Bolaji Ogundele and Sanni Onogu, Abuja
DIRECTOR-GENERAL of the Progressives Governors Forum Salihu Lukman has come under fire for his constant attack on the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its former chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Lukmon has been issuing statements in his “personal capacity”, attacking the APC and Oshiomhole without being called to order by the Forum of APC governors.
Oshiomhole on Monday said he would not want to wrestle with a pig which is what it means replying Lukman, who said he was pushing for the APC victory in the Edo State governorship election so as to plot his way back on APC national chairman.
Oshiomhole told reporters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday that Lukman is a failed politician who is “being used by cowards” who cannot face him.
He said Lukman was foisted on the Progressives Governors Forum as DG after failing elections, by Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi.
“You want me to engage in a fight with a pig? If you engage in a fight with a pig, the pig already is stained by its nature and you will wear your white garment, and in my own case, khaki to go and wrestle with a pig? I will not.
“You see, what I want the media to interrogate, how does winning Edo…when I was removed as national chairman, Edo was APC…So, do I have to win Edo to become the chairman? Do I look so unemployed? I’m 68.
“So, what they don’t understand is that, it is not the office of chairman that made me who I am. It is my pedigree from my days as labourer in the textile industry to be the general secretary of textile workers all over Nigeria and becoming the president of NLC.
“There is no village I go to that people do not know me and it is this that I used to override the Godfathers in Edo State for two consecutive terms and even got the governor elected through elections, no violence before becoming the national chairman.
“So, if you remove the office, it is like our President now, though I cannot compare myself to him, but it is like President Muhammadu Buhari.
“He bonds with the people, that bond was not created by the fact that he is the president. In fact, he became the president because of that bond.
“So, it takes an empty brain to suggest that Oshiomhole wants to stage a come back to become the national chairman. For what? To go and do a resit?
“So, my attitude is not to reply the noise and it is coming from somebody who says he is an employee and appointee of Progressives Governors Forum. He is just like the cowards that are using him that are not able to come out. Otherwise, you should ask this guy, who is now an election expert.
“He contested for senate against Makarfi, he lost. He even contested against Governor El-rufai during the primaries and he lost, before Fayemi unilaterally appointed him the DG.
“So, if he is now the spokesman abusing me and all of that, you want to drag me to his level? No! A gentleman does not wrestle with a pig, if you do you will always be stained and I don’t want to get into that”, Oshiomhole said.
Senator Ajibola Basiru described Lukman’s utterance as “anti-party”.
In an interview with The Nation, the Osun Central Senator, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, urged the PGF to call its officer to order.
He said: “I just believe that it is not correct for somebody who is even an ordinary sympathiser of our party to be wishing the party bad luck and making divisive statements.
“Of course, just like I told you, I issued the statement in my personal capacity. That is just it.”
On whether any member of the PGF is using the DG to sabotage the efforts of the party, the senator said: “I don’t know, but you can ask him. But even if he is issuing it in his personal capacity, it is not proper for him to do do.
“It is like you belong to a particular group and you are wishing the group failure in what they are doing. I think it is illogical and show treachery and unpatriotic. He has been doing that as if he is in a race with (Adams) Oshiomhole.
“I don’t know the issue he has with Oshiomhole. He has been doing that since Oshiomhole was chairman.
“If he wants to do politics let him go and do politics without using the cloak of the Office of the Progressives Governors to do politics.”
On whether the statements credited to Lukman amounts to anti-party activity, Basiru said: “It so amount and I agree with you. It is anti-party.”
“I think the man is just unnecessarily taking his personal view about Oshiomhole to the level that it does not even consider the effect his demoralising comments can have on our party, which I consider to be anti-party activity and uncharitable to the efforts that the President and all other stakeholders are making for the success of the party in Edo State.”