Tinubu Backs Dissolution Of APC NWC, Denies 2023 Presidential Ambition

  • Asks Oshiomhole To Return To Edo To Battle Obaseki
  • No Rift Between Buhari, Tinubu, Says Presidency

Former Governor of Lagos State and a National leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has aired his opinion on the dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) and the protracted squabbles that has rattled the party.

The APC National leader broke his silence in a statement he authored and released on Saturday.

Following the dissolution of NWC last Thursday, The New Diplomat had reported that the development has caused uneasy calm within the Tinubu’s camp as many of his loyalists have been painstakingly waiting for his take and next line of action.

However, Tnubu, in his message, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for stepping in to resolve the crisis rocking the party but was unhappy that the crisis degenerated to the point where he felt compelled to intervene.

Tinubu’s reaction culminated with the presidency’s clarification in a statement by presidential spokesperson, Mr. Garba Shehu, on Saturday, dismissing insinuations that the decision of Buhari not to invite Tinubu to the Thursday’s NEC meeting implied a “showdown” between the two leaders, saying nothing could be further from the truth.

According to him, the relationship between the president and the former governor was inspired by democratic norms, national interest and both of them are in touch with each other.

“To put the records straight: In the formation of this great party and giving it leadership, President Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who are reckoned as the founding fathers of the APC are both inspired by democratic norms, national interest and not at all by partisan motivations. These are the qualities that have made them move past cynical distractions,” Shehu’s statement read in parts.

Tinubu, however, urged different parties to sheathe their swords, while also thanking Oshiomhole for his roles in the office and for accepting the decision of the APC NEC meeting.

He urged Oshiomhole to return to Edo and ensure Ize-Iyamu emerged the winner of the governorship election in Edo.

The former Lagos Governor, however, disowns 2023 Presidential ambition. He said he has not taken a decision to run for president in 2023 contrary to speculations, maintaining that he was more worried about the health and economic challenges facing the country at the moment.

Tinubu, in his words, said: “To those who have been actively bleating how the President’s actions and the NEC meeting have ended my purported 2023 ambitions, I seek your pity.”

He, however acknowledged that something important had gone off track, as the ruling party experienced growing disagreement within the leadership of the party for some months.

This unfortunate competition, he noted, had grown so intense as to impair the performance of the NWC, thus undermining the internal cohesion and discipline vital to success.

According to Tinubu, “the trouble is not that we would forfeit our collective existence, but whether we were in danger of losing our collective purpose. In some ways, this possibility is of greater concern. A political party that has lost sight of the reason for its existence becomes but the vehicle of blind and clashing ambitions. This is not what drove the APC’s creation.”

He added: “The National Working Committee, itself, became riven by unnecessary conflict. Those who disagreed with one another stopped trying to find common ground. Attempts were made to use the power of executive authority to bury each other. I must be blunt here. This is the behaviour of a fight club not the culture of a progressive political party.

“Some members went against their chairman in a bid to forcefully oust him. In hindsight, his fence-mending attempts were perhaps too little too late. I believed and continue to believe that Comrade Oshiomhole tried his best. Mistakes were made and he must own them. Yet, we must remember also that he was an able and enthusiastic campaigner during the 2019 election. He is a man of considerable ability as are the rest of you who constituted the NWC.

“It had been my hope that the disagreements could be resolved. After all, a political solution should not be beyond the ken of leaders of a major political party. But such resolution has failed to materialise. It was as if some unseen but strong force continued to stoke the embers. Instead of calling a prudent ceasefire, too many people sought more destructive weapons against one another.”

The party chieftain explained that when the crisis first came to a boil a few months ago, he issued a statement against litigious tendency.

He said after a series of lawsuits and countersuits, two NWC members laid competing claims to the chairmanship, saying while one was legitimately elected at the national convention; the latter’s claim was based on the questionable suspension of the former.

Tinubu noted that with lawsuits so numerous one needed a spread sheet to keep track, hence the decision of President Buhari to put a stop to the crisis.

He noted: “I do not lament his intervention or its outcome. I lament that the situation degenerated to the point where he felt compelled to intervene.

“President Buhari is much more than a mere beneficiary of the party. He is one of its founding fathers. The APC does not exist in its current form without his singular contributions. That is not opinion; it is undisputed fact.

“The President has spoken and his decision has been accepted. It is now beholden on all of us, as members of the APC, to recommit ourselves to the ideals and principles on which our party was founded. While we recognize that people have personal ambitions, those ambitions are secondary, not sacrosanct. Members must subordinate their ambitions to health and well-being of the party. Never should our party be defined by one person’s interests or even the amalgam of all members’ individual interests. A successful party must be greater than the sum of its parts.”

He said that party members should concentrate their energy on the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.

Tinubu said: “In addition to the daily operation of the party, the Caretaker Committee has the mandate to prepare for a mini national convention within six months. We must give the committee the support needed to fulfil this assignment in an impartial manner.

“As I understand it, no one has been precluded from seeking any party office to which he is otherwise eligible. Former NWC members are free to seek re-election to the NWC. Provided they have the support of party members, they will have an opportunity to return to serve the party in a leadership capacity. This reflects our overriding desire to restore and maintain internal democracy not subvert it.”

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'Dotun Akintomide's journalism works intersect business, environment, politics and developmental issues. Among a number of local and international publications, his work has appeared in the New York Times. He's a winner of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Award. Currently, the Online Editor at The New Diplomat, Akintomide has produced reports that uniquely spoke to Nigeria's experience on Climate Change issues. When Akintomide is not writing, volunteering or working on a media project, you can find him seeing beautiful sites like the sandy beaches that bedecked the Lagos coastline.

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