APC House of Commotion

Though the All Progressives Congress managed to suppress the crises that rocked it ahead of the 2023 general election, its victory in the February 25 presidential election is about to force a change in the leadership of the party and potentially instigate another crisis, as the call for the resignation of the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu grows, Adedayo Akinwale writes

The emergence of the presidential candidate of the  All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu as the president-elect is already creating an uneasy calm in the ruling party, with the growing calls for the resignation of the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and the party’s National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore.

The call for the resignation of the duo, which would eventually culminate in an Emergency National Convention stemmed from the fact that the President-elect and the Vice President-elect are both Muslims.

The party’s National Vice Chairman, North-west, Dr. Salihu Lukman, was the first to stir the hornet’s nest in a statement which he issued where he argued that it was important that before May 29, 2023 when Tinubu would be sworn in as President, every step must be taken to rectify any situation that might be used to continue divisive campaigns and propaganda against the APC and its control of federal government.

He said his call for Adamu’s resignation was not a witch-hunt, but part of the sacrifice the ruling party must make to douse tension in the country. He explained that every necessary step should be taken to inject a change of leadership for the party so that a new national chairman who is a Christian takes over. 

To him, Adamu has done an excellent job to manage a successful campaign to win the 2023 election with all the attendant challenges.

He, however, was of the view that there should be no difficulty in convincing Adamu to resign to create opportunity for a new National Chairman of APC to emerge from the same geo-political zone.

Lukman posited that such an issue might require an Emergency National Convention because if the hierarchy of the current leadership is followed, the successor to Adamu would be Senator Abubakar Kyari who is also a Muslim from North-East.

He added that apart from changing the National Chairman, there would also be the need to also recognise the case of the National Secretary of the party. According to him, Omisore has become a source of stronger dispute in the Osun State chapter of the party.

Moreso, he maintained that to save Osun State and bring it back to its old standard of national political reckoning, Omisore would need to resign for a new unifying National Secretary to be elected. 

He argued that rather than serving as a unifying factor for the party’s leadership in Osun State, Omisore has become a divisive factor, which may have been responsible for the party’s loss of the 2022 governorship election to someone he described as a political mediocre whose only qualification in politics may appear to be his comic dancing skill. 

Also, while featuring on a live programme of a national television,  Lukman alleged that Omisore mismanaged campaign funds given to him by the party to prosecute the Osun State governorship election.

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  Senator Ademola Adeleke won the July 16, 2022 governorship election after defeating Gboyega Oyetola of the APC.

“We must emphasize that acting as a party requires that we activate the organs of the party to function. And I think this is the struggle we have been waging and once the organs of the party are not working, then even the capacity to hold leaders to account will be weak. And that is where we are and that is partly what is producing some of the unhealthy development in (the party). For instance, Osun State, which is part of the reason why I said the National Secretary has failed, in terms of stabilising Osun and uniting people.

“Part of the issue with that is that I’m aware the party has given some campaign funds to Osun which was handled by the National Secretary and to some extent, he has either mismanaged it but more importantly, he’s not accounting to anybody and you have to activate the process of accountability. And for me, I think as part of the process of accountability in order to stabilise Osun, I think the National Secretary should also vacate his seat,” he explained.

While Adamu has not responded to Lukman’s call for his resignation, Omisore did with a threat to sue him for accusing him of mismanaging the party’s election campaign funds.

In a letter he wrote through his attorney dated March 15, and addressed to Lukman, which was also titled, ‘Request for a retraction, an apology, and payment of damages for the libelous statement made of and concerning the person of Senator Iyiola Omisore in your press release and publication’, Omisore declared that the allegation had caused damage to his character and integrity. 

He emphasised that the allegation made against him was false in all ramifications, while insisting that he was neither given any money to prosecute the Osun State governorship election nor did he mismanage the non-existing campaign funds.

He noted that it was clear beyond doubt that Lukman’s statement was a political ploy with the intent to impugn his reputation, integrity  and unjustifiably assassinate his character in the eyes of right-thinking members of the public.

The letter read: “Our client has consequently directed us to request for a retraction of your libelous statement and publication and an apology to be published in two major newspapers and several online news outlets not later than 48 hours of the delivery of this letter and also the payment of the sum of N500 million as damages for malicious statement against our client.

“Take notice that if you fail to heed the request of our client within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter, we shall be constrained to proceed to the court of law against you for exemplary damages for injurious falsehood and malicious statement made of and concerning our client.”

But in a swift reaction, Lukman described Omisore’s threat as an attempt to bully him, adding that he would respond properly.

 “My immediate reaction is that this is an attempt to bully me but I will respond to him properly,” Lukman said.

He drew an analogy from what happened in the PDP, saying the same scenario was partly what created the rift between the PDP and the G-5 governors. 

“The whole objective of this is to be able to begin to douse the tension, but more importantly to get the party and the moral authority to try the process of negotiation in constituting the leadership of the next government,” he argued.

Buttressing his point, he noted that what was witnessed as support for the Labour Party and PDP in the February 25 elections was a protest against the APC.

“What you see as the support for the Labour Party and even the support for the PDP, I can prove it, is a protest vote against the APC; no more no less. And what we should continue asking ourselves constantly, what is it that we have done that is producing this protest vote? And we need to respond to it in a way that  really gives confidence to Nigerians that we are truly that party of change, in which Nigerians have confidence in 2015 and 2019, and will continue to have confidence in 2023 and beyond. I think that is the challenge before all of us,” Lukman said.

Consequently, if the ruling party does not want to go the way of PDP, the party has no choice than to organise an emergency National Convention to effect the needed changes in the leadership of the party. 

Similarly, it is important that leaders of the party urgently intervene in the faceoff between Lukman and Omisore. The former Deputy Governor of Osun State is not someone that will run away from the battle, and Lukman still wearing his ‘aluta’ toga will not back down. It is on this premise that an intervention is urgently needed before the fight between the duo gets out of hand and plunges the ruling party into a post-election crisis.

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