LONDON. Emerging report reveals that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Loyalists and some APC Governors, have rejected the likely emergence of former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, as the new Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
It was reliably gathered that names of possible contenders for the post were already being bandied around, among different interested groups in the party.
Prominent among the contenders are the incumbent National Chairman of the APC, John Oyegun, who is eligible to seek another four years in office, Adams Oshiomhole, and a former Governor of Cross River State in the Third Republic, Clement Ebri.
“Right now, three persons are being considered – former Governors Oshiomhole, Clement Ebri, and Oyegun”, a source disclosed.
He further revealed that some of the Governors and Buhari’s Loyalists, are not very comfortable with Oshiomhole, because of his strong personality and independence.
“Oshiomhole will make a good Chairman, because he is strong and independent-minded, he cannot be pushed around. That is why the Presidency is pushing for him.
“But these same attributes are considered a drawback among several of the Governors and Buhari’s Loyalists, who believe they will not be able to control him”, the party official said.
He noted that those opposing the choice of the former Edo Governor, have gone as far as unearthing what Oshiomhole did during his campaign for his second term bid in 2012, when he refused to allow Buhari to come and join his campaign in Benin, the Edo capital.
“They said that the former Edo Governor cannot be trusted with the power to lead the party at the National level”, a party source said.
He further revealed that those opposing Oshiomhole’s candidacy are rooting for the re-election of Oyegun, whom the Governors, especially, believe is humble and accommodating of varied interests.
“Alternatively, there are others who are canvassing for former Cross River State Governor, Ebri, who will add fresh blood and ideas to the party”, he added.
In addition, there is a battle of wits over who should draw up the membership of the Convention list.
The National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, had recently rushed a list of Convention Committee members to the President.
According to the party source, some of the party members on the list he presented to Buhari, included Alhaji Bidi Lawal and Mallam Kashim Imam, to represent the North-East; the National Vice-Chairman of the party in the South-West zone, Chief Pius Akinyelure, Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, House of Representatives Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, and a former party Chairman in Ogun State, Alhaji Tajudeen Bello, to represent the South-West zone.
According to the source, the list drawn up by Tinubu came to light during the meeting Buhari had with the APC Governors, on the tenure elongation issue, on Tuesday.
At the meeting, the President was said to have mentioned the existence of a Convention list, which no one knew about, but himself.
“Upon sighting the list, nearly everyone knew who had drawn it up and immediately protested, because it was considered deliberately tilted against certain interests in the party.
“It was for this reason, the meeting between the President and the Governors ended in a stalemate, on Tuesday”, said the source.
He also revealed that for the North-East, two names, Lawal and Imam, were said to have angered the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, who immediately said he would not stand by and allow names to be submitted from his State, without anyone consulting him.
The same development was said to have triggered a similar reaction to the South-West list.
Sources hinted that the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, was particularly livid at the fact that someone had drawn up such a critical list without consultations, and was said to have consequently protested to the President about the development.
Amosun was quoted to have told the President, that the list negated the spirit of collegiate leadership, which the South-West APC once propounded at an earlier meeting.
It was against this backdrop that the President was said to have consented to some of the proposed changes on the list, leading to two of the substitution of two of the names from the South-West, in order to balance the varied interest groups in the zone.
However, on learning that the list he had submitted to Buhari had been tinkered with, Tinubu was said to have been very angry and threatened fire and brimstone, if he did not get his way.
Other than the amended list already in Buhari’s possession, the Governors of the ruling party are also pushing to select the Chairman of the Convention Committee.
It was gathered that before they met with Oyegun privately, on Wednesday, preparatory to the larger meeting with the larger NWC of the APC, the Governors had picked the Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, as the Convention Committee Chairman.
APC Chairman Oyegun:
However, during their private meeting with Oyegun, where they tried to convince him to shelve the tenure elongation for him and other party Executives, the APC Chairman had made it very clear that it was the responsibility of the NWC to pick members of the Convention Committee, in accordance with the party’s constitution.
On this issue, according to a source, Oyegun was very adamant, and this could prove to be another flash point the APC would have to skillfully navigate in the days ahead.
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