Chairmanship Race: Oshiomhole Reaches Out to APC Lawmakers


Promises to heal wounds, strengthen intra-party democracy Says new PDP not a threat
Gbajabiamila: We’ve endorsed him

James Emejo in Abuja
Former Governor of Edo State and All Progressive Congress (APC) National Chairmanship aspirant, Adams Oshiomhole, on Tuesday met with members of the APC Caucus in the House of Representatives behind closed-doors for over two hours to solicit for their support for the position.

In attendance were the Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara; the Deputy, Hon. Yussuff Lasun, as well as the principal officers led by the House Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, among other members.

Speaking to journalists after the engagement, Oshiomhole said he had come to solicit for their support and proffer lasting solutions to the problems currently bedevilling the APC.
Among other things, he said he would ensure that there’s strong correlation between effort and reward as far as the activities of the party are concerned.

He said: “I came basically to meet with the leadership and members of the APC caucus of the House of Representative. I have shared with them my intention to contest for the office of the National Chairman of APC and to solicit for their support.

“As you know, our party is democratic and the chairmanship office is not by appointment, it’s by election and members of the caucus are automatic delegates of the convention at which the national chairman and other national officers will be elected.

“So, I came physically to solicit their support and also share my vision and thoughts on a variety of issues and how I hope to address those issues as they affect the running of our party, the relationship between the party and members of the National Assembly as it affects the responsibility of the party to interact with the executive elected on the platform of the party at both national and state level and of course, the National Assembly and Houses of Assembly respectively.”

The former governor said:”Of course, it’s no secret that there are couple of issues right now affecting our party in various states, we’ve exchanged views as to how some of these issues can be resolved and I’ve no doubt in my mind that once you have a democratic organisation, there’s bound to be contestations, agreements and disagreements.

“I think the challenge of leadership which I believe I am determined to provide is to be able to find courage and good heart to listen and to pro-actively intervene and to help people who have issues to find common ground to co-exist.

“I believe that all the members of APC have good intentions; we’ve our own fair share of internal contestation and I’m sure working together, we will resolve all of that so that we can have a party that is united, cohesive- the one its membership has a sense of belonging, and there should be a strong correlation between effort and reward as far as the activities of the party are concerned. These and many other issues we discussed.”

Continuing, he said: “But we ended the meeting and everybody is in a very happy mood and I’m thankful to the Speaker for the privilege and the principal officers for the quality time that we had spent and I think it was a time very well spent.

“I’ve learnt a lot from them and I’ve given my own assurances the way I can, and what we would do differently to ensure our party waxed stronger and stronger especially as we march towards the 2019 general election and beyond.”

On the ultimatum issued by the new PDP to the party tto address their issues, Oshiomole said:”I don’t think it’s a big issue; some people have expressed discontent over one thing or the other.
“I think from my background, when people write to you to say we have issues, we want you to address this issue, it means the issues are negotiable- They are ready to discuss, they have an open mind.

“If they’re not ready to discuss, there’ll be no point issuing anybody any so-called ultimatum; so you only write to someone to say I have grievances, these are the grievances and I’m giving you this amount of time to look into those grievances; for me, that implies a commitment to dialogue and the least requirement you need to service intra-party democracy is the capacity to dialogue rather than monologue.

“So, to me, believe that to that extent, I expect that they have an open mind and the party leadership has an open mind, the president has an open mind and those issues will be discussed and resolved.”

However, in what could suggest that the chairmanship candidate may have impressed his audience with his assurances, Gbajabiamila also said the caucus had endorsed Oshiomole for the position.
The Leader said: “He came, he discussed with us and we’ve been behind closed doors for over two hours now- so when people sit down together for two hours, you know a lot has been accomplished.

“He come with a rich pedigree in administration and governance which we all know and he’s laid some of his programmes on the table for us; very serious heart-to-heart discussions and we are all on the same page and like he said, he came to solicit support and the result of that soliciting is that we as the APC caucus in the House of Representatives believe in him…and we more or less have endorsed him for the position of chairman of the party.”

Earlier, Oshiomhole said with proactive leadership, the party will ensure problem are resolved in a win-win manner if elected.
“We all can have something,” he added.
He said he would try to persuade the aggrieved members to remain, stressing that “We can together strengthen our party and make it less shy of contestation.”

He promised to adopt a policy of inclusion rather than exclusion, adding that “It’s my hope that we’ll all see a new APC capable of delivery of public good.”
“We must be capable of overcoming bitterness,” he declared.