APC, governors, others say no crack in presidency
From the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) came yesterday a denial that there is a crack in the presidency as believed in some quarters.
Also, the governors on the platform of the party said there was no iota of truth in the insinuation that “cabals” in the presidency had perfected plans to slam corruption charges against Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and subsequently impeach him.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who co-chairs the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Media and Communications Steering Committee, told journalists at the inauguration of the panel that “such talks exist in the realm of gossips and rumours.” “There is no crack. At the time they said that, the vice president went to Zimbabwe to represent this country. It was the prerogative of Mr. President to go, but he nominated Osinbajo.”
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr. Obafemi Hamzat, said: “Yesterday (Wednesday), the vice president presided over the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which is the highest body that determines what goes on in our country. We don’t listen to rumours, we deal with facts. The fact is that they are working together, it is just rumours.”
APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, also declared that there was no rift between President Buhari and Osinbajo.
He accused the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of peddling the rumours in a bid to undermine the APC- led administration. He distanced the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State from the posters that were circulated in Lagos and other parts of the country depicting their desire to run on a joint ticket for the 2023 presidency on the platform of the party.
“We have important issues of governance to attend to than to continue to respond to fallacies. How do you determine a crack? The vice president had been sent out to represent the president at an international event, after PDP saw a crack; the vice president presided over the FEC meeting just on Wednesday. Is that part of the PDP’s crack? Let us stop this joke. We know we have challenges in this country, let us face the challenges,” Issa-Onilu said.
“As a party, we want to state clearly that having won elections convincingly and having been given the mandate to run government for the next four years, our major and only focus now is governance. We are not engaging in any other activity about 2023 elections and wherever you see such (posters) you can be sure they are from mischief-makers. We know it is part of the strategy of the PDP to continue to take actions to cause distractions so that the governing party will not focus on anything that is important to the people of Nigeria.”
On the allegation of muzzling the judiciary levelled against the APC-led government by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Issa-Onilu said: “Ideally, we would not have responded to the so-called CUPP which is just an arm of PDP. But you listened to the contents of the press conference they recently had, they said things that were very baffling and very disturbing. Disparaging state institutions and trying to undermine an important institution such as the judiciary is something that we should all be worried about, and that is why we are responding to this.
“We understand where PDP is coming from. We understand that for 16 years, that had been the practice and perhaps they imagine that this is the instrument that any other political party would want to apply. We don’t need to strangulate the judiciary and we don’t need to undermine any institution.
“We have an unprecedented delivery of judgment at the presidential tribunal the other time and so we are all happy to know that the PDP has taken the next step by going further to the Supreme Court, and we are meeting them there. It is unfortunate that they cannot create new issues. All the issues they have, have been put on the table and they didn’t hold water. That is why they failed woefully at the tribunal.”
Meanwhile, the dust raised by the alleged travails of Osinbajo since Buhari set up the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) in place of the Economic Management Team (ETM) he headed last week is yet to settle.
The situation has been compounded by the allegation of misappropriation of N90 billion leveled against the vice president and the insinuation of frosty relationship between him and his boss.
While Osinbajo has come out to declare his readiness to waive his immunity in order to clear his name, some prominent Nigerians have expressed worry over the continuous silence of the presidency and the leadership of the APC on the matter. Others are of the view that there is nothing to clarify either by the presidency or the party since the allegations are baseless.
A former lawmaker, Senator Anthony Adefuye, said the presidency had nothing to say on the matter because, in the first instance, the allegations against Osinbajo were all fabricated by PDP.
“The man concerned has come out to say he is ready to waive his immunity in order to defend his integrity, so what else do you want the party or the presidency to say?”
A former National Secretary of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Kayode Ajulo, said: “That President Buhari or the National Leader of APC, Bola Tinubu, under whom Osinbajo served as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, remained silent indicates that something is fishing is arrant nonsense. I want to believe that the presidency considers the entire story as a distraction and must have chosen to ignore it.”
But a former president of Aka Ikenga, an Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, alleged that some powerful people in the presidency and the party were playing a high level of dirty politics, vicious game and delicate intrigues against the intellectual capacity of the vice president.
“They may pretend it has nothing to do with the 2023 agenda, but there is an element of truth that is pointing to that in what we are witnessing.”
Uwazurike recalled what happened between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his vice, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, immediately after PDP retained the presidency in 2003. “All hell was let loose on the vice president and he was practically shut out. A similar scenario happened when erstwhile president Goodluck Jonathan was deputy to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. Jonathan was practically sidelined and almost did not know or understand what was going on in the Villa. But the game was different between Jonathan and his deputy, Namadi Sambo. I want to believe that there is a kind of phobia somewhere for the intellectual capacity of the incumbent vice, hence the struggle to checkmate him. It is a high level of politicking, which I pray will not affect the country negatively.”
A source in the Lagos APC said Tinubu would speak on the matter at the appropriate time.
The Guardian was told that the national leader himself was a target of the power that be and the politicking was all about the 2023 agenda.
In its reaction, the PDP dismissed the APC allegation.
The National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “That is a misplaced allegation from APC because PDP does not function in the Villa and we are not in power. Buhari and his party lack the tact to govern this country. Since 2015 when they came to power, they have always been looking for an excuse to cover their failure and that is the reason we are in the court to retrieve our mandate which they stole from us in the last general election.”