Confusion over Oshiomhole’s fate, as DSS special forces invade APC secretariat
APC Governors Forum Okays His Suspension, Wants Acting Chairman Appointed
It was unclear late yesterday as to whether the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would still hold on to his exalted seat, in spite of a favourable order of a Federal High Court in Kano State on Thursday.
Yesterday, Oshiomhole did not live up to widely held notion that he would return to the national secretariat of the party to take his exalted seat.
As early as 7pm, heavily armed security personnel, ostensibly wary of the prospect of bloody confrontation between anti and pro-Oshiomhole groups in the event that he resumed work, had to seal the party secretariat in an apparent bid to keep the peace.
The security personnel politely stopped both party secretariat staffers and curious journalists from gaining access to the premises throughout the day.
It was still unclear, yesterday night, if Oshiomhole would get the nod of the Police authority to access the party secretariat.
The Guardian gathered that Oshiomhole, alongside some members of the National Working Committee (NWC), met with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, on the need to facilitate his entry into the secretariat in accordance with the Kano court order, which was in sharp contrast with an order of an Abuja High Court presided by Justice Danlami Senchi, which upheld his suspension.
The development came as a crack team of the Department of State Service (DSS) stormed the precinct of the secretariat around 4pm when news filtered in that Oshiomhole was on his way to there.
The heavily armed guards, who rode in power bikes, positioned themselves at the strategic part of the Blantyre Street, where the secretariat is located.The happened barely 30 minutes after unidentified aides to Oshiomhole, driving in a black tinted Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep, were barred from gaining access to the secretariat.
Scores of other security operatives and persons in support and opposed to the embattled party chairman stood by, observing the situation on ground. Meanwhile, governors elected of the party’s platform, under the aegis of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), threw their weight behind Oshiomhole’s suspension.
PGF’s Director General, Mr. Salihu Lukman, described the Abuja High Court injunction against Oshiomhole as “a big opportunity” to reposition the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The Forum, while acknowledging the existence of the conflicting court order, called for the appointment of an acting chairman, pending the determination of the issue relating to the legality of the suspension of Oshiomhole in court.
Absolving President Muhammadu Buhari of blame in the crises rocking the party, the Forum called on the NEC to convene to resolve pending issues relating to the affairs of the party.
It claimed that members of the Oshiomhole-led NWC have constituted themselves into an unaccountable assembly with a thuggish temperament, which seeks to browbeat every other member, especially aspiring candidates, into submission.
It noted: “The reality is that our party is faced with a big problem, whereby none of our organs are meeting, as provided by the constitution. In fact, we are even not sure who our members are. There is, therefore, the urgent need to resume the process of party building with confirmation of our members, as well as recruiting new members.
“This has to be followed with processes of leadership reformation through wards, local governments and states congresses to national convention. How can we get all these started? First, pending the settlement of all the cases around Oshiomhole’s membership, we need to invoke provisions of Article 17 (vi), which provides that in the event of a vacancy, ‘the relevant Party organ shall appoint another person to act in his place, pending ratification by the National Convention or Congress.’
“The relevant party organ in this case may have to be the NEC. Given all the vacancies, about six so far- National Chairman, Deputy National Chairman (South), Deputy National Chairman (North), National Vice Chairman (North West), National Secretary and National Auditor- who convene the NEC?
“This is where the organising, consultation and negotiating capacity of our leaders will be tested. Combinations of majority of the remaining members of the NWC, in consultation with the President, Governors, other party leaders who are leading members of the national caucus, can resolve all these issues and convene the NEC to appoint an acting national chairman.
“With the appointment of an acting national chairman, the next would be to seek to invoke provisions of Article 25 A (i) of the APC constitution, which stipulate that the ‘National Convention of the Party shall be held once in Two (2) years at a date, venue and time to be recommended by the NWC and approved by the NEC, subject to the giving of statutory notice to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and at least fourteen (14) days notice given to members eligible to attend.’
“Already, this is the second year since the last convention in 2018, where the Oshiomhole-led NWC was elected. What this means is that with or without our current challenges, we are actually due for a national convention. Once a NEC is convened, all these processes should, therefore, be activated.
“The other issue is the question of what are the other steps or decisions needed to ensure the emergence a new atmosphere in the party that will promote reconciliation and re-orient the party to regain its political profile as a party commanding mass appeal?
“Part of the requirement may have to include a decision by the NEC to set aside all cases of disciplinary decisions taken by the party organs at different level in the last two years. This is important in order to basically promote reconciliation based on a strategy to ensure internal harmony.”