•Says ex-NWC members can seek reelection
- Debunks insinuations that he busied himself with politicking regarding 2023
By Adedayo Akinwale
National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has reacted to the dissolution of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress by the National Executive Committee at a meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying ‘the President has spoken and his decision has been accepted.’
Speaking on the issue for the first time on Saturday, Tinubu in a statement, also said that contrary to insinuations in some quarters, he has not busied himself with politicking regarding 2023 presidency.
He stressed that under the collective stewardship of the NWC, the party earned great and important victories, including second mandate handed to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The former Governor of Lagos State noted that Buhari’s victory, and the overall electoral success of APC speaks highly of the dissolved NWC, adding that the task at hand now is to build upon the progress already made.
He however acknowledged that something important had gone off track, as the ruling party experienced growing disagreement within the leadership of the party for some months.
This unfortunate competition, he noted, had grown so intense as to impair the performance of the NWC, thus undermining the internal cohesion and discipline vital to success.
According to Tinubu, “the trouble is not that we would forfeit our collective existence, but whether we were in danger of losing our collective purpose. In some ways, this possibility is of greater concern. A political party that has lost sight of the reason for its existence becomes but the vehicle of blind and clashing ambitions. This is not what drove the APC’s creation.”
He added: “The National Working Committee, itself, became riven by unnecessary conflict. Those who disagreed with one another stopped trying to find common ground. Attempts were made to use the power of executive authority to bury each other. I must be blunt here. This is the behaviour of a fight club not the culture of a progressive political party.
“Some members went against their chairman in a bid to forcefully oust him. In hindsight, his fence-mending attempts were perhaps too little too late. I believed and continue to believe that Comrade Oshiomhole tried his best. Mistakes were made and he must own them. Yet, we must remember also that he was an able and enthusiastic campaigner during the 2019 election. He is a man of considerable ability as are the rest of you who constituted the NWC.
“It had been my hope that the disagreements could be resolved. After all, a political solution should not be beyond the ken of leaders of a major political party. But such resolution has failed to materialise. It was as if some unseen but strong force continued to stoke the embers. Instead of calling a prudent ceasefire, too many people sought more destructive weapons against one another.”
The party chieftain explained that when the crisis first came to a boil a few months ago, he issued a statement against litigious tendency.
He said after a series of lawsuits and countersuits, two NWC members laid competing claims to the chairmanship, saying while one was legitimately elected at the national convention; the latter’s claim was based on the questionable suspension of the former.
Tinubu noted that with lawsuits so numerous one needed a spread sheet to keep track, hence the decision of President Buhari to put a stop to the crisis.
He noted: “I do not lament his intervention or its outcome. I lament that the situation degenerated to the point where he felt compelled to intervene.
President Buhari is much more than a mere beneficiary of the party. He is one of its founding fathers. The APC does not exist in its current form without his singular contributions. That is not opinion; it is undisputed fact.
“The President has spoken and his decision has been accepted. It is now beholden on all of us, as members of the APC, to recommit ourselves to the ideals and principles on which our party was founded. While we recognize that people have personal ambitions, those ambitions are secondary, not sacrosanct. Members must subordinate their ambitions to health and well-being of the party. Never should our party be defined by one person’s interests or even the amalgam of all members’ individual interests. A successful party must be greater than the sum of its parts.”
The national leader also appealed to all former members of the NWC and all members of the party to sheathe their swords and look to the larger picture.
He said that party members should concentrate their energy on the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
Tinubu said: “In addition to the daily operation of the party, the Caretaker Committee has the mandate to prepare for a mini national convention within six months. We must give the committee the support needed to fulfil this assignment in an impartial manner.
“As I understand it, no one has been precluded from seeking any party office to which he is otherwise eligible. Former NWC members are free to seek re-election to the NWC. Provided they have the support of party members, they will have an opportunity to return to serve the party in a leadership capacity. This reflects our overriding desire to restore and maintain internal democracy not subvert it.”
On his purported 2023 ambition, Tinubu said, “To those who have been actively bleating how the President’s actions and the NEC meeting have ended my purported 2023 ambitions, I seek your pity. I am but a mere mortal who does not enjoy the length of foresight or political wisdom you profess to have. Already, you have assigned colourful epitaphs to the 2023 death of an alleged political ambition that is not yet even born.
“At this extenuating moment with COVID-19 and its economic fallout hounding us, I cannot see as far into the distance as you. I have made no decision regarding 2023 for the concerns of this hour are momentous enough.
“During this period, I have not busied myself with politicking regarding 2023. I find that a bit distasteful and somewhat uncaring particularly when so many of our people have been unbalanced by the twin public health and economic crises we face. I have devoted these last few months to thinking of policies that may help the nation in the here and now. What I may or may not do 3 years hence seems too remote given present exigencies.”