John Alechenu, Abuja
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has vowed that the party will not field people he described as opportunists who seek to use the party’s platform to pursue their selfish interests.
He said the party had learnt from its past mistakes and was prepared to make amends by ensuring that “bread and butter politicians” were not given the party’s tickets to contest the forthcoming general elections.
Oshiomhole said this while addressing members of the APC Governorship and National Assembly screening committees in Abuja, on Monday.
Although Oshiomhole didn’t mention the names of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who dumped the party for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, events he mentioned relate to the actions taken by them.
The APC national chairman said, “We do not want to field opportunists who are simply seeking a political vehicle for some selfish purposes.
“What has happened in recent past is enough for us to begin to look at the character of those who are seeking office in the APC platform.
“If before now we have taken for granted the powers of the National Assembly, how those powers can be used for national goals and how it can also be misused to undermine national progress.
“The current situation we are facing here, where two principal officers have chosen to put their personal interest over and above the national interest.
“Refusing to consider budget meant for physical infrastructure. Budget meant to re-order the way our budget is executed, to move money away from consumption, which recurrent expenditure represents, to capital projects, which will benefit our people.”
He also said it was sad that the National Assembly was delaying the passage of the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2019 elections.
Oshiomhole explained that the party would henceforth ensure that only persons with the intellectual capacity to articulate issues on the basis at which laws and bills were considered as well as those with the capacity to carry out oversight functions to ensure that Nigerians get value for money would be those considered worthy of the party’s tickets.
This is even as he said the party would not abandon the 57 senators who remained faithful to the party during the trying times.
He said, “For us as a party, we have chosen to learn from the positive lessons from this development so that we do not repeat those mistakes by selecting people who as far as human capacity is we can assess and predict that if elected, they will remain faithful not only to our party but more importantly to the Nigerian nation.
“As we speak, I am proud that we have 57 senators who have refused to be induced or misled or otherwise manipulated into moving to other parties or reward for juicy positions.
“It will be ungodly for us as a party not to reward those who believe in the party and the government of the day led by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The former Edo State governor equally expressed regret that the party’s National Working Committee was still grappling with the “fraudulent” state congresses conducted by the previous party executive.
He said, “In many of the states, we had challenges arising from the way congresses were conducted. Many of them were quite fraudulent; that has been the challenge we have been trying to resolve since we came.
“Screening of aspirants is not a formality. That is why we tried to search for men and women of integrity who cannot be compromised.”
Some aspirants seeking the party’s ticket to contest for the Senate and House of Representatives seats have expressed apprehension over the comments made by the chairman.
One of those who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said, “This goes to confirm some of our fears.
“My colleagues and I were discussing the news that the party leadership has a list of preferred candidates and this whole screening thing is meant to give legitimacy to their scheme. We are watching and waiting.” (Punch)