The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC may not end as soon as envisaged as top members are pondering the possibility of putting in place a caretaker chairman who would superintend the affairs of the party and put in place processes leading to a mini-national convention.
Justice S. U. Bature of the Federal High court sitting in Federal Capital Territory, FCT, yesterday granted leave to the National Working Committee, NWC, to hold the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting scheduled for March 17, 2020.
An influential member of the party from the South-South who is conversant with the high-wire politicking in the APC told Vanguard that some leaders of the region were already considering a replacement for the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
“We cannot say with all certainty that Oshiomhole is gone. Yes, that is the reality because we cannot pre-empt his case at the Appeal Court. However, our leaders are not leaving anything to chance. The stage we are now is to get a caretaker chairman to midwife the party towards a mini-national convention, as soon as possible.
“The disagreement however is whether to ensure that the acting National Secretary, Chief Victor Giadom continues to lead the party in the interim or that the National Executive Committee, NEC, would upturn the purported suspension of the Deputy National Chairman, North, Senator Lawal Shuaibu.
However, by our Constitution, it is the Deputy National Chairman, South, who is supposed to act for a National Chairman of Southern extraction,” he said. The mini-national convention would be to ratify the appointment of some party officials in the National Working Committee, NWC, and pick a new national chairman should the courts uphold the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole.
An associate of the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who also spoke with Vanguard said those loyal to the governor are not losing sleep over the situation in the party as they are sure of having their way at the forthcoming NEC meeting. The governor has been fingered as one of those fighting to unseat the national chairman.
He said: “Our position is well known. The position of Deputy National Chairman, South, is micro-zoned to Ekiti State. So, depending on how well the South-West caucus plays its cards, NEC might ask them to present their nominee for the office of the Deputy National Chairman, South. You would recall that they had nominated Senator Gbenga Aluko but the Oshiomhole cabal in the NWC wanted to smuggle in Senator Abiola Ajimobi from Oyo State even when they know that the position was micro-zoned to Ekiti.
”The immediate past occupant of that office was Otunba Niyi Adebayo who is now a minister. When Chief John Odigie-Oyegun from Edo State left, he was replaced by Oshiomhole from Edo. When Bolaji Abdullahi left as national publicity secretary, he was replaced by Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu also from the same Kwara State. It also happened in the case of the Organizing Secretary where Emma Ibediro from Imo State was replaced by Osita Izunaso from Imo. Even Giadom, from Rivers State also replaced Amb. Ngofa who was also from Rivers State. So, you cannot now bring Ajimobi from Oyo State to replace Niyi Adebayo from Ekiti State. If NEC wants to play safe, Senator Aluko who is the nominee from Ekiti might even be our acting National Chairman,” he explained.
Meanwhile, National Vice Chairman of the party for the South-South, Hilliard Eta, has distanced leaders of the party in the zone from the consultative meeting called by the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, arguing that the governor has no power to call such a meeting after the Governor had allegedly sent letters of invitation to leaders of the party in the zone, to attend a Consultative meeting today (Thursday)ostensibly to discuss the issue of the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. ETA claimed it is his and not Obaseki’s right to do that.