- Edo, Ondo Governorship Election Among Issues For Deliberation
By Kolawole Ojebisi
An immediate aftermath of the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is that the newly inaugurated Caretaker Committee of the party are currently devicing strategic means to placate key aggrieved members and resolve the controversy generated by the sacking of NWC members.
Key among those that the rank and file of the party are trying to appease include, a National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and Chief Bisi Akande, a pioneer national chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) which merged with CPC, ANPP, among others to form the APC.
This move is coming despite an earlier ‘no qualms’ statement Tinubu released on Saturday, with the presidency also denying any rift between Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari.
The New Diplomat learnt that the Caretaker/Convention Committee headed by Yobe Governor, Mai Mala Buni which has been saddled with the reconciliation task is set to pay peace-building meeting to Tinubu and Chief Akande in Lagos this week. This move is reportedly aimed at pacifying the South-West political elements both within and outside APC who feel disillusioned about current political developments in the APC.
The visit is also to reassure the former Lagos Governor that the dissolution of the party’s NWC was not targeted at him. It was gathered that, while both the presidency and Tinubu have continued to deny reports of rift between them, the Tinubu’s camp is seething with resentment about the treatment meted out to it.
It was learnt that the Tinubu-led camp may totally withdraw its support or give it perfunctorily as the Edo electioneering inches closer. Recall that the APC National Executive Committee had, at its meeting attended by President Buhari on Thursday sacked the party’s NWC loyal to the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
Following Oshiomhole’s suspension on June 16, the APC was divided into two factions with one led by former Deputy National Secretary of the party, Mr. Victor Giadom, and the other consisting of 18 NWC members, who were loyal to Tinubu.
However, President Buhari declared support for Giadom and attended the Thursday meeting, which he convened. Many analysts had interpreted Buhari’s support for Giadom and the sack of the NWC loyal to Oshiomhole, as the President’s disfavour to Tinubu ahead of the 2023 presidential poll.
It is reportedly believed in some quarters that the president’s intervention was to cut the former Lagos state governor to size over the later’s alleged overbearing influence, exerted through Oshiomhole, was becoming unbearable.
But the presidency, in a statement on Saturday dismissed reports that Buhari and aaTinubu had fallen apart following the dissolution of the NWC. The presidency insisted that both President Buhari and Tinubu are motivated by national interest and not selfish regional motivations. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in a statement said both Buhari and Tinubu are committed to the principles of promoting national interest over and above other considerations.
Also, Tinubu, in a statement on Saturday, supported the dissolution of the NWC at the instance of the President during the NEC meeting. Buhari, Tinubu said, acted like a true father to save the party from disintegration.
Roles to be played by the Buni led-Committee include reconciling aggrieved members, the formation of a campaign council for the Edo governorship election and preparations towards peaceful conduct of the APC primary for Ondo state governorship election.
Recall that the APC caretaker chairman, in his inaugural address after members of the committee were inaugurated, had assured party members that the committee would work on short and long term strategies to reposition the party.
He said, “It is time for this committee therefore to commence the process of true reconciliation among leaders and members of the party at all levels. It is our belief that the decision by NEC to constitute this committee will mark the beginning of a new chapter in our great party.”
“Changes are inevitable and disagreements on issues and concepts are an integral part of human and institutional relationships. As a political party built on strong ideology and, parading men and women of enduring principle and integrity, we must prepare for real and anticipated changes and their consequences. The outcomes of changes that evolve in our party politics must be decided by us.”
Buni said, “I urge all party members to heed to the appeal by our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR on his call to all aggrieved members who have instituted various cases in the courts to please withdraw such cases in the interest of our great party.”