it became the epicentre.
Speaking with a top chieftain of the APC in an interview, (name withheld), he said there are some major happenings that shaped Oshiomholes removal and by extension Tinubus 2023 ambition.
He said: The court order against Oshiomhole was based on his earlier suspension by the APC leadership in his ward in Edo State, which apparently was instigated by Governor Obaseki. 
Amaechi, elRufai and their followers, anticipated  Oshiomholes suspension and had prepared former Rivers state commissioner, Victor Giadom to take over the party leadership. Amaechi, and three other ministers from the South-South (Osagie Ehanire, minister for health, Festus Keyamo, minister of state, labour, and Goddy Agba, minister of state, power) had closed in on the former labour leader and almost removed him from office, but for the intervention of Tinubu.
He said that the APC NEC meeting on March 16 which was adjourned indefinitely by President Buhari would have decided  Oshiomholes fate, stressing that the anti-Tinubu stalwarts believe Oshiomholes removal as national chairman is major obstacle  for Tinubus 2023 political ambition.
He noted that other members of the APC NWC who were working with Mr Giadom as at that time are Mustapha Salihu, the National Vice Chairman (North-East) of the party, and Lawali Shuaibu, the Deputy National Chairman (North).
Political analysts believe that at a point, what was playing out was battle of supremacy between the ACN and CPC bloc which formed the present day APC.
The Oshiomhole-led NWC, who are loyal to Tinubu, had kicked against President Buharis decision to attend NEC meeting convened by Victor Giadom  with the believe that the outcome of the NEC meeting will not be favourable to Tinubu, who is the Leader of the ACN bloc within the APC.
According to reports, the ACN bloc may have already concluded plans to work with Atiku Abubakar for 2023, former Governor. Fashola of Lagos State and current Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi seem not to be part of the plot. 
Senior members of the APC, Governors Fayemi, elRufai, and Akeredolu, the Minister for Transportation Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and other members, are attacking perceived friends of Oshiomhole and his principal, Tinubu.
It will be recalled that at the twilight of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun era, there were already factions in some APC states including Rivers, Imo, Zamfara and few other states.  APC governors under Oyegun wielded enormous influence in the party as they decided who got what and who succeeded them, but everything changed when the NWC led by Oshiomhole came in. The former labour leader decided to hand over the party to the people.
Oshiomhole insisted that direct mode of primaries was the best way to go to ensure that every member of the party was given the sense of belonging in producing their leaders. He argued that the party could easily win elections if every member of the APC was allowed to elect their candidates during primaries. He further commenced the payment of salaries to the state chairmen and other organs of the party to enable them run the party in their various states without hitches. This move made the party in the states independent of the governors.
It was gathered that that the party chairman decided to embark on these reforms centred on the supremacy of the party because one of the reasons the PDP lost power was its penchant in domiciling the powers of the party in the hands of few godfathers. When Oshiomhole took over the office of the National Chairman on the 24th of June 2018, he did predict that his reforms would pitch him against his friends but that he would doggedly pursue them in the interest of the party.
President Buhari had no problem with those reforms and had on different fora urged party leaders to respect the constitution and the decisions of the party. However, it was obvious some APC governors who are not happy with Oshiomhole’s reforms are not listening to the admonitions of President Buhari. 
AljazirahNigeria gathered that contrary to enthroning Tinubu in 2023, the plot of the APC governors is to install one of their own. Oshiomhole, also confirmed that Amaechi and men loyal to him was giving him nightmares when he publicly blamed some members of the Rivers State chapter of the party for fuelling the crisis rocking the ruling party.
Oshiomhole, in a Television programme, said that the crisis he was battling with was being instigated by some APC elements in the state, trying to drag the partys National Working Committee, NWC, into their local fight.
A chieftain of the APC, Daniel Bwala, also appeared on the same programme and pointedly accused an unnamed minister of being behind the crisis.
The unnamed minister, which is reportedly Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, and a stalwart of the APC in Rivers State, Magnus Abe, had been at loggerheads over control over the partys lever in the state. The crisis, which escalated shortly before the 2019 general elections, forced Amaechi to adopt the African Action Congress, AAC, candidate during the governorship election after the APC was barred from partaking in the elections in the state.
Oshiomhole, has since the appointment of  Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, as the chairman of the partys Caretaker Committee come to terms with the development.
The former labour leader who briefed journalists at the weekend in Abuja, said he has formally accepted the dissolution of the partys NWC under his leadership.
He, however, pledged his loyalty to the ruling party, saying that his loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari remains unshaken. His words: Of course, we have now been dissolved and I have accepted that dissolution in good fate. I have always assured the President of my loyalty. I know it is easy for people to speak of loyalty when the going is good but loyalty is brought to the test when the going gets really tough, he said.
He also expressed his joy that the APC under his leadership was able to work hard to ensure that unity returned to the Ninth Assembly. Oshiomhole added that the emergence of Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has helped the executive arm of government to succeed.
Similarly, Tinubu has said that he has not taken any decision to run for president in 2023 contrary to speculations. The former Lagos state Governor said rather, he was more concerned about the health and economic challenges facing the country due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He made the clarification in a statement issued at the weekend while reacting to comments that the dissolution of the partys National Working Committee had ended his purported 2023 ambition. He described the comments as distasteful, saying already, you have assigned colourful epitaphs to the 2023 death of an alleged political ambition that is not yet even born.”
According to him, rather than politicking, he has been spending his time trying to think of helpful ideas and policies to help in solving the myriad of problems in the country.
During this period, I have not busied myself with politicking regarding 2023. I find that a bit distasteful and somewhat uncaring particularly when so many of our people have been unbalanced by the twin public health and economic crises we face. I have devoted these last few months to thinking of 8 policies that may help the nation in the here and now. What I may or may not do 3 years hence seems too remote given present exigencies.”


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2023Adams OshiomholeAPCAsiwaju Bola Tinubu