The Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has attacked the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, and a former governor of the state, Aremo Segun Oshoba, over alleged complicity in electoral fraud in the state.
Amosun accused the two party leaders of “conniving with a cabal in Lagos” to write a fake result which produced Dapo Abiodun as the party’s candidate for the 2019 governorship election.
Amosun said this in an interview shortly after swearing-in the new Chief Judge of the state, Mosunmola Dipeolu, in the Governor’s Office chamber in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta on Monday.
He alleged that the silence of the two party leaders, who were aware of what transpired in the state with respect to the primary, smacked of complicity.
Amosun said, “The President already knows there was no election in Ogun State. He knows that they just went to Lagos; wrote all results, and that what they did was fraud.
“If the National Working Committee or the national chairman said there was any election in Ogun State, it was all fraud. That is what I said.”
He insisted that the only primary which held in the state was the one which Adekunle Akinlade won to become the party’s governorship candidate.
The governor said, “Mr President already knows there was no election in Ogun State other than the one we held.
“The issue of Chief Osoba and Asiwaju and co, what we said was that there was a definite silence from their end, and silence means consent. You can record me and publish it in your newspapers.
“We have not heard one word from any of them. Was there any election in Ogun State? ‘Yes’ or ‘No?’ They should come out and those that are hiding behind one finger, they cannot come out?”
He added, “People at this level should be courageous enough to take position, to come out, to come and tell us whether there was election.
“On governorship, the day they said they did it or not, the one that we had, there was live telecast, people even witnessed it. They all came that they are changing again.
“They removed Leke Adewolu, Mikail Kazeem. All of those ones are nothing but fraud.”
Not long after the swearing-in, about 200 APC councillors in the state staged a protest demanding that the party’s NWC should recognise Adekunle Akinlade as the party’s governorship candidate.
The councillors, who were armed with placards with various inscriptions, stormed the Arcade Ground within the state secretariat at Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, around 10am.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read, ‘We want justice in Ogun APC’, ‘Give us Triple A’, ‘Oshiomhole, Osinbajo, we want justice in Ogun State’ and a ‘Minority cannot take charge over majority’, among others.
They were said to be on solidarity visit to the seat of government to register their demand with Amosun.
Ogun APC chairman, Chief Derin Adebiyi, later addressed the protesters. He said, “We have seen all the messages on the placards. I want you to remain steadfast in your demand, nothing negative will happen to the mandate you have given to Akinlade.
“The elders and party leaders are looking into the matter. I want to urge you to continue to be peaceful, don’t fight anybody.
Almost about the same time, some groups namely, Ogun Progressive Students, Ogun Youth Assembly, Coalition of Ogun Traders, among others, organised a counter-protest.
The protesters who converged on the Nigeria Union of Journalists secretariat, Oke Ilewo, urged Amosun, to accept the party’s decision and support Dapo Abiodun as the party’s governorship candidate.
The groups on their part condemned what they termed the “determined mission of Amosun” to drag the hard-earned integrity of Ogun State through the mud.
They were led by the convener of Ogun Progressive Youths and students, Adeyemi Azeez; convener of Movement for Secure Nigeria, Abdul-Kabiru Ayoola; and the Secretary, Ogun Arewa Council, Idris Muhammad.
They also carried placards with different inscriptions, some of them read, ‘Adams Oshiomhole don’t compromise,’ ‘Protect our mandate,’ ‘Don’t compromise, Dapo Abiodun is our man,’ ‘Don’t kill democracy, the voice of the people must be heard, Amosun beware!’.
Ex-APC presidential aspirants insist Oshiomhole must go
A coalition of 2019 Presidential Aspirants on the platform of the APC insisted in Warri that Oshiomhole must resign if the party was desirous of retaining power come 2019.
The coalition said Oshiomhole had attacked all “cells and veins of the party,” thereby creating unnecessary crises across all the states of the federation.
In a statement signed by Dr. SKC Ogbonnia and Alhaji Mumakai Unagha on Monday, the coalition said it had consulted widely among the party’s major stakeholders including governors, members of the National Assembly, and youth groups, and had reached the conclusion that the national chairman must leave for the party to live.
Towards this end, they urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use his good offices to convoke an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee to pass a vote of no confidence in Oshiomhole.
The statement partly read, “A fortnight ago, the Coalition of 2019 APC Presidential Aspirants called for the removal of the National Chairman of the party, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, for his role in the current crises brewing in the party.
“Since then, a stream of party faithful from around the country have joined to register their support for the immediate ouster of the former union activist.
“Unfortunately, instead of seeking peace and assuaging hurt feelings from the primaries, which left the party in a deeper crisis, Oshiomhole has resorted to intimidation, blackmail, and slander.”
The group suggested that an acting national chairman should be appointed to heal the wounds which Oshiomhole’s rule had caused.
Members of the group also said it would serve the party’s interest for the NEC to set up a committee to review cases where Oshiomhole imposed candidates and devise ways of refunding aspirants who paid for the exorbitant nomination fees but were denied free and fair participation and election.
Scores of members of the APC also took to major streets of Owerri, the Imo State capital, in protest against what they claimed was the national chairman’s imposition of candidates.
The protesters who caused major gridlock in the metropolis accused Oshiomhole of introducing impunity to the party.
The demonstrators held up placards, saying, ‘Oshiomhole should respect the will of the people’, ‘We say no to substitution of candidates’, ‘Oshiomhole is killing APC’, ‘President Buhari, save our party from Oshiomhole’, ‘We insist on the result of October 6 Primary’, among others.
They accused the party’s national chairman of turning the party’s ticket into a “cash and carry” affair.
Some of the candidates allegedly substituted by Oshiomhole include Kingsley Uju (Ohaji-Egbema-Oguta- Oru West Fed Constituency), Paschal Obi (Ideato South and Ideato North Fed Constituency) and Prof. Nnamdi Obiareri (Imo North Senatorial Zone).
Speaking during the protest, Charles Amadi who is the Secretary-General of the South-East for Buhari Group, raised the alarm that Oshiomhole’s actions were capable of destroying the chances of the APC in Imo State and in the South-East geopolitical zone.
The party chieftain said substituting the names of aspirants who won the party’s primaries held in the state and giving automatic tickets to people who never took part in the primaries was undemocratic.
He urged President Buhari to prevail on Oshiomhole and other members of the APC National Working Committee to adhere to the tenets of internal democracy.
Former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ugochi Nnanna Okoro, accused the national chairman of introducing the kind of impunity that led to the crash of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2015.
Okoro said, “Oshiomhole has moved the secretariat of the party to his private residence, where he stays to perpetrate all forms of impunity but we will resist him in Imo State.
“We will not allow him to destroy the party we fought hard to build. We were called all manner of names because we joined the APC and today the same people are being treated as sacred cows by Oshiomhole. We are by this protest registering our total displeasure with his style of leadership.”
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the APC in Ondo State, Dr Tunji Abayomi, has reiterated that Oshiomole must resign his position, saying his regime had caused more confusion and disorder in the party.
Abayomi was among the senatorial aspirants of the party in the Ondo North Senatorial District of Ondo State but was allegedly denied the ticket of the party. He said the current internal crisis of the party might cause it to lose the forthcoming general elections.
“If his (Oshiomole) supposed reform of the party only brings total chaos and anarchy to the party all over the nation, then I think the party would rather do away with his reform as well as with him,” he said.
Oshiomhole admits challenges, says ‘over 90 per cent of members support me’
The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, has however admitted that managing the fallout of the party’s post-primary crisis has been “quite challenging.”
Oshiomhole spoke with State House correspondents after he and other party chiefs met President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He spoke amidst reports that some state governors and other stakeholders were working towards his removal as the party chairman.
The party chairman said, “On the whole, I am a very happy person. It has been quite challenging but I can say tough time doesn’t last, but tough people will always do.
“I think we have been toughened by our history of struggle. And I am humbled by the amount of support we are getting from critical stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress.
“There may be one or two governors who have issues and those issues can only be resolved democratically within the spirit, the letter and all the relevant provisions of the APC constitution, electoral guidelines and of course the Electoral Act.
He added, “The Electoral Act is completely blind and our party rules too are completely blind to power; it is sensitive to procedures, it is sensitive to processes.
“The good news is that the overwhelming majority, we have about 23 governors; I think we are very much happy. I don’t have issues with anyone, only one or two may have some situation that they may want to see differently but that is how the world is.
“It is not correct to suggest that there is a move, though one governor has publicly said he will ensure that I am removed, that is fine; the beauty of democracy is anyone or two could say something, but the majority is what matters.
He believed the two might have deeper reflections and recognise that the rules must be obeyed.
“I think that I can say comfortably that about 90 per cent of the APC membership is happy, it is not possible to have 100 per cent.
“I just want to say that this is my finest hour. I am being encouraged by the level of participation in our primaries and of course the more open, the more the democratic process is,” he said.
He said his leadership was working towards entrenching the core values of progressive politics where party members drive the process.
APC senators plead with aggrieved colleagues not to dump party
The Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has urged his colleagues who failed to get tickets to return to the chamber not to dump the ruling party.
Lawan, who noted that the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, and the National Working Committee of the party had tried their best to protect the interests of loyal members, said defection was not the option for those who did not scale through.
Lawan said, “They are our colleagues and we will always wish that they don’t get into this kind of situation. We are still battling to help people get nominated, we have not given up. Since the defections started, we have been on it and we have not given up yet.”