Oshiomhole, APC and Bayelsa Verdict: Time to Act is Now

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Osaigbovo Ehanire warns that the temperament of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress may result in damaging consequences to the party

The announcement by the Supreme Court of the removal of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governor-elect, David Lyon, is now etched in annals of Nigeria’s political history. It is going to remain a reference point for years to come on how a party should never conduct its affairs in an election.

What makes the colossal loss very unfortunate is the fact that it could not only have been avoided easily, but there have been recent experiences that could have guided the leadership of the party on what to and not do.

There was a similar case in Taraba State, where a candidate’s cost the party dearly. In Zamfara State, the party’s apparatus is in shambles due to the highhandedness of the party leadership under the guidance of the ‘suspended’ National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. The Rivers episode is even more heartbreaking as the party could not even present a candidate during the elections. Some of these issues played out in Oyo State, while other instances can be sited in Ogun State.

If the person heading the party has the requisite leadership quotient, he would have learnt a few lessons from these experiences.

Now, we are heading for elections in Edo and Ondo states. What would happen in Edo State is already in fixed deposit. Comrade Oshiomhole has continuously and intentionally been promoting disaffection in the party.

Even though the Edo State Governor is performing so well, because he wants to be the only one to call the shorts, Oshiomhole is fueling crisis to destabilise the party and the state government.

One of the frontrunners of Comrade Oshiomhole’s campaign to unseat Governor Obaseki is the former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who has a running corruption case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft agency filed charges against Ize-Iyamu and four others bordering on illegal receipt of public funds for the purpose of the 2015 general election, contrary to the provisions of the EFCC Act and the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

Others being arraigned with Ize-Iyamu include the Chairman of the Edo State chapter of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, a former deputy governor, Mr. Lucky Imasuen; a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Tony Azegbemi; and one Efe Anthony.

The EFCC accused the defendants of conspiring among themselves to commit the offence in March, 2015. It alleged that they took possession and control of the funds without any contract award.

The next court date for this matter is March 2, 2020.

Other aspirants being projected by Oshiomhole are people Oshiomhole has had to say damning things about in the past. Oshiomhole, for instance, has said uncomplimentary things about his erstwhile deputy governor, Dr. Pius Odubu. The same trend of accusations can be traced to other aspirants he is now fronting.

In Ondo, something of similar proportion is happening with rumours that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is likely going to be ambushed.

Many who know Oshiomhole have emphatically stated that he lacks the aptitude and temperament to occupy the office of the National Chairman. He does not have the disposition and attitude. If nothing is done urgently, the ruling party will pay the ultimate price.

Members of the party are already losing faith because they see it as essentially a one-man-show. The approach of operating like a bull in a China shop has not gotten us anywhere, at best it has set the party further on the path of perdition.

What led to the downfall of the PDP is playing out actively in the APC with the way Oshiomhole is handling the affairs of the party. Once members lose confidence in the leadership of the party, they either be inert or go elsewhere. Our party promised change, now it can not even manage its own affairs because of the actions and inactions of one man.

On the unfortunate episode in Bayelsa State, it must be pointed out that it is unforgivable to adopt an individual who presented five certificates with different names and when it was spotted, the party hierarchy failed to take advantage of the window to substitute the candidate.

All these flaws flow from the dysfunctional leadership which exalts might over right and has absolute disregard for due process and the law, which is the hallmark of Oshiomhole’s leadership style.

The damage done by Comrade Oshiomhole to the APC is incalculable. It happened in Taraba, in Zamfara and in Rivers because of the same recourse to subverting established norms for personal interest.

Comrade Oshiomhole is hiding under the shadow of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to carry out these heinous infractions against the party. He has been conducting the party’s affairs from his castle in Aso Drive in Abuja, alienating all else and leaving the National Secretariat desolate.

Although after the loss in the governorship election in Taraba State on the basis of age falsification by the party’s candidate, Oshiomhole said he would constitute committees to screen candidates so the party would guide against fielding candidates with questionable dates of birth, educational qualifications and various errors which the opposition party could latch on to snatch victory after losing at the polls.

However, the ‘suspended’ National Chairman’s actions have betrayed this charge as the party still lost out because of inconsistencies in a candidate’s certificates in the Bayelsa election. With this, it has been established that what Oshiomhole says is different from what he does.

Comrade Oshiomhole suffers from a terrible challenge of self-righteousness; he suffers from ego-induced delusions. He cannot be trusted to lead. The time to act is now to save the APC from imminent decomposition.

Failure to act now will result in the rapid disintegration of our party. It will be like atomic fission, an endless reaction which no one would be able to stop.

*Ehanire writes from Lagos