APC crisis: Shuaibu dares Oshiomhole
The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership billowed at the weekend, as the Deputy National Chairman (North) of the Senator Lawan Shuaibu, has declined to honour the invitation sent to him by the five-man disciplinary committee set up by the party’s National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Senator Shuaibu, in a recent letter addressed to Comrade Oshiomhole, dated May 27 and entitled; “APC: Its Fortunes Vs Misfortunes: Time to Act,” had accused the former Edo State governor of running the party without recourse to other members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
Senator Shuaibu pointed fingers of scorn at Comrade Oshiomhole over the crises and attendant litigation that trailed the conduct of the party’s primaries and, particularly, blamed the former for the recent misfortune that befell the APC in Zamfara State, demanding for Oshiomhole’s resignation.
Responding to the letter addressed to him by the Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Niyi Adebayo, who, incidentally, is the chairman of the disciplinary committee, Senator Shuaibu noted that there was no provision for the committee in the party’s constitution, maintaining that only the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party could reprimand him for any infraction.
He also argued that given the allegations he raised against Oshiomhole, it would be wrong for him to set up a disciplinary committee, as he noted that the former Edo State governor could not be a judge in his own case.
“I don’t know from where the NWC derived the power of discipline. The APC Constitution, in Article 21, states that such power shall only be exercised by the party through the respective executive committees of the party at all levels.
“I am not a lawyer, but I have been in the political party system for about a decade now to be able to know that every decision of the party shall be in line with what its constitution stipulates.
“When I served as a national secretary, my own national chairman would insist that I work with the national legal adviser for advice on every issue, before any decision was arrived at.
“Given that the NWC has the power, how can the chairman preside over a meeting in which discussions that border on allegations against him are discussed? Let me repeat, as in my letter to the chairman, you can’t be a judge in your own case; and to even say he was seated there to accept a vote of confidence as well as preside over setting up a committee to punish the member that accused him.
“Those eminent leaders of the APC had fairness on their minds on matters of discipline and disciplinary procedures, when they drafted the constitution. They entrusted the matter of discipline in the party to the larger executive committees, and not a group of few members of the party some of who might probably be culpable in some instances,” the letter read.
Shuaibu said further; “Otunba, my honest advice to you is, since you are the closest NWC member to the chairman, in order not to drive the party into the mud, always insist on following due process of law in whatever he wants to commit the party to.”
Edo APC crisis: Obaseki may defect to PDP
Meanwhile, speculations have become rife that the Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, may have perfected plans to dump the APC for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ahead of the 2020 governorship poll, following his recent meeting with his Delta State counterpart, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, in Asaba.
Obaseki had breezed into the Delta State capital on June 5, during the Eid-el-Fitri holiday for a meeting with Okowa, where the duo was supposed to “brainstorm on how to deepen economic ties and improve on the security situation in the two states which were part of the old Bendel State” before their separation in 1991.
A PDP source in Asaba, however, disclosed that the meeting, which later ended in a closed door parley and lasted for about 45 minutes, was to prepare grounds for Obaseki’s impending dumping of the APC, “where he has been under persistent attack by aggrieved members,” for the PDP.
At the meeting, Okowa had declared: “It was a meeting between brothers and friends who are now governors and it is more interesting that our states belonged to the old Bendel State; and he came with ideas that will move the two states forward.”
The source, who pleaded anonymity, however, confirmed that embattled Obaseki, who had reportedly also fallen out of favour with his godfather, the APC national chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole, came for consultations and had useful discussions with his Delta State counterpart.
The source added that should there be no reduction in the attacks against him, the governor would likely throw his hat in the ring for the PDP governorship ticket, come 2020, as he was scared that the fate of former Lagos State governor, Akinwumi Ambode, awaited him.
He said: “The meeting was to fine-tune Obaseki’s exit from the APC. The governor doesn’t want to put all his eggs in the APC basket. PDP is ‘Option B,’ should it become clear that APC will deny him the ticket. He is merely preparing grounds, as he doesn’t want to go the Ambode way in Lagos.”
Continuing, the source explained that Obaseki dashed off to Asaba to see Okowa, who had had a sour relationship with Oshiomhole for allegedly supporting the PDP governorship candidate in Edo State, so that he (Okowa) could help him (Obaseki) pacify the state PDP leadership.
From his absence at two high-profile events – The recent 49th Founder’s Day celebration of the University of Benin-Auchi Teaching Hospital (UBTH) and the just-concluded Okpekpe Road Race, where Oshiomhole was in appearance – it had appeared that things are no longer at ease between Obaseki and his immediate predecessor.
A top member of the state APC, who would not want his name in print, told Sunday Tribune that the governor stayed away from the two events so as to avoid Oshiomhole, who is said not to be comfortable with the way he is piloting the affairs of the party and the state, since he took over the reins of government in November 2016.
Besides these developments, a group in the state APC, Rescue Team, has vowed to take the party away from Obaseki’s grip.
Speaking with Sunday Tribune on telephone, the state chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, said he was not aware of the plan by the governor to defect to the opposition party.
He said: “Obaseki has not spoken with me. I don’t have his phone number. But in politics, anything is possible. I am not aware.”
Calls made to the mobile phone of the Special Adviser to the governor on Communication and Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, were unanswered. He has not also replied to a text message as of the time of this report.