- APC has no room for emperors Oshiomhole fires back at Okorocha, Amosun
The insistence of Imo State governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha and his Ogun State counterpart on fielding their choice candidates as governorship flagbearers in their respective states despite the position of the All Progressives Party, APC, finally met a brick wall yesterday with the party’s refusal to recognise their candidates.
Specifically, the party’s decision practically dealt a mortal blow to the scheming and horse-trading over the determination of the governors to ensure that their candidates were given the tickets to contest governorship elections in Imo and Ogun states.
At the same time, the APC dismissed the decision of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, barring it from having a governorship candidate in Zamfara State over the failure to meet the deadline for the submission of candidates’ names.
The party said the stance of the electoral umpire was an act of disenfranchisement, aimed at awarding the governorship position in the state to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
These positions which seemed like the highpoints of the fallout of the party’s governorship primaries across the country were taken yesterday in Abuja.
Addressing newsmen to that effect, APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole said the party would not bend its rules for the personal interest of some party members.
Oshiomhole, who spoke on the contentious outcomes of its primaries in Imo, Ogun, Rivers and Zamfara states, said the APC would abide by a Supreme Court judgment on Rivers State.
He added that measures would be put in place for fresh congresses across the state.
The APC National Chairman specifically said Okorocha and Amosun were bent on fielding their choice aspirants at the expense of the party’s constitution.
The duo had recently accused Oshiomhole of being responsible for the crisis in the party.
His words: “On the judgment given by the Supreme Court, as a political party, we respect the judiciary. We also appreciate that democracy is basically about the rule of law and not the rule of might. Based on this fact, which is not a choice, we are obliged to respect the rule of law and at the heart of that is total obedience to the letters and the spirit of judicial findings which are not meant to be convenient. In a democracy, there are orders that need to be obeyed.
Therefore, the judgment of the Supreme Court is very clear that the court has nullified the ward congresses that were done by my predecessor in Rivers State and also nullified the state and local government congresses that were done in the state. What is important is that as things stand, the highest court in the land has pronounced that those congresses did not meet the requirements of the law and are therefore not valid. As a law-abiding party, we accept the decision of the court and we will call a meeting in no distant future of all the stakeholders in Rivers State to put the necessary machinery in place to conduct fresh ward, local government, and state congresses.
“In the APC Constitution, the only body authorised to conduct primaries is the NWC of which I am privileged to be the chairman but there are processes that must be followed before this exercise is made a possibility. Our National Executive Committee NEC met and decided to invoke the relevant parts of our constitution which among other things allow us to conduct either direct or indirect primaries in which every card-carrying member of our party is entitled to vote.
“In the case of Ogun state, Governor Ibikunle Amosun like any other governor convened a meeting of the State Executive Committee SEC as directed by NEC and those meetings were meant to include not just the SEC members but critical stakeholders for the purpose of primaries. There can be no question that anyone who is standing for an election is obviously a stakeholder in the process particularly when the matter on the agenda is how to conduct the primaries. And in order to ensure transparency in the process, the NEC also resolved that when a state opted for any of the options, the state executive is obliged to ensure that majority of the members sign the resolution and not just one or two on behalf of the others.
“Amosun convened a meeting that substantially met the requirements as resolved by the NEC. I talk about substantial compliance because there were people who were supposed to be invited to that meeting but were not invited. These include former senators, former governors or deputy governors. At the meeting, Amosun in his wisdom decided to introduce a third element which did not feature in the resolution of the NEC.
He announced that Ogun State was going to adopt consensus and he proceeded to define what in his view constitutes a consensus. Having defined it to mean the pronouncement of the governor, he went on to announce a consensus candidate, one Akinlade as the next governor. He proceeded to announce another gentleman as the running mate.
He went on to proclaim himself as the next senator and also said the current senator in his own zone, Sen Lanre Tejuosho, would step aside so that he, Amosun, at the end of his tenure would proceed to the Senate. He announced also that another senator from Ogun State would step aside and another gentleman would come in his place. Not done, Amosun went on to announce a particular gentleman as the next Speaker and another one as Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly.
Amosun also unilaterally pronounced that of the eight seating House of Representatives members, seven were not going to return. He went on to list the names of the House of Assembly members who would seek re-election and those who would not seek re-election, announcing a total of 40 names. When he was done in a manner that an emperor would do to his subjects in a feudal society, the people of Ogun state at that meeting rejected the imposition.
Amosun did not recognise that democracy is a game of numbers, not a game of power. He went on angrily to announce that if they did not accept the imposition, he was going to do direct primaries which the people agreed. Upon this decision, the SEC wrote to the NWC copying the office of the chairman to inform me.