Olusola Fabiyi, Olalekan Adetayo, Success Nwogu, Leke Baiyewu and John Charles
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, on Monday said there was no man of honour, who left the Peoples Democratic Party because of its alleged crimes against the nation, that would want to return to the opposition party.
He insisted that he was not losing sleep over the emergence of a faction of the party called Reformed-APC.
Oshiomhole, who spoke in an interview with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, commented on the alleged plan by the R-APC members to leave the APC on Thursday.
He said no matter their irritations in the ruling party, no aggrieved member should be thinking of returning to the PDP.
He said, “No, I am not losing sleep. I am sleeping very well. I still maintain that I don’t see any man of honour who with his eyes open left the PDP on the account of their gross mismanagement, abuse of the treasury and all of the crimes that the PDP committed; I don’t see them, whatever their irritations, that can be justifications, to return to that house.
“All we need to do is to play back their own tape about what the PDP represents and why they left. I still hold the view that you cannot vomit in the morning and convert it to lunch in the afternoon if you have honour. That position still remains the same.”
Despite his position, Oshiomhole explained that the party could distinguish between those who had genuine complaints and those he described as mercenaries.
He said the party would try and listen to those with genuine grievances but would not change its core values to accommodate the mercenaries who he said were after personal issues.
He said he would not lose his sleep because of people who he claimed could not deliver their unit during elections.
He, however, did not disclose those who fall under the two categories of mercenaries and those with genuine complaints.
Oshiomhole said, “I have made this point clear that we can distinguish the mercenaries from those who genuinely have complaints. Our business as party leaders is to try and manage, listen and find solutions to those who have verifiable complaints.
“But those who are permanent mercenaries and are in this business for personal issues, there is not much we can do about that and we are not going to change the core values of the party in order to retain them.
“So, let me reinstate, we remain committed and I have said so in my acceptance speech when I was elected, that we acknowledge the fact that there are people with genuine complaints. For such people, we are ready to listen and act on the basis of justice, fairness, no arrogance and exclusion. I remain committed to those.
“However, on principle, I do not deal with political mercenaries, that remains my position. I will not miss my sleep because a lot of these guys cannot on a good day deliver their units.
“We have the records that tell us who won elections where. I am a tested fighter. I fought them from Edo from zero-zero and I overcame their most powerful godfathers.
“So, I know what I am talking about. I speak from experience and I will talk, negotiate and persuade but there are core principles that are not negotiable.”
Begging R-APC, not an act of cowardice — National chairman
Also in Abuja on Thursday, Oshiomhole explained why he had been begging members of the R-APC not to leave the APC. He said that his action was not an act of cowardice.
Oshiomhole, while speaking at the launch of a book by Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim (APC, Yobe-East), pointed out that the appeal is made to the aggrieved members was all about restoring peace and getting justice for those who deserved it.
He stated that it was not a result of being jittery.
Oshiomhole said, “Throughout the weekend and up till today (Monday), many of the national dailies reported different stories with the impression that I have not been sleeping within the last one week as a result of alleged midnight meetings with aggrieved party members, who they say I have been begging not to leave the party.
“In some of the reports, the insinuations even went as far as saying that I made juicy offers to the aggrieved party members in stopping them from defecting. While I will not be too direct in reacting to such reports here, I will only say though I have been meeting aggrieved party members over whatever injustices they felt the party or some chieftains of the party had done to them. I have not been having sleepless nights as being reported, and also I am not in any way jittery.
“Rapprochement move, as far as I am concerned, is not an act of cowardice but a desirous endeavour in making peace since you can’t decree peace but only work for it. So, in a nutshell, I am not ashamed of doing that as chairman of a great party. To those who the rapprochement moves are being directed to, we want them to appreciate that we are more or less trying to prevent them from making a blunder of dumping palm wine for kain kain (local gin).”
Oshiomhole is fake, says PDP
In its response, the PDP described the former governor of Edo State as fake.
It said that while he boasted during the day, he would visit aggrieved members of the APC at night, begging them not to leave the ruling party.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said that both Oshiomhole and the national leadership of the APC had become jittery over the planned defection.
He said, “We will rather forget and ignore him. He is a drowning man and his party will soon become the opposition party in Nigeria. That is why he’s busy running his mouth.
“In the daytime, he goes out shouting, calling people names but at night, as from 2am, he goes about visiting and begging people he had abused, asking them not to leave and offering them positions and tickets.
“We should rather ignore him. We understand his predicament. So, we won’t waste our time talking to or responding to a fake man who is heading a faction of the APC.”
We won’t welcome Ortom to Benue PDP – 13 gov aspirants
Also on Monday, 13 PDP governorship aspirants described the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, as a liability to any political party.
They, therefore, said that they would not welcome him to the party if he decided to leave the APC.
Though they said that his defection from the ruling party ought to be a plus to the PDP, they nevertheless said that Ortom’s case would be an exception because of his alleged baggage.
They listed the baggage to include non-payment of salaries for more than a year and his inability to complete a single project since he assumed office more than three years ago.
The aspirants, who spoke at a press briefing in Abuja, insisted that Ortom’s negative values outweighed the positive ones.
Speaking under the auspices of Forum of Governorship Aspirants, they vowed to resist any attempt to truncate the internal democratic process that had characterised the Benue chapter of the party in the past few years.
They added that if the PDP “wants to take the state from the APC, efforts must be intensified to nip in the bud, the plot to shortchange the party’s executive in the state.”
One of the aspirants, Mr John Tondu, said, “The governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, as of today, is a liability, not an asset. He is not welcome into our party, the PDP. Because of the love we have for the people of Benue State, anything that will cripple our plan to take over the state should not be tolerated.”
The PDP governorship candidate in the state in 2015, Dr Terhemen Tarzoor, alleged that Ortom’s credibility had reached an all-time low, adding that he had been shown the ‘red card’ by the APC.
He said if the governor was an asset to the ruling party, he would not be asked to leave or be shown the ‘red card’ in APC.
Another aspirant, who is the Chairman of the forum, Prof. David Ker, called on the state leadership of the party to organise a free and fair governorship primary.
I don’t need to consult any aspirants – Ortom
But Ortom dismissed the aspirants, saying he did not need to consult them before joining the PDP.
He also said that he would declare his party preference before the end of this week.
The governor, who spoke on Monday through his Special Adviser on Media and the Information and Communication Technology, Tahav Agerzua, noted that he had yet to declare his next political move.
The special adviser asked, “Must the governor seek their permission before joining the PDP? And l don’t think the governor has announced that he is going into the PDP, I don’t think.
“When the appropriate time comes, such an issue would be addressed. As for now, he is saying that the national leadership of the APC called him to a meeting on Thursday in Abuja and that he would make his final announcement after the meeting on Thursday.
“So, l don’t know where those people got their information from, but the issue of the party is an issue of interest. Maybe the aspirants feel that their interest is threatened, but surely l don’t think they have the controlling powers of the structure of the PDP.
“Maybe, if you talk about the PDP, l know prominent people within the PDP that have asked Ortom to come to the party. So, if you juxtapose the position, you will know where and who have more powers to admit or keep Ortom out.”
Saraki no longer politically relevant – Kwara APC faction
In Kwara State, an APC faction loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday opposed the alleged automatic tickets offered serving aggrieved senators and members of the House of Representatives.
The Deputy Chairman of the Kwara State APC faction, Alhaji Abdullahi Samari, during a media briefing in Ilorin stated that such an offer was undemocratic.
He said, “On the issue of automatic tickets for the serving senators, representatives and others as requested by the over-ambitious politicians, this is an attempt to annihilate credible candidates and stifle participatory democracy.
“President Muhammadu Buhari and our national Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who are products of effective and functional democracy, should not be part of this undemocratic and devilish move.”
Samari also alleged that Saraki had lost political relevance. He stated that the recent welcome by a mammoth crowd for him during his first visit to Kwara State after his legal victory at the Supreme Court was stage managed.
He said more chieftaincy titles and staged managed visits by governors and other top politicians to Saraki would still happen just to shore up the alleged dwindling political fortune of the Senate President.
Faction’s claim laughable-Saraki backed faction
But the Publicity Secretary of Saraki-backed APC in the state, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari, said it was laughable for anyone to suggest that Saraki was no longer politically relevant, adding that such an opinion was from ‘disgruntled’ politicians.
He said the negotiation between Buhari and Saraki was an indication of the political relevance of the Senate President.
Buhari said, “It is laughable for anyone to say that Saraki is not a political heavyweight. The media briefing is just a gathering of disgruntled politicians. Even those who are telling Bukola Saraki not to dump the APC know his value politically even beyond Kwara. If they say he is not relevant, I think they are not politically aware.” (Punch)