Oshiomhole: My APC Leadership Supported ‘Otoge’ in Kwara, Abiodun’s Campaign with N1.6bn

•Says refusal to be yes man to governors led to his removal

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

A former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Adams Oshiomhole, has revealed that the National Working Committee (NWC) under his leadership supported the electioneering campaign of the “otoge” revolution in Kwara state and the Dapo Abiodun governorship campaign with N1.6 billion.

He however, added that his refusal to be a “yes-man” to the governors elected on the platform of the party led to his removal as the chairman of the party.

He said a former National Vice Chairman, North-west of the part, Dr. Salihu Lukman, who condemned and castigated his leadership never saw anything wrong in his illegal removal as the party chairman.

Oshiomhole disclosed this on yesterday in Abuja during  the public presentation of a book, titled: “APC and Transition Politics”, authored by Lukman.

His words: “Lukman believes that by writing  he’s going to change a system that is deeply entrenched. I think for me, that is a costly mistake. It is not going to happen.

“Nobody is doing anything out of ignorance. There could be a few people who are. It is  about class interests. It is about battle. It  is about cautiously working for you to get what you want.

“There are two kinds of criticism. You can criticise in order to find solution, you can also criticise in order to create an embarrassment not because you seek solution. 

“Sometimes, I wonder if Lukman’s criticism  was meant to cause a change, or it is meant to just create tension and then he is seen as a reverend father, who commits no sin.”

Oshiomhole was of the view that Lukman could offer advice in-house without going on the pages of newspapers, saying  it was the family tradition that those issues were better discussed quietly within the family and effect correction if anything was not right.

He added: “There is no family that can succeed if each time you have a different opinion, you take a page in one of the newspapers and expose all the things that are going on in the family. There is no clean family.”

The former Edo State governor noted that Lukman wrote several letters virtually dismissing his leadership without calling him. 

He said Lukman was there when he wrote a letter inviting the governors for a meeting to discuss the guidelines for conducting primaries so that the party would know the thinking of various interest groups, having  discussed with the president.

“So, I wrote to the governor’s for a meeting. The governor said no, I should go to Imo house, not APC office. He was at the governors’ office, he  didn’t see anything wrong with that.

“The governors have  already taken decision because Chairman sir (Ganduje), if you have not faced it already, you will face it. The only difference is if the president decides to intervene, and moderate you will be lucky.

“In my own case, we had a president who was not ready to intervene. The governors summoned me as the chairman of the party to their own preferred venue, not the one that I wrote them, we have an office which the party hired

“And one by one, to the hearing of Lukman, they told me they are the generals in the field. The know the terrain. I cannot tell them this. Some were banging the table, you can’t do this, Some were threatening they could have left the party.

“I just want you to understand this game of power, particularly internal democracy in our political parties. I didn’t beg to be chairman, but I was honoured to be elected as one.

“When they  finished, I said in anger but also I meant every word I said. I said none of you here can lecture me about the powers of a governor because I have been governor twice.

“The man in Ogun State then said if not because of  the president, he will leave the party, I cannot dictate to him. What is the dictation? And then he said you are working for your paymaster in Lagos, paymaster in Bourdillon.

“They have the suspicion that is not informed by anything. So, I am not capable of thinking? Is there any living Nigerian, who thinks I am a coward? You can accuse me of everything, not being a coward.

“And I told him, if really I am being paid by Bourdillon, they are my paymaster, You, (not the current governor), I was your paymaster and you are not loyal to President Buhari because if you were, when Buhari lost election, you ported to APC in search of political greener pastures.

“You begged Asiwaju to beg Segun Osoba to accept you when you lost in ANPP and today you are coming to say you are loyal. What manner of loyalty, that is what they called opportunism.

“I’m sorry my language is not what you expect, but that is just who I am. The truth must be told if Nigeria must change. That was how I left that meeting.

“They  harassed me, Lukman was with the governors’ forum, they held a  meeting, they decided that they will tell me who they want to be governor. I will work to the answer, I will do all formalities but whoever they want must emerge.

“And I said you are talking to the wrong person. I won’t  mortgage neither my office nor the authority of the NWC. I believe Lanre Onilu… they were there. I said you can take the job and I will keep my conscience, but I will not mortgage  my conscience to keep the job. If it pleases you to take it, take it, and they took it.”

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