- Buhari aims to unite party after fractured primaries
Disturbed by their inability to have their way, some members of the president’s kitchen cabinet and a host of governors are plotting against the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
The governors, about 15 in number along side their allies in the presidency wants the chairman out of office as soon as possible and replaced with someone more amenable to their demands and interests. Their disaffection with their chairman stems from their inability to impose their candidates on the party to fly its flag in various elective positions.
The plot is thickening just as the president is taking steps to reunite the party following the disaffections and bad blood created by its recent divisive primaries.
However, Oshiomhole has fought back saying that everything he is doing is for the masses of the party and not about to pander to interests of a clique within the party who are driven by a sense of entitlement.
Oshiomhole was said to have clearly warned that he is not about to compromise his principle just to please a few.
THISDAY gathered that the outcome of the recent primary elections, which left the party more divided, had become a source of serious concern to stakeholders in the party. Oshiomhole is being accused of not playing fair thereby creating the mood for the divisions and defections that have plaqued the party.
Sources within the presidency alligned in the plot against Oshiomhole claimed that even when some of the challenges were seen ahead of time and brought to his notice, Oshiomhole mismanaged the situations, with grave consequences for the party and fear Atiku Abubakar’s growing momentum.
The sources noted that when the crises, which arose from the primary election, started, the president had personally given a directive to the national chairman about six times on what to do. But he disregarded the orders because of his personal interest and continued with what he thought was the best even when he was not getting results. The situation was said to have gotten so bad that Oshiomhole started avoiding the president and refused to honour his invitations. All these were seen as constituting great danger to the party.
THISDAY learnt that those to perfect Oshiomhole’s removal had already been deployed and they had commenced the task quietly, even though not necessarily to the knowledge of the president.
The president’s men were equally said to be worried about the role Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and some prominent members of the party had played which seemed to embolden the national chairman.
Oshiomhole’s Fight Back
Interestingly, multiple sources close to Oshiomhole confided in THISDAY that some of the governors are against Oshiomhole because they could not have their way with him, adding that contrary to insinuations, the national chairman had the backing of the president in all he has been doing in the party. For instance, the sources maintained that ahead of the recent primaries, some of the governors, apart from completely controlling the list of the delegates in their respective states, had approached Oshiomhole to have an idea of the panel members to be sent to their states, but Oshiomhole turned down the requests, telling them “you cannot have the players and the referee.”
According to the sources, Oshiomhole pointedly told the governors that they were the ones who made him chairman to clean up the Augean stable and that if things must change, they had to consciously change the approach. He also noted that if he had his way, there would be direct primaries in all the states to give every APC member a sense of belonging in the running of the party. He told them he was not going to pander to any interest other than the interest of the party. “And that he would not bend his principle to please them. Of course the governors interpreted this to mean that Oshiomhole was working against their interests.”
But in a related development, the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, was said to have stopped Oshiomhole from accessing the president’s residence in Aso Rock. Mrs Buhari was alleged to have insisted that if the APC national chairman needed to see the president, he should meet him in his office, which is, however, still within the Three Arms Zone.
Mrs Buhari has not hidden her disgust over Oshiomhole’s alleged mismanagement of the party and she is said to be part of the plan to remove him. She is said to have passed an order to the president’s security personnel not to allow Oshiomhole come within the presidential residence.
It would be recalled that the First Lady had some weeks ago chided the APC leadership over the way it managed the party primaries and the aftermath, saying the party and its leadership have betrayed the very essence of democratic ethos and had descended into sheer fascism.
Aisha Buhari’s outburst, even though she was believed to have been irked over her brother, Mahmud Halilu Ahmed’s inability to clinch Adamawa State’s governorship ticket, had set the tone for the current move to finally get Oshiomhole out of the way. She is, apparently, cashing in on the general mood of other stakeholders in the party and the danger his disposition had put her husband.
Although the removal of a party’s national chairman is not easy, as it would require a long process, culminating even in a national convention, those pushing for Oshiomhole’s removal believe that he has become so unpopular among the top echelon of the party that his removal would be an easy ride.