As Oshiomhole Takes Office, Buhari Says APC Will Serve Nigeria Better

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  • You’re a non-democrat, busy-body, Tinubu tells Obasanjo
  • Saraki, Dogara demand justice, fair play

By Nseobong Okon, Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Alex Enumah in Abuja

With the new National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, taking office yesterday, the ruling party is set to give Nigerians a better deal, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

Oshiomhole, who was elected by popular acclamation at the national convention of the party on Saturday night, took office yesterday along with the new executive members who would run the affairs of the APC for the next four years.

The president said in Abuja that Nigerians should expect to see more development as the new party leadership settles down, adding that the country would be taken to greater heights.

The moment was also used by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to reel out the achievements recoded by the APC-led administration, saying the party was poised to do more if re-elected in 2019.

For former governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, it was an opportunity to tackle the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, describing him as a busy-body and a non-democrat.

The former governor wondered why Obasanjo would ask Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019, adding that the former president, who he referred to as his uncle, had done worst things during his presidency than Buhari.

Tinubu made the assertions yesterday while speaking at the party’s national elective convention at the Eagle Square, Abuja.

Obasanjo had written a letter in January asking Buhari not to seek re-election in the forthcoming 2019 presidential election for lack of capacity.

However, Tinubu who has vowed to support Buhari’s re-election bid, slammed Obasanjo, describing the former president as busy-body retired general and an election rigger.

Tinubu said, “This man has the temerity of writing a letter. What is your business, busy body? Unfortunately, he has torn the card of his party so he does not have one anymore. They say I should not follow this man. Thank you Muhammadu Buhari for the work you are doing.”

While lampooning Obasanjo further, Tinubu said that Nigerians could not forget that it was during the reign of that a governor was impeached by a minority in a state legislature.

“I remember one uncle back then who had being a general himself and who had been elected president; I call him election rigger, he had the effrontery to say Buhari must not run again, in which party? Thank God he is not a member of our party. We hold our future in our hands. So, what is your business busybody? Unfortunately he has torn the card of his previous party, his own legacy, so he has no home no more,” he said.

To President Buhari, the APC leader said, “Run you must, don’t give up. Come rain, come sun shine you will win.”

Speaking on weekend’s national convention, Tinubu said the APC had shown internal democratic process in its change of leadership that was not marred with violence.

“We have changed leaders of our party – not at gun point. Ask Audu Ogbeh. Thank God we have been able to stop looting and abuse of power,” Tinubu said.

The former governor said contrary to the assertion of naysayers, the party did not explode at the convention.

Tinubu said Oshiomhole was a true reflection of the saying, “No matter how short a man is, he will see the sky.”

The former Lagos governor, while thanking Buhari for presenting himself to run for another term, asked the new National Working Committee (NWC) not to abuse the trust that has been reposed in them.

In his remarks, Senate President Bukola Saraki, said the responsibility of leadership was to address challenges, urging the party not to pretend that there were no challenges to be addressed.

“Intention of all of us is to make Nigeria better,” Saraki said.

Saraki while congratulating Oshiomhole said the new chairman has all it takes to do the job.

He also commended Oyegun for showing competence in wielding the various entities that make up the party together.

On whether the APC would be able to repeat the feat it recorded in 2014, Saraki said it can but has to first surmount the challenges on the way.

While calling for the party and its administration to ensure justice and fair play, the Senate president also said that the party would have to carry everyone along if it must succeed.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, who expressed confidence in the leadership of Oshiomhole, demanded that justice should be done to all and sundry in the APC.

“One issue that I want him to duel with is the issue of justice… It is important for the new leadership of the party to create room for the weak and embrace justice,” Dogara stated.

He also praised former national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun for giving a good account of himself.

He charged the new elected national chairman and other members of the NWC to brace up to the challenges facing the ruling party.

He said that he was sure that Oshiomhole had the capacity to resolve most of the issues, adding if the new leadership searches deeper, it would no doubt find solutions to problems besetting the party.

Speaking shortly after the newly elected NWC members were sworn in to run its affairs for the next four years, Oshiomhole said he would run the affairs of the party, using its constitution and rule book as a guiding angel.

He said he would hit the ground running and ensure that the party becomes a beautiful bride in no distant time.

“I am ready to resume workshop at 8 am Monday and I hope that my brother is ready for the handing over,” he said.

The chairman of the convention committee and governor of Jigawa State, Badaru Abubakar said 59 positions were filled during the APC convention.

According to the governor, 26 positions were declared unopposed while 33 others were decided through election.

Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Dr. Mike Omotosho, has congratulated Oshiomhole over his emergence as the new national chairman of APC. He said he was sure the former Edo State governor had the capacity to succeed.

“I am sure that your tenure as national chairman of the APC will push the party into a new direction- the people’s direction,” he said.