Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Former Edo State Governor and one of the top contenders for the office of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, said he has nothing to worry about any threat to his emergence as the national chairman of the party.
He, however, said whether or not he emerges the chairman, he will continue to work hard to ensure the party retains power.
Other aspirants in the race are Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor; former Cross River State Governor, Clement Ebri, and Chief Ibrahim Emokpaire.
Oshiomhole, who spoke with journalists after he was screened by the partyâ€™s screening committee, said the process leading to the emergence of a new leadership was more important than the outcome.
While describing democracy as problematic, the former NLC president said there was still no better way to govern a people who are not children than through democracy, adding that he was confident of emerging victorious at the end of the convention.
He said: â€œI am used to contestations and competition and I am a democrat. That was why I did not agree with those who wanted their tenure extended without election. I think democracy is problematic, but there is no better way to govern a people who are not children who should be spoon fed.
â€œIn this business, it is not just what you do, not how it is done and who is involved in the doing. It is about participation. I am excited and the people are no strangers.
â€œAt least, I know one, and we have contested against each other before. He rigged me out, I pursued him and I won and retrieved the mandate from him. I went back to seek second term and I won. I defeated him even in his local government area. I won 18 over 18, defeating him in his ward, his unit, his local government area and senatorial district.
â€œIf I was able to defeat him as an ordinary union leader when they dismissed me that I was not a politician while he was already a senator, now as a man who has had the privilege to preside over the affairs of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) nationwide, a two-time governor, if I have to compete with somebody who was governor for 18 months, I donâ€™t have any problem.
â€œAs for the others, let me say that in a boxing ring, heavy weights donâ€™t engage feather weight. But seriously speaking, I am happy that we are in a democracy and people are free to contest. Quite frankly, the process is much more important than the outcome. I am satisfied not because I will be chairman, but because my party is in power.
â€œMy commitment is not just for me to be chairman. As chairman or no chairman, I will continue to work hard to see that our party retain power at the centre and also run power in many more states and produce many more senators, House of Representative members and more House of Assembly members so that we will have the strength we need to deepen the change and sustain the changes.â€
Speaking on the outcome of his screening, Oshiomhole said â€œWhen you write an exam, you try to do your best, trusting that your examiners will find your answers good enough to give you a pass or even a distinction. That would only be at their discretion. I would say that I tried my best to speak to the issues which are basically how to move forward.
â€œNobody should seek to lead if you donâ€™t have a level of understanding of what the challenges because you canâ€™t do prescriptions without diagnosis. Fortunately, I have been a founding member.
â€œI was one of the governors that participated in the merger meetings when we had to sit for the first time ac ACN governors, CPC Governor, ANPP governor and that of APGA to see how we can move forward.
â€œSo, I understand the mission and the vision of the APC because we were the founding persons of the party. So, I know what our dream was and the gap between that dream and the current reality.
â€œI am also clear as to what we need to do differently so that dream is realised.â€
He, however, dismissed speculations that he was sponsoring some of those contesting the chairmanship seat saying: â€œI donâ€™t react to speculations. I react to real issues. If they are speculations, they should be allowed to die as speculation.â€