- Ogun gov: He is meddlesome, hypocritical
- Imo gov: We aren’t surprised by his actions, denies $2m bribe allegation
Olawale Olaleye in Lagos, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Amby Uneze in Owerri
Ogun State Governor Ibikuun Amosun and his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha, yesterday continued their diatribes of denunciation against the national chairman of their party, All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, after failing to win the acceptance of their favoured governorship candidates. The party practically scrambled to meet the November 2 deadline given by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to political parties for the submission of their lists of candidates for next year’s governorship and House of Assembly elections. But it was forced to drop contentious candidates that emerged from its recent controversial primaries and make last minute substitutions as the time allowed for parties to send their candidates’ lists ended on Friday.
Amosun described as hypocritical the basis for Oshiomhole’s rejection of the primary elections in the state, when they were based on the same consensus arrangement that brought him into office.
He accused the national chairman of lacking respect for truth and decency.
He was reacting to statements credited to Oshiomhole, accusing him and Okorocha of desperation in the bid to determine their successors.
The Ogun State governor, who spoke in a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Adedayo Adeneye, alleged that the plot by Oshiomhole and his “collaborators to hijack the government of Ogun State and hand it over to a gang of rapacious expansionists in the South-west will fail.”
He added, “This is, however, without prejudice to the sanctity of the consensus arrangement, which Adams Oshiomhole hypocritically tries to demonise. Nigerians will recall that Oshiomhole himself was elected National Chairman of the APC by consensus arrangement, which witnessed all other contestants to the office being prevailed upon to step down for him.
“The ground on which Oshiomhole disputes the gubernatorial primary in Ogun State is that the result was not announced by the State Electoral Committee from Abuja, therefore the governor resorted to self-help. We wonder why Oshiomhole accepted the result of the primary election in Lagos State, whose result was also not announced by the State Electoral Panel. Why will the same scenario be acceptable in Lagos State but regarded as self-help in Ogun State? Is it because it was executed by the Capo Di Tutti in Lagos State?”
He maintained that the only governorship primary held in the state was that of October 2, which produced Hon. Adekunle Akinlade as governorship candidate of APC. He stated that the emergence of Akinlade was initially through a consensus arrangement, as allowed by the party’s constitution, but it was subjected to a primary election, when some aspirants disagreed with the outcome of the consensus arrangement.
The statement said, “We wish to call the attention of Nigerians to another evil being perpetrated by Oshiomhole in Ogun State. As at today November 03, which is 24 hours after the deadline for submission of names of candidates for the House of Assembly, Oshiomhole has not given INEC Party Candidate Form (CF001) to any of the 26 candidates, who won the primaries for the tickets to contest for the Ogun State House of Assembly.
“The primary was conducted on October 07 by the State Electoral Committee headed by Col. Ali Ciroma. This is despite the fact that the state chairman of the party had kept vigil at the national secretariat of the APC in the last two weeks to collect the forms. If Oshiomhole is denying the outcome of the gubernatorial primaries, because the State Electoral Committee shied away from announcing the result, what is the reason for denying all the 26 candidates for the House of Assembly freely elected by members of the APC in Ogun State?
“We want Nigerians to note the duplicity and meddlesomeness of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his gang in the affairs of the APC in Ogun State. It is also important to note that Oshiomhole unilaterally replaced four of the nine winners of the primary election into the House of Representatives. These include Hon. Mikhail Kazzim, a serving member of the House who won the primaries by defeating Olumide, the son of Chief Olusegun Osoba, with 28,802 votes to Osoba’s 4,209.
“Oshiomhole removed Hon. Kazzim who won the primaries and replaced him with the man he had serially defeated, not only in the last primary election but also in the general election of 2015. In yet another instance in Ado Odo-Ota Federal Constituency, Oshiomhole substituted the winner of the primary for the House of Representatives, Hon. Rotimi Rahmon, with the name of Hon. Jimoh Ojugbele, who did not even contest to go back to the House of Representatives but contested the primary for the Senate and was defeated.
“In his conduct, Oshiomhole is opening a new chapter in the history of elections in Nigeria – a situation, where a gang of desperate politicians will sit somewhere in another state and write the result of an election that never took place – what our people creatively refer to as ‘Offshore Rigging!’ This is what Oshiomhole and his gang are trying to foist on Ogun State. Lawyers say ‘you cannot build something on nothing’, Oshiomhole and his gang are trying to build a storey building of fraud on nothing.”
Dismissing claims by Oshiomole that he withdrew the security of the State Electoral Committee, whose chairman, Indabawa, is a retired Commissioner of Police, Amsoun said the man came with a full complement of police security, which he claimed was provided for him by a Deputy Inspector General of Police.
The governor said, “All of these have clearly shown that the motive of Oshiomhole is not the rule of law, which he proclaims on the roof top. It is rather, an evil plan with some collaborators, desperate to hijack the government of Ogun State and add it to the harem of states under their rapacious gang of exploiters.
“As we have stated before, this evil design will not succeed in Ogun State. Our people are too educated, exposed and sophisticated to come under such odious arrangement. On a general note, Oshiomhole, who became the APC Chairman barely three months ago, is already threatening to write the epitaph of the party in his 100 days of ignominy.”
In his own reaction, Okorocha, whose brother-in-law, Uche Nwosu’s candidature was dropped, said his administration was not surprised by the latest outburst of Oshiomhole. The governor responded through his chief press secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo.
According to Okorocha, “With all that Adams Oshiomhole had said and done, he has only shown that he was the brain behind the film a man like Ahmed Gulak acted in Owerri as the leader of the 12-Member Committee sent to Conduct the APC Primaries in the State. And it is unfortunate that the National Chairman could encourage Gulak to flee Owerri by 4:30am to avoid carrying out the assignment he was sent to Owerri to do.
“It has also shown that disbanding Gulak’s committee, cancelling all that emanated from that committee and setting up the Brigadier-General Ibrahim Agbabiaka Committee for the Conduct of fresh primaries in the state were all deceitful. We will now work to know whether such deceit would destroy all that the duly and properly constituted Agbabiaka’s Committee did.
“Also, ignoring the report of Prof. Osunbor’s Appeal Panel that declared Uche Nwosu the candidate of APC in the state was also an indication that Comrade had abinitio made up his mind on Hope Uzodinma.
“However, steps would be taken to prove that deceits do not pay. We won’t allow these deceits just go like that without having them challenged.
“And if the National Chairman of APC had monitored Owerri since he announced Chief Uzodinma as his preferred candidate, he would have appreciated the enormous implication of his faulty action.”
Oshiomhole had accused Okorocha of trying to build a political dynasty, and this was described as blackmail by Okorocha. Oshiomhole said it was wrong for him to be struggling to go to the Senate and his in-law, Nwosu, was wanting to be governor.
He stated, “Governor Okorocha is not the only governor who would want to be in the Senate after leaving office. A good number of the ex-governors are either in the Senate or had been in the Senate. He is not also the first governor to have a successor at the end of his tenure as governor. Uche Nwosu being his in-law cannot be allowed to decide the political fate of the young man.
“We know the reason for all these. Time will tell. It has nothing to do with Uche Nwosu being an in-law to Governor Okorocha. Even the issue has equally put our democracy on trial, whether being an in-law to a governor should become an inhibition to one’s political pursuit.”
On the $2 million Ahmed Gulak alleged that Okorocha offered him to favour Nwosu, Onwuemeodo wondered why it took Gulak over one month to publicise his claim.
“All these are their antics to blackmail Governor Okorocha. How come he fled from the state by 4.30am and since that time till now, he had not revealed that he was offered such money by the governor,” Onwuemeodo stated.
Meanwhile, Oshiiomhole has also apologised to Archbishop Anthony Obinna of the Owerri Diocese and the entire Christian community in Imo State over what he described as the lack of respect exhibited to the church by Okorocha. Oshiomhole alleged that Okorocha’s personal battle with the Christian community in Imo State was a matter between him and the Catholic Church.
The APC national chairman stated, “We in APC, we are not party to that. We do not want our party to be dragged into such contestation because it will not be helpful to us. Our road to power is election by the people, we cannot antagonise the people.
“Even the ordinary man in Imo is entitled to respect, not to talk of the leaders of the Christian community. And so we distance ourself from all of those things that Rochas has done which has been a source of huge embarrassment to our party which sometimes we have been able to manage in-house. So I sincerely apologise to Bishop Obinna and Christians in Imo State.”
Oshiomhole maintained that the APC was at peace with itself, noting however that “peace does not mean absence of some murmuring or grumbles. We are not looking for grave yard peace, we want functioning peace. People can have some arguments, some reservations but with time it will heal. So I want to assure all those who are genuinely aggrieved, I have a duty along with my colleagues in the NWC to work to heal wounds, for reconciliations.
“So we are setting up various panels, groups of eminent leaders drawn from APC, statesmen and women within our party who we believe can help us to talk to all those who are aggrieved so that we can talk to all those who are aggrieved so that we sort out all the grievances and approach the next coming election as a functioning party and by the special grace of God, we will win.”