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APC Chairmanship: Oshiomhole’s declaration and matters arising

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The recent declaration of intention to contest for the chairmanship of All Progressives Congress (APC), by a former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has indeed opened a new vista in the party’s history.

It largely signposts an era of certainties for the ruling party, which had witnessed intra-party conflicts over the choice of who becomes it’s next national chairman.

Considering the attending distractions associated with the crisis, Oshiomhole’s ambition comes as a trouble-shooting shooting one.

Though, a few might have a contrary opinion, it is self-evident that the former labour leader would have an impactful leadership if he emerges the party’s chairman.

His trademark mass appeal is one of the many reasons that suggest the party is poised for an era of inclusiveness. It is for that reason that the declaration ceremony in Abuja, was largely perceived as a sign of things to expect from Oshiomhole.

The event, which held at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja, was a rallying point for party chieftains, who identified with Oshiomhole’s vision.

Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum and governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki led leaders of the party to the event.

Others at the forum include; former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipriye Sylva; Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shaibu; and Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Kabiru Adjoto.

Others are National Vice Chairman South South of the APC, Mr. Hilliard Etta, who led Senator Olusola Adeyeye, Senator Francis Alimekhena, and the entire members of the APC caucus from Edo State in the National and state Assemblies to the gathering.

The event was a platform for Oshiomhole to outline the goals he seek to achieve with his vision for the party. He specifically said the need to strengthen the party ahead of the 2019 general election informed his decision to want to serve.

Notwithstanding, he regretted certain things that are wrong in the party, stating that he is on a salvage mission.

To this end, Oshiomhole pledged to provide a leadership that will bring peace and ensure unity among party members.  

He said: “ For me, it is fundamental to be able to have a membership driven party grounded at the grassroots. Accordingly, it is important that we must ensure that we have an authentic and verifiable membership register that can be checked and verified by members and even non-members of the party.

It is, therefore, an irreducible minimum obligation on the part of the party to have a credible membership register that cannot be altered at the whims and caprices of any one, including the leadership of the party. 


“Incidentally, the idea of a credible, verifiable membership register was one of the key commitment of the founding leaders of the party. Indeed, the interim leadership of the party under Chief Bisi Akande, working in concert with other leaders tried their best to establish APC Data Centre.

Unfortunately, the Data Centre was raided and destroyed by the State Security Services on the orders of the PDP administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on November 22, 2014.

“The challenge right now, is not to lament the clear abuse of power that led to the destruction of the Data Centre, but to commit the incoming leadership to rebuild the Data Centre and put it to practical use in the shortest possible time. 

With a credible membership register and given the state of information technology, a functional database is an indispensable tool that will help eliminate abuse and corruption in the conduct of intra-party election from unit to ward to local government to state and national levels.
 
“It will also create a credible platform for conducting direct primaries, which will afford every member of the party opportunity to participate in the party primaries at all levels, rather than the current situation of indirect, delegate election, which is susceptible to manipulation, abuse and corruption by desperate aspirants at all levels.

“ While we will sustain membership recruitment, we will ensure that members of the party are given a robust sense of ownership and control. This would enable the party to adopt a policy of bottom-up, as opposed to top-down approach to party administration process.

The beauty of this is that members of our party will own the party and will be ready to work to ensure the success of the party at all levels and at all times.

“To sustain harmonious interaction between the executive and the parliament, the party must have seasoned parliamentarians including non-serving Senators and Representatives to monitor the National Assembly on a daily basis and advice the party leadership on engagement with the National Assembly.

The party under my leadership will recognise that the parliament is unique, diverse and faced with a lot of challenges. The party will, therefore, ensure coherence in all dispositions and decisions of parliament.

The party will proactively settle any rift between executive and legislature without compromising the principle of separation of powers.

“Finally, we shall put in place mechanism for conflict management. We know that in human interactions, there are bound to be conflicts arising from differences in opinion and perspectives.

The responsibility of the party will be to engage in consensus building and conflict management.

In particular, we will intervene in the lingering crises between Governors and members of the National Assembly in their respective states as a result of poor communication, conflict of interest, or just being victims of rumour mongering.

When I am given the privilege to lead the party by being elected at the National Convention, we will proactively engage all the parties involved in such conflicts with a view to helping them to find common ground on the basis of justice, equity and fairness, and without bias.”

Also speaking at the event, Okorocha said: “I have no doubt in my mind, not even an iota of doubt that Oshiomhole when elected will show the way. Oshiomhole’s coming as a National chairman of APC is bad news to other political parties.

In 2014, I recall vividly how we formed this party the APC. Then he was a governor, and we all sat down thinking how to take power from the incumbent and it was not an easy task.

But I want to tell all of you that Adams Oshiomhole is a rugged fighter. And man who can face challenges and I have no doubt that he will make a good chairman when elected.”

Kamba, writes from Kaduna


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