By Ismaila Chafe, Chijioke Okoronkwo
Abuja, Oct. 31, 2018
National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has dismissed the call for the resignation of the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, saying party supremacy must be respected.
Tinubu made his position known when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House Abuja on Wednesday.
According to the APC national leader, Oshiomhole has so far not violated APC constitution or engaged in any anti-party activity that will warrant his resignation or removal from office.
He said: “We all have to respect the party supremacy. You were all here when we had the Congress, we elected the new executives, we had the convention, the NEC was formed and we surrendered to avoid conflict, to avoid domination, to avoid abuses of power, we surrendered our rights, all rights to the National Working Committee headed by Adams Oshiomhole.
“That the National Working Committee should set up electoral bodies to supervise various state congresses and elections. ‘We signed off for it’.
“So, if it is not in our individual favour, so be it. We gave three options, consensus, where there is no consensus because if you are more than two or three and you cannot agree to one candidate, you go to the next level.
“The next level is the stakeholders’ delegates (system) and you have to be supervised by the National Working Committee of the party, national election committee of the party.
“That shows party supremacy or the freest option, the less cumbersome is open direct primary, line up and count the number, 1,2,3. If you win, you win and if you fail, you go home.’’
Tinubu further explained that an appeal committee was set up by the party to look into grievances arising from the conduct of the party’s primaries.
He said the committee, which served as internal mechanism for conflict resolution, had performed its duties diligently
“It was there (appeal committee), you cannot turn round against that, and you cannot turn against all of that.
“No, Party is supreme, party must be respected, abuses will not do it and anger will not do it. It is party politics, somebody will win and somebody will lose, too bad,’’ he added.
It would be recalled that the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, had on Oct. 21, in a statement by his press secretary, Mr Simon Ebegbulem, alleged that conservatives within the party are ganging up to pass a vote of no-confidence on him.
He said in the statement that his sin was his refusal to allow continued impunity and circumvention of due process being perpetuated in some states.
The APC chairman added that he was not surprised by the gang up, as he never had the illusion that the process of reforming the party was going to be an easy one.
Also speaking after the meeting with President Buhari, Oshiomhole said that he will not mortgage his conscience in order to keep his job.
Speaking on the fallout of APC primaries, he dismissed rumours that some governors were moblising to unseat him.
According to him, he knows that the job is not a pensionable job as he will leave it one day; hence he will do the job according to the rules and his conscience.
He said that out of the 23 APC governors, only three were not pleased with the outcome of the primaries in their states.
Oshiomhole said that no one could begrudge the governors for not being happy if a particular outcome did not coincide with their expectations.
He said that he neither had the power to appoint nor the power to change anything particularly when things had been properly done.
According to him, the three governors who are unhappy are his friends.
“So, all I have tried is to find some courage to enforce the rules and I think an overwhelming majority of the governors appreciate that I have done the best because change is not easy.
“We all want change but the process of change can be quite traumatising; because it is not painless. People have been used to a particular way of doing things; to encourage them to do them differently can be a challenge.
“So, here I am as national chairman conducting primaries, the outcome of which some very powerful people did not see their preferred candidates emerging.
“Let me say that if there is a choice between my conscience–what I believe is right and mortgaging that conscience in order to keep the job, I will have no difficulty resolving it in favour of my conscience.
“And those who know me know that at my age, I cannot learn new tricks; I am absolutely committed to justice; fairness; I a stickler to enforcement of rules; because the source of relevance is derived from rules. I have lived my life fighting for justice and fairness.’’
The APC national chairman said however, that the issues would be resolved as internal family issues as the three governors were his friends.
He said that in a moment of distress, he believed that the friendship was enough to help them to build reconciliation.
According to Oshiomhole, he respects and appreciates the governors for the fact that but for their support, he would not become APC chairman.
“And you do not go stepping on toes of those who helped you to get into position.
“But however, I thought I was clear and I remain clear that helping me to get to the position, it was to help APC to return to its core values of progressive politics, of fairness, of justice, of adherence to rule of law and total submission to the extant provisions of our party constitution.
“In doing that, you do not look at power; you look at what is; what is just.
“I think that with time, we will reconcile all these; Amosun is my good friend; we have known each other for a very long time; we exchange personal visits in addition to official visits; Zamfara governor has been the Chairman of NGF and I was an active member of that forum; we have wonderful time together and I believe in the future, we are still going to have wonderful time together.
“Governor Rocha’s Okorocha was one of those who had issues with my predecessor and I did my best to try and resolve those issues in a way that has been given him a new platform.
“And I am happy that God used us to do that not by cheating in his favour but by doing what is right; it is just that once you stick to the goal, sometimes, you either get caught on the right side or the wrong side,’’ he said.
He said that some Abuja-based politicians were not known in their villages and they thought they were popular; but when their `loudness’ in Abuja failed to translate into electoral victory; they looked for who to blame.