Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
A former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole yesterday clarified his position on the revalidation exercise of the party, noting that his statement was misinterpreted and misunderstood.
Oshiomhole, also, reaffirmed his loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari, dismissing interpretations in some quarters that his comments on the APC registration and revalidation exercise weeks ago amounted to an affront on the President and the leadership of the APC.
He made this clarification in a statement he issued yesterday, faulting the interpretation of his position on the revalidation exercise as made-up claims unreflective of his intentions when he made the comments.
He had expressed reservations on the ‘revalidation’ tag of the ongoing APC membership registration drive while participating in the exercise in his Iyamho country home, Etsako Local Government Area of Edo State.
He had raised also questions on the constitutional soundness of revalidating existing members who had not rescinded their membership and queried whether or not the exercise, for already registered members, did not amount to double registration.
Reflecting on this, a columnist of a prominent newspaper had speculated that Oshiomhole’s comment “is a manifestation of the ‘awakening’ of ‘his crowd’ in a purported challenge to President Buhari and the present leadership of the APC.”
In his statement yesterday, however, Oshiomhole said his advice on the usage of the word ‘update’ as a better tag for the membership registration exercise, as opposed to the ‘revalidation’ used, was informed by the dictates of section 9.4 of the APC constitution, which prescribes the process of regular update of the register.
He said: “Even in expressing my reservation about the use of the word ‘revalidation’, I also at the same time acknowledged the necessity to carry out the exercise of updating the register: deleting those who have died or resigned, and registering new members.
“In addition, the fact that I left Abuja and travelled all the way to my village in Edo State to again register at my unit and went further to encourage other APC members to do likewise, demonstrates my faith and commitment to the APC.”
Oshiomhole explained that the NWC under his leadership had resolved “to make the same decision before its dissolution. So, I could not have attacked the leadership of the party for the same, as being falsely speculated in some quarters.”
He emphasised his loyalty to Buhari, recounting how the leadership role the president played in his emergence as the APC National Chairman and the support he gave to him in the role despite stiff opposition from certain quarters.
He said the president worked tirelessly “to persuade and campaign to influential leaders and members of the party to support my chairmanship candidature.
“Indeed, as I have said before and it bears repeating that I may not have lasted as long as I did in office, but for the support of Mr. President who on several occasions resisted pressure on him.
“Unlike some others, I am not an ingrate. I remain appreciative of the president’s commendation of my stewardship as Governor of Edo State, a week to the end of my tenure, where he publicly attended two various events in Benin City, including the palace of the Oba of Benin.
“The APC will need my services in Abuja. This commendation understandably triggered mixed feelings and a few saw me as a threat while many others applauded Mr. President’s statement,” Oshiomhole declared.