Why APC Governors Initially Refuse to Support Oshiomhole As Chairman
The party is expected to hold its national convention soon, and Mr President wants Oshiomhole to replace John Odigie-Oyegun, but the move has met a brick wall from the party governors, ministers and other bigwigs.
This magazine gathered that apart from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who actually nominated Oshiomhole to Buhari, other party gladiators are throwing their weight behind the re-election of Oyegun.
PMB, as President Buhari is fondly called, is currently stacked with the tide because the heat generated by this issue may make or mar his second term chances. He definitely needs Tinubu’s support (the reason he is backing Oshiomhole) and he also can’t afford to lose the support of the governors and ministers, including Rotimi Amaechi who is leading the anti-Oshiomhole group.
It was gathered that the governors and lawmakers are unrelenting and have their reservations about the character of the newly adopted candidate of the Presidency which they did not share with Buhari at meeting held recently. PMB had pleaded with them during the meeting.
Meanwhile, the APC has announced new dates for the conduct of its ward, local government and State Congresses. A statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Bolaji Abdulahi gave May 5, 12 and 19, for conduct of ward, local government and State Congresses. The statement was however silent on the date for the national convention.
Buhari’s admonition may fall on deaf ears as governors and lawmakers with second term aspirations are comfortable with the sitting National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, whom they find pliable as he allows them to appropriate party structure in their respective states despite disavowal by other party bigwigs who have been sidelined in the running of the state chapters.
A party source cited state chapters like Kaduna, Kogi and Bauchi as dark spots where the governors latch onto the indifference of the outgoing National Working Committee despite petitions written to the national secretariat by aggrieved chieftains in the affected states.
“The table may be turned against them in an Oshiomhole administration as they don’t see him as a willing tool. Unlike an Oyegun who needs an el-Rufai to facilitate audience with President Buhari, Comrade Oshiomhole enjoys a warm relationship with the president and doesn’t need a third party,” the source argued.
The APC Governors’ Forum, a powerful block within the ruling party, may have lost out in the unfolding power game ahead of the convention. Checks revealed that the Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, is leading the pro-Oyegun forces in the North-West with support from the likes of Yahaya Bello from North-Central. But the rug has since been pulled off their feet as a major player in the North-West, the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, was privy to the London meeting where a former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu, presented Oshiomhole as his anointed candidate to President Buhari.
Tinubu’s deftness in winning the Kano State governor to his side is a masterstroke as Kano is coming to the convention with the highest number of delegates.
It was gathered that President Buhari’s Tuesday declaration of support for Oshiomhole ostensibly caught the governors napping.
Following Buhari’s intercession for Oshiomhole, Tinubu’s estranged allies in the South-West, the governors of Ogun and Ondo states, Ibikunle Amosun and Rotimi Akeredolu are in a dilemma as regards what to do with the new development.