Suspense in APC as Giadom pushes for Oshiomhole’s ouster
The saying that the guilty are afraid holds true in the present political circumstance of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). By next week it would be clear whether the much talked about emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party has something in store for the leaders and faithful.
If the meeting holds, the presence or otherwise of two main characters-the suspended National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and the acting National Secretary, Chief Victor Giadom- would be of particular interest.
While the naysayers are making frantic efforts to see that the emergency meeting flops, those in support believe that the gathering of the NEC would put a stamp of authority on the legitimacy of the office of the acting National Secretary, Giadom, as the midwife of the emerging APC.
Situation and circumstances have thrown up Giadom into a huge historical responsibility for the ruling party. Prior to his present responsibility, Giadom had been in the shadows of the former National Secretary, the self-effacing Mai Malla Bunu, who resigned to contest and win the Yobe State governorship seat.
The opportunity to fill the vacancy in the office of the National Secretary was defrayed by President Muhammadu Buhari, who endorsed an automatic second term for Bunu and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC), including Chief George Moghalu, shortly before the last national convention of the party in 2018.
Giadom, it could be recalled, served as Commissioner of Works in the executive cabinet of Rivers State under the leadership of current Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
The general anticipation among the pro-Giadom camp is that the emergency NEC meeting would seal the fate of the suspended national chairman and set the stage for the eventual nomination of caretaker chairman pending when the party holds its midterm convention to ratify the nomination of potential replacements for the vacant offices of Deputy National Chairman (South), National Secretary and National Auditor, respectively.
It was perhaps out of the realization that Giadom would in the acting capacity administer the party that a chieftain of the APC in Rivers State, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, reminded the acting National Secretary to be wary of walking in Oshiomhole’s steps.
Admitting that the Rivers State-born acting National Secretary is a fantastic and intelligent strategist, Eze said: “As the Acting National Secretary, Chief Giadom formally takes over the administration and running of the ruling party with the approval of President Mohammadu Buhari.
“Having taken firm control of the structure of the APC at the national level, I wish to remind him of the huge responsibility laid on his shoulder and encourage him to do everything humanly possible to reposition the party to withstand the deadly plots of PDP to take over power come 2023.”
Has the party eased out Oshiomhole? The answer to that poser would come on Tuesday when the emergency NEC meeting holds. The way and manner the FCT High Court couched its order of interlocutory injunction lives the impression that some highly placed stalwarts orchestrated the litigation in such a way to make his suspension last ad infinitum without much backlash on the party structure.
Oshiomhole must have sensed such a plot and proceeded to forum shop to Kano State for a favourable court order to defray the FCT High court pronouncement. But the inferiority of the Kano High Court ruling, being an ex parte order, renders it unsustainable because by Monday March 16, 2020, it must have elapsed, some experts argue.
Then being a product of a motion on notice, the interlocutory injunction granted by the FCT High Court would most likely subsist pending the determination of the substantive matter. There is scant likelihood that the embattled national chairman’s application for a stay of execution or appeal would bear fruitful returns. The fact that the Presidency Okayed the emergency NEC meeting tends to expose such indication.
For instance, Eze, who was formerly the National Publicity Secretary of the defunct new PDP (nPDP) commended President Buhari “for respecting the general opinion of the greater number of members of the APC, by approving March 17, emergency NEC meeting”
He described the President’s gesture as “a wonderful development that will usher in a new acting national chairman for the party pending the convocation of a National Congress, where a substantive national chairman will be duly elected.”
A lot depends on how far Giadom is able to steer the emergency NEC meeting, especially against the background of the tall agenda set for him by some stakeholders. While Eze noted that Giadom should know that his coming at this point in time of APC’s history is crucial and urgent, he added that the acting National Secretary “should set the enabling environment for healing of frayed nerves in the party.”
But despite the profusion of optimism among the pro-Giadom camp, supporters of Oshiomhole are not leaving thing to chance, believing that at the end of the day, it is only a national convention that could remove him from office as national chairman.
Moreover the expectation in the Oshiomhole camp is that after his visit to the Presidency where he met with the leader of the party that some reprieve could come the way of the former labour leader.
As happened between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Audu Ogbeh, when Ogbeh’s time was up as national chairman of PDP, it is possible that being a raw civilian, Comrade Oshiomhole may not have decoded the danger in Buhari’s vacant posture.
The fact that he was allowed access to the President may be just a decoy to leave ample room for the embattled national chairman to exhaust his desperate antics. Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, who is one of the three party chieftain allegedly suspended from the party by Oshiomhole, said the former Edo State governor is being judged by his precepts.
Okechukwu recalled that when “Comrade was suspended by his ward executive committee, he glossed over it as a Super King, while he implemented the ward suspension of Northwest Vice Chairman, Barrister Inua Khadiri. What a paradox?”
Oshiomhole seems not to know how formidable his traducers are, because it was from the same Northwest geopolitical zone that calls for his ouster emanated, through the hotly worded letter by Senator Lawal Shuaibu, in which the national chairman was asked to resign.
Although Oshiomhole belatedly acquiesced with the Governor Abdullaziz Yari’s camp to field the governorship candidate of the party in Zamfara State at the expense of Senator Marafa, Yari is yet to forgive him (Oshiomhole) for messing up his political future and base.
Then there is the booby trap at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The case against Oshiomhole in the EFCC could be seen as a warning signal for him to know that the game is up and stop pushing the matter of his possible return to office as national chairman.
With a pending petition at the Fomella Crescent Headquarters of EFCC, it would take as much as a wink from appropriate quarters for the embattled national chairman to start singing a new song.
The first time the matter against Oshiomhole made headlines was two years ago, when a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja granted an order to serve court papers on an application praying for an order of mandamus to compel EFCC to arrest and charge the national chairman to court.
Bishop Osadolor Ochei had alleged that Oshiomhole misappropriated and converted funds of Edo State to his personal use. Osadolor’s counsel, Dr. Wale Idahosa, had filed an exparte motion in court.
Ever since, the case in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/628/2018 has been lying idle like a forgotten grenade in the court files. With his present predicament there is guarantee that the matter would not be activated to, if nothing else, distract the former governor and ensure that his two feet do not touch ground to continue the fight for his seat at 40 Blantyre Street.
Oblivious of the booby trap and ambush against him, Oshiomhole took the dire political risk of identifying those he considers as his political enemies. In what appeared as delusional bravado the embattled national chairman reportedly told journalists: “The minister working against me is none other than Rotimi Amaechi.
“I helped him but he stabbed me in the back. I recognized his faction of APC against Senator Abe and today he is leading a war against me. Kayode Fayemi is one of the leading governors working against me.
“I helped him secure the party tickets for all his loyalists, even though Segun Oni and Babafemi (Ojodu) are my good friends. Governor El Rufai is one of those working against me. He and Fayemi have been using one Salihu Usman to insult me despite all I did.
“That Elrufai was the one who came to me crying to help him get rid of Shehu Sani and to replace him with his boy, Uba Sani and I sacrificed my comradeship with Shehu to please him.
“Godwin Obaseki couldn’t have even become a councilor if not for me. This is an open story. I am a fighter and he would pay for his disloyalty. I made him and I will unmake him. As for (Governor Atiku) Bagudu and Badaru, they know how I helped them and they will all suffer the consequences of their actions. Their court ambush will not work. I remain chairman of APC.”
Although he described himself as a fighter, his chants sounded much like a deflated Samson, who did not know that the power had left him. From his words came admission of guilt of applying double standards and favouritism in the running of the party.
If as national chairman he ruled with fear and favour, it becomes obvious as Eze Chukwuemeka Eze said, the Comrade Chairman may no longer find a place in the new APC being contemplated.
And given President Buhari’s fears that the party, which rallied to his presidential election victory after triple failed attempts, could collapse after his tenure, the ongoing travails of Oshiomhole may as well be the spasmodic movements signaling serious danger.