Home NEWSMetro News Adams Oshiomhole Promises to Rebrand APC, Says Nobody Can Use Him

Adams Oshiomhole Promises to Rebrand APC, Says Nobody Can Use Him

by Happynaija

The former governor of Edo State Adams-Oshiomhole and an aspirant for the post of national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that he would rebrand and reposition the party if elected.


Oshiomhole, who disclosed this Thursday when he offered himself for election to

the post at the national convention of the party, also said he was not capable

of being used by anyone, in an apparent effort to discountenance suggestions

that his candidacy enjoys the support of the presidency and several

leaders and governors of the APC.


He equally said that he would operate an all-inclusive administration

if elected chairman of the APC.


Oshiomhole’s mission statement came just as the party informed the

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a

letter that its convention will now hold on June 2.


APC had initially slated the convention for May 23, but moved the date

due to the Ramadan fast starting on May 16.


The decision to hold the convention on June 2, was taken in the transport minister,

Rotimi Amaechi’s residence recently to avert litigation in the event the

convention was held after June 13 when the tenure of the incumbent

national chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and other

National Working Committee (NWC) members

would have expired.


With their exit imminent, the NWC may have scaled down its interventions

in disputes rocking the party, in anticipation of the emergence

of a new leadership at the convention.


This, according to party sources, stemmed from the aloofness the party

leadership has projected since receiving the petition of the New PDP

(NPDP) members, who complained about maltreatment and

marginalisation, and gave the APC leadership including

President Muhammadu Buhari,

seven days to address their complaints.


Speaking Thursday during his formal declaration to contest for the

APC chairmanship seat, the former governor of Edo State said he would

also strive to build a cordial relationship between

the executive and the legislature.


Regarding the 2019 elections and Buhari’s reelection bid, Oshiomhole said:

“The starting point is that the president is not a thief and we expect

the same from all other ex- this,

and ex- that on what character they must possess.


“My task this afternoon is simply straightforward,

to announce my desire to contest for the national chairmanship

position of APC and work to rebrand the ruling party,

making amends where necessary.


“It is my hope that if and when elected as national chairman of the party,

we will reposition and reorganise the party based on its philosophy of

social democracy, which basically means a people-oriented,

membership-driven and mass-based political organisation.”


He said though his ambition to become chairman had been an open secret,

he still felt it was right to formally make the declaration.


Am not a reluctant aspirant to the office of APC national chairman,

recalling that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

did everything humanly possible to scuttle the formation of the

APC during its formation.


He also conveyed his appreciation to the contributions of Oyegun

for driving the party to the first ever victory of an opposition

party over the then ruling party in the 2015 elections.


Elaborating on why he was contesting, he said:

“I am contesting not because there is a leadership vacuum,

but because it is in line with democratic tenets to allow

for competitiveness in our affairs.”


He said the APC was unique going by its name

“progressive” unlike the PDP.


Among other goals, Oshiomhole said he hoped to change the APC,

if given the mandate, and to ensure that a credible members’ register is in place,

there is collective decision-making, and a good interface between party

members and those elected on its platform.


“Under our leadership, we will naturally have to do a couple of things

differently in the day to day management of the party, while interfacing

with all those elected on the platform of the party at all levels.


“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.


“For us to become a political party that is membership driven,

the irreducible minimum is that we must have a membership register

that captures accurately the membership of the party,” he noted.


He said having a credible membership register was very necessary and

then accused former President Goodluck Jonathan of destroying the

membership register of the APC by ordering security agents to invade

the party’s facility in Lagos where its register was being collated in 2014.


Oshiomhole also promised to create a platform that would ensure

that members of the party interfaced with those elected on the

APC platform so as to understand what they are doing.


The former governor also spoke on the need for party supremacy,
pointing out that no one can talk of party supremacy without
the party organs functioning as they should.


He said when there is inclusiveness in the way the party is run,

everyone will be able to own the decisions reached by the party.


On the role of the party in brokering a harmonious working relationship

between the executive and legislature, Oshiomhole said the

APC as a governing party must find a way of negotiating and persuading

the two arms of government currently under APC control

to operate with a sense of collectivity.


“The party must have seasoned parliamentarians including non-serving

Senators and House members to monitor the National Assembly

on a daily basis and advice the party leadership on engagement

with the National Assembly,” he said.


On the presence of NLC president, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, at his declaration and

what this may portend in terms of neutrality for Nigeria’s main labour union,

Oshiomhole was of the view that to be neutral did not mean

that Wabba had to be politically aloof.


Also speaking at Oshiomhole’s declaration to contest for the chairmanship

post of the APC, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha,

who said he was not officially invited to the function, noted that he

had no doubt that when elected,

Oshiomhole will show the way forward for the party.


He also predicted that Oshiomhole’s emergence as chairman

will be bad news for the opposition.


“President Buhari is not just a president, he is a leader.


Why we are supporting Adams Oshiomole is to see that there is

strong party chairman that will be behind him.


“You must, as a matter of urgency, tell everybody that Buhari should

be supported. For all my colleagues,

the governors of APC, Oshiomhole is our project.


“He understands us, we understand him. I came in here to show my support

and endorsement. PDP is making so much noise now and they

need to be silenced, and the only silencer is

Adams Oshiomhole,” he said.


Okorocha described Oshiomhole as a dogged fighter,

adding that he will help to strengthen the party

in the South-south and South-east.


He said in the North there may be no need for excessive campaigning,

but in the South, it would require more than the ordinary for

APC candidates to win in the region.


But as Oshiomhole formally indicated his interest in becoming the

chairman of the APC, there were feelers Thursday that the looming crisis

threatening to tear the ruling party apart may not

abate anytime soon.


According to a source close to Oyegun, the party chairman was of

the firm belief that the Abubukar Kawu Baraje-led group had given

up on the APC and whatever was done now cannot change

their resolve to leave the ruling party.


Baraje on Wednesday led a delegation on behalf of the NPDP block to

protest what he described as “maltreatment and exclusion” of

his members in the scheme of things by the

leadership of the APC.


However, the party source said Oyegun might not consider initiating

any major attempt to address the grievances of the NPDP members of

the APC, because as far as the incumbent chairman was concerned,

he (Oyegun) was on his last leg as chairman of the party.


“I think Oyegun believes that the NPDP group has made up their

minds and since they are certain that Oshiomhole is going to be

installed as the next chairman of the APC,

their interest cannot be protected,” he said.


In spite of the NWC’s seeming aloofness, the Deputy National

Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Timi Frank,

Thursday warned his party and the president not to treat the seven-day

ultimatum given by the NPDP members with levity.


Frank said if nothing was done to address the grievances of the NPDP members,

this would give the impression that

“we are no longer needed in the APC”.


Frank was one of several members of the PDP faction that

defected to the APC in 2013.


Frank said Baraje spoke the mind of the group, adding that it will be

dangerous for Buhari and the leadership of the APC to

turn a deaf ear to “our grievances”.


According to Frank, what the group was asking for was to be given fair

hearing and equal stake in the “change” project as

it was given to other groups.


“Apart from being sidelined, our people are also the most harassed

within the party, from the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki,

Senator Dino Melaye, to myself and many others.

These and other reasons call for round-table renegotiations.


“Since the APC came into power in 2015,

there have been deliberate efforts by the government at the center

and the national leadership of the party to sideline

members of the NPDP, compared to other blocks comprising the

CPC, ACN and ANPP which made up APC,” he said.


While stressing the need to heed the seven-day ultimatum given by

the group, Frank said since APC came into power,

only the Minister of Transport Rotimi Ameachi and Minister of Women Affairs

Aisha Alhassan, were given appointments among the NPDP members,

despite their unquantifiable contributions to bring APC to power.


“If President Buhari must be fair to all groups and blocks of the APC,

we expect him to urgently call for an emergency meeting where the

grievances will be resolved, that is, if he still

cares about the interest of the oppressed.


“The meeting we are calling for at this point is important,

as it will enable us to renegotiate our interest within the APC

and decide whether we can continue to bear

the maltreatment or not,” Frank stated.


Also, another chieftain of the party,

Chief Ray Murphy, cautioned against underrating the threat

posed by the ultimatum given by the NPDP bloc of the APC.


He warned that if the APC bungled the opportunity offered by the

outcry by members of the former PDP faction, the party

could end up being engulfed in a crisis.


Murphy, who is a close ally of Oyegun, said the views expressed

in the petition were germane.


He said the present power sharing equation in the party was tilted towards

only two of the legacy parties that formed the APC.


According to Murphy, who spoke to journalists Thursday at the party’s

national secretariat, APC was moving into murky waters, adding that

if the concerns raised by the NPDP members are not quickly addressed

before the convention, things may get worse for the party.


“My view is that it is targeted at the fact that one segment of the party
is getting virtually everything in the party. The fact of the matter is
that the NPDP feels that it has not gotten its fair share.


“Two of the legacy parties have taken over everything.

The head of government is CPC, the second is ACN, and many other

positions are occupied by the members of the defunct ACN.

So the NPDP was very truthful and their grievances should be

quickly looked into within the seven-day ultimatum.


“I am a foremost member of APC and I want the success of the party.

Negative things have occurred that de-market our party and have affected us.

I think when those things are properly handled,

the party will be much stronger,” he said.


Speaking on the forthcoming convention of the APC,

Murphy said the timing of the NPDP letter was timely,

as it would afford the party the opportunity to heal

the wounds and correct the anomalies.

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