Oshiomhole’s Rescue Mission in APC

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Jelili Adetayo

Fears that the All Progressives Congress, APC, was headed for the rocks as a result of intrigues over who becomes its next national chairman, seem to have naturally disappeared with the emergence of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in the race.

And it was not surprising that what looked like a budding leadership battle of epic proportion, now belongs to the past just because of one man’s intention.

Many people, who are conversant with the leadership trajectory of the former Edo State governor, would not be astonished. After all, Oshiomhole has a history of raising the leadership bar in every sensitive position he occupies. As a labour leader, he had a record that is still unrivalled, just as he created a governance model with his stewardship in Edo State.

This aura of competence that he has brought to the scene is the reason for new orderliness in the race.

One is not surprised that virtually every organ of the party, seems at home with his entrant into the contest. This manifested in the composition of attendees at his formal declaration for the position in Abuja. It was an event that proved naysayers wrong as many closed ranks in solidarity with Oshiomhole. What else can APC look for in a chairman!
The forum which was held at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja, was a melting point for party chieftains, who identified with Oshiomhole’s vision.

Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum and Governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha, and his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki, led leaders of the party to the event.
Others at the forum included former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva; Senator Ovie Omo -Agege; Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shuaibu; and Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Kabiru Adjoto.

Others are National Vice Chairman, South-south of the APC, Hilliard Etta; who led Senator Olusola Adeyeye, Senator Francis Alimekhena, and the entire members of the APC caucus from Edo State in the National and state Houses of Assembly to the gathering.

The event was a platform for Oshiomhole to outline the goals he seek to achieve with his vision for the party, saying he wanted to strengthen the party ahead of the 2019 general election. Notwithstanding, he regretted certain things that are wrong in the party, stating that he is on a salvage mission. Oshiomhole pledged to provide a leadership that will bring peace and ensure unity among party members.

“For me, it is fundamental to be able to have a membership driven party grounded at the grassroots. Accordingly, it is important that we must ensure that we have an authentic and verifiable membership register that can be checked and verified by members and even non-members of the party. It is, therefore, an irreducible minimum obligation on the part of the party to have a credible membership register that cannot be altered at the whims and caprices of any one, including the leadership of the party,” he said his impending reforms in the party.

He said he would revive the APC Data Center that was established under the interim leadership of Chief Bisi Akande, but was destroyed by the State Security Services on the orders of the Peoples Democratic Party administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on November 22, 2014.

According to him, with a credible membership register and given the state of information technology, a functional database is an indispensable tool that will help eliminate abuse and corruption in the conduct of intra-party election from unit to ward to local government to state and national levels.

He said he would sustain membership recruitment and ensure that members of the party are given a robust sense of ownership and control, adding that he looked forward to ensure that this also translates to a good working relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government.

To achieve this, he proposed that the party must have seasoned parliamentarians, including non-serving senators and representatives to monitor the National Assembly on a daily basis and advice the party leadership on engagement with the National Assembly. “The party under my leadership will recognise that the parliament is unique, diverse and faced with a lot of challenges. The party will, therefore, ensure coherence in all dispositions and decisions of parliament. The party will proactively settle any rift between executive and legislature without compromising the principle of separation of powers,” Oshiomhole said.

Also speaking at the event, Okorocha said: “I have no doubt in my mind, not even an iota of doubt that Oshiomhole when elected will show the way. Oshiomhole’s coming as a National chairman of APC is bad news to other political parties. In 2014, I recall vividly how we formed this party, the APC. Then he was a governor, and we all sat down thinking how to take power from the incumbent and it was not an easy task. But I want to tell all of you that Adams Oshiomhole is a rugged fighter. And a man who can face challenges and I have no doubt that he will make a good chairman when elected”.

––Adetayo writes from Kubwa, Abuja