APC will Lose Ondo without Tinubu, Says Frank

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• Asks court to set aside his suspension
Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Timi Frank, has said the prospect of his party winning the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State is bleak without reconciling the aggrieved stakeholders.

The candidate favoured by the national leader of the APC and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, was defeated by the APC governorship candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, in a disputed primary election.

Frank, who is battling with the national leadership of the party and its National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, over his recent suspension, yesterday filed a suit in court seeking to restrain the party from sanctioning him.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference in Abuja, Frank said the party would lose if urgent steps are not taken to arrest the crisis of confidence that has pitched its leaders against one another other.
“If we have to win the election in Ondo State, we have to resolve the crisis that came with the governorship election primary; we have to carry everyone along and most importantly, we have to reconcile issues with the national leader of the party, Tinubu,” he said.

Frank also said he believed that APC under President Muhammadu Buhari has a lot of good things to offer the people but that such can only be possible if we have a conducive and peaceful  environment.

“You can see very clearly that there are issues. Look at the disagreement in the recently organised governorship primary in Ondo State, you can see that when the party leadership went for the campaign, many of the leaders were not there. The national leader of the party was not there because he was out of the country. So we must do everything to put all hands on deck.

“I still appeal to the president to intervene and save the party. The only thing the president can do to salvage the party is for him to push for the restructuring of APC. I want this party to succeed in 2019 elections and I do not want members to leave it for any other new platform springing up.

“I still maintain that there is need for the national chairman to resign in order to restore peace in the party. As long as Oyegun is still in office, I bet you that the crisis will remain unresolved.

“If we have to win Ondo State, we have to seek reconciliation, we have to harmonise interests with the leaders that are relevant, that have impact. We must put every measure in place to ensure that the national leader is carried along; nobody can keep him aside because he has so much to offer at this point. Tinubu has shown clearly that he is a true leader of this party and somebody who truly loves this party. For me, I will advise my party to do everything possible to ensure that he is not kept aside.

“Today, it is very clear that he is being shoved aside by certain forces in the party who believe that they can do this job without him, but that is not possible, you cannot do this job without Tinubu. This is why we must do everything to reconcile these differences rocking the party.” Frank stated.

According to him, “I said before now and let it not be too late. You can see many realigning moves taken place in the country. It might seem like rumour but things are going on in this country but I don’t want us to create a vacuum that will make our members join forces with other platforms that may spring up any time now.

“Look at the Ondo State elections, we have gone into two major elections and there was no meeting of the stakeholders, and the party never called a NEC meeting. The last NEC that was convened was in February and since then, there has been no other meeting called to deliberate on crucial issue, not the Board of Trustee (BoT), not the NEC and not the national caucus meeting.

“It is very clear that the chairman has truly breached the party’s constitution; so if there is anybody to be suspended in this party, it should be the chairman and not me, I have not violated any rule of the party. My offence today is that I have decided to insist on the change we campaigned for and I will not compromise my position.”

On why he sued his party, Frank said he had exhausted all known internal communication avenues to bring to the notice of his grievance. He explained how he had tried to lay his grievances before the party’s leadership, including two letters written in December 2015 and January this year but that he was denied hearing.

As part of his prayers at the court,  the deputy spokesman is seeking “an interim order to restrain the respondents, by themselves, committees, officers, agents servants, privies or howsoever called from suspending and/or otherwise taking any other disciplinary action against me as a member of the APC pending the hearing and determination of the substantive originating summons.”