The All Progressives Congress, APC, has on Tuesday, hit back at the immediate past National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, saying that, his penchant for condoning indiscipline, and the courage required to confront the pockets of political despots who could not operate by the party rules, created the problems which the Adams Oshiomhole-led leadership is currently grappling with.
Reacting to a statement credited to the former Chairman, accusing Oshiomhole of lacking the capacity to lead a political party, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa Onilu, said that the resultant effect was the widespread indiscipline across party ranks, lack of respect for party supremacy, as witnessed in the 8th National Assembly leadership, and its overall inability to align the varying interests of the legacy parties that came together to form the APC, in 2014.
Onilu said that under the Oyegun leadership of the party, members merely saw the APC as a vehicle for acquiring political offices, stressing that, the members who are not comfortable with the reforms going on in the party, are free to join the PDP and other opposition parties.
“Let me agree that the NWC, that led the party into the 2015 elections, and continued till June 2018, did nothing different from what you would find in PDP. It was a period the party was seen as a mere vehicle to attain political office. The system accommodated impunity, as certain members appeared to be superior to the party. Their interests were far more important than the collective interests of the APC, even when most times, such interests are at variance with the ideals the party stands for.
“You would recall that it was under that leadership that some impudent members of APC, called the bluff of the party, by imposing themselves on the National Assembly, as Leaders contrary to the position of the party. Where was the party? Where was the discipline when this happened?
“It would be difficult to calculate what lack of courage to assert the party supremacy, cost APC over that period. The consequences of the inaction of the party were unimaginable. We all saw the consequences on governance, as the National Assembly practically held our government to ransom.
“The impunity, which President Muhammadu Buhari has rightly described as lack of patriotism, constituted an unfortunate hindrance to the smooth running of government.
“The Leadership under Chief Oyegun, with due respect to him, condoned all sorts of acts of indiscipline from certain members. It is not surprising that the current National Working Committee, inherited such a huge mess, where the party was struggling to differentiate itself from the delinquent PDP.
“We all know that PDP was practically dead, following the devastating defeat of 2015. The PDP bounced back, not because the party has changed its insidious way, or did anything different, but because APC did not live up to expectations.
“It goes without saying that when an organisation is unable to enforce its own rules, it would suffer the consequences sooner than later. We should not be ashamed to say that our party’s leadership under Chief Oyegun, lacked the courage required to confront the pockets of political despots who could not operate by the party’s rules”, Issa-Onilu said.
Speaking on the defeat suffered by the party in some States, Onilu said that there were peculiar issues in the respective States lost by the party that accounted for how the APC lost them, rather than the voters preferring the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
He said: “if Oyo, Imo, Bauchi, Adamawa, and Zamfara States, were taken one by one, it will be discovered that there were peculiar issues in the respective States, that accounted for how the APC lost them, rather than the voters preferring the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
“I would put the painful outcomes broadly under two reasons. One is indiscipline on the part of some members of our party in most of the States. The second reason, is that the party Leadership did not do much between 2015 and 2018, to move the party from being an amalgam of different political parties, to become a truly blended progressive political party”, he said.
The APC Spokesman revealed further that, the next three years are very important, as the APC under the leadership of the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, will continue to strengthen compliance with the rules, build support structures for democracy, ensures discipline across board, and deliver good governance for the benefits of all Nigerians.
“We expect members who have different agenda, to join their kind in PDP. We will welcome with open arms, those who share our progressive ideals, so that by 2022, we will have a party whose members are truly progressives.”
On the letter written by Senator Lawal Shuaibu to the National Chairman, Onilu maintained that what the Deputy National Chairman succeeded in doing, was to portray members of the NWC, as a bunch of cowards, adding that, he was only looking for a scapegoat to pass on the blame, following undesired results in his home Zamfara State.
He said: “when he Senator Lawal Shuaibu alleged that the National Chairman is running the party like a sole Administrator, does that mean the rest of us are incompetent? I doubt if he would have many members of the NWC, supporting him in this.
“The ability to face up to the challenges, and to take responsibility for mistakes, are important qualities of a Leader. If the NWC had taken any action that did not produce the desired result, it would be plain cowardice to look for a scapegoat, or pass on the blame to another person.”