After two weeks of a bitter power struggle in the All Progressives Congress (APC), the reinstated National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, on Tuesday toed the path of reconciliation, saying he is ready to work with party leaders, irrespective of ideological differences.
A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Jabi on March 4 had ordered the suspension of Mr Oshiomhole as APC chairman, pending the determination of a substantive suit.
The court order blew wide open the simmering crisis in the party as the contending forces showed their hands.
At a meeting in Abuja, four ministers joined a group of leaders of the party from Mr Oshiomhole’s South-south region to call for his sack and replacement by Victor Giadom, the deputy national secretary who had announced his take over of the party’s national secretariat.
Mr Giadom had also summoned a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party for Tuesday (today), a development that further deepened the crisis.
On Monday, the Court of Appeal reversed the suspension and reinstated Mr Oshiomhole, pending hearing of his appeal.
“I have been forced to agree that I am not the best chairman in the world and I will never be. But nobody can fault my sincerity of purpose. My style can only be my style but I have recognised that I must reconcile my style to the style of others so that we will meet in the middle of the way,” Mr Oshiomhole said on Tuesday, adopting a pacifist tone for the first time since he assumed the leadership of the ruling party in 2018.
Mr Oshiomhole’s suspension unveiled the multifaceted nature of the crisis rocking the party.
While some accused the chairman of high-handedness in leading the party, others threw their weight strongly behind him.
The drums of war became silent on Monday immediately after the Progressive Governors Forum met with President Muhammadu Buhari in the State House on the crisis.
Some members of the forum, state governors elected on the APC platform, had been alleged to be behind the call for the national chairman’s removal due to their personal ambitions.
The meeting with the president led to the indefinite postponement of the controversial NEC meeting slated for Tuesday.
A National Working Committee (NWC) meeting was held at the party secretariat instead on Tuesday.
The secretariat was filled to the brim as Mr Oshiomhole in the company of a majority of the NWC members later addressed journalists on the status of the party.
Among the NWC members PREMIUM TIMES identified with Mr Oshiomhole were the controversially approved deputy national chairman (South), Abiola Ajimobi; the deputy national secretary, Mr Giadom; the party’s national auditor, Paul Chukwuma; vice-chairmen of some of the geo-political zones except that of North-east, Salihu Mustapha; and few other members of the NWC.
The controversially approved acting national secretary of the party, Waziri Bulama, was reported to have been at the party secretariat complex but this reporter did not see him at the meeting.
In the euphoria of his reinstatement, Mr Oshiomhole acknowledged the animosity among party leaders but denied the existence of division in the NWC.
“This NWC is not divided,” he said. “It is true that we have arguments, it is true that some people must have been provoked to approach the court, but it is also true that deep in our hearts, no one of us wants to destroy our party,” he said.
He accused the main opposition party, PDP, of amplifying APC’s internal crisis.
“It can only be unusual when we fight each other, quarrel with one another, we develop that level of animosity that we become incapable of sitting down, put on our thinking cap, reminding ourselves that the things that are binding us together are more than what divide us,” Mr Oshiomhole said.
He also noted the widely referred suspicion that some of the party’s governors want him removed.
The governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, on several occasions accused Mr Oshiomhole of trying to teleguide him as a godfather. Mr Obaseki also accused the national chairman of trying to deny him APC ticket for a second term.
There is also a speculation that the Progressive Governors Forum is planning to present one of its members as the party’s presidential candidate in 2023 and that the governors consider Mr Oshiomhole a threat to the plan.
In reaction to this, Mr Oshiomhole said: “I am not capable of being bias by the very background I am from and I recognise that one tree cannot make a forest, however that tree might think of itself.”