The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has nominated former Speaker of the House of Representatives and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, to mediate in the crisis rocking the party.
The cold war within the party became public knowledge earlier this week when the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in a letter, called for the immediate resignation of its national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
Whereas, Odigie-Oyegun has not made a definite pronouncement on the call for his resignation, saying he would only speak after the governorship election in Ondo State, sources within the party said that the Presidency and some party stalwarts have since Sunday, been working round the clock to nip the crisis in the bud, leading to the nomination of Tambuwal to interface with the aggrieved Tinubu for an amicable resolution of the crisis.
Tambuwal, who went into action immediately, was at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday afternoon, to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on how far he has gone on his assignment and to take further briefing. The party, it was gathered, took the step to avert further crisis in the party, which already appears fractured.
The peace move appears to be yielding result as Tinubu yesterday reiterated his unflinching loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari and the party. In a statement by his media office, yesterday, he declared that he remains a staunch APC stalwart and supporter of the APC government under the leadership of President Buhari. “Tinubu is preoccupied with assisting to find solutions to the present challenges now confronting us as a nation,” the statement read.
While reacting to stories, especially on the social media, following his letter to the national chairman of the APC, Tinubu described the stories as false, and urged unsuspecting Nigerians to ignore the lies, describing them as the handiwork of “some fifth columnists who seek to drive a wedge between these leaders.”
Recall that Tinubu in his letter to Odigie-Oyegun, on Sunday, condemned the role allegedly played by the national chairman in the just concluded governorship primary election of the party in Ondo state, saying the latter violated democratic principles.
According to the letter made available to journalists by his media office, the former Lagos State governor berated the party chairman for submitting the name of former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), Rotimi Akeredolu, as the candidate of the party for the forthcoming governorship election, scheduled for November this year.
While Tinubu maintained that the process that produced Akeredolu in the September 3, 2016, governorship primary was fraudulent and undemocratic, he noted that it was wrong of the former Edo state governor to have overruled the decision of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) which called for a rerun of the election, by submitting Akeredolu’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s candidate for the November poll.
“Several candidates filed petitions contesting the result. The party established an investigative board to review the evidence. In a two to one decision, the panel found the delegate roster had suffered tampering. The panel recommended that a new primary should be held using the valid delegate list. This recommendation was tabled before the National Working Committee (NWC).
“After many hours of deliberations spanning several days, a final vote was held by the NWC. Beforehand, NWC members agreed that the decision of the majority would become the stance of the party. Such is the way of democracy. The NWC voted six against five to cancel the fraudulent results and hold an honest primary. For a moment, it seemed the party would restore its integrity by giving democracy a chance. However, those who sought to scam an entire state would not let the vote of 11 people spoil their enterprise.
“After the NWC vote, a noticeably agitated Chairman Oyegun proposed the NWC engage in prayer before concluding the meeting. Adhering to this chairman’s request, NWC members began to pray. Seeing that the others had taken his bait, Oyegun used the prayerful interlude to secretly excuse himself from the meeting.
“Contravening the NWC decision and in violation of all rules of fundamental decency, Oyegun decided to safeguard the fraud done in Ondo by perpetrating a greater fraud. Oyegun arrogated to himself the right to submit the name of Rotimi Akeredolu to INEC as the candidate of the party,” it stated.