Bola Tinubu, a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has declared support for the embattled national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, over the crisis rocking the party.
Tinubu, in a statement he personally signed, also said those behind the crisis were preparing for the 2023 general election.
Recalled that Oshiomhole was suspended by an Abuja high court based on an earlier controversial suspension by the APC in Edo, Oshiomhole’s home state.
Hours after the suspension, the APC announced three new members of its National Working Committee, including Waziri Bulama as acting national secretary, a move condemned by some leaders of the party.
A federal court in Kano later gave a different order that Mr Oshiomhole should continue in office.
Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo State, is appealing the suspension as well as the attendant decision to deny him access to the party’s national secretariat.
Amidst the controversy, the assistant national secretary of the party, Victor Gaidom, circulated a statement announcing a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on March 17.
But a counter-statement issued by some top officials of the APC enjoined party members to ignore Mr Gaidom saying his action fell outside the party’s constitution and jurisdiction. The statement was jointly signed by Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party spokesperson; Babatunde Ogala, the national legal adviser; and Mr Bulama.
Gaidom, however, continued to insist he is the next in line in the party hierarchy following Mr Oshiomhole’s suspension and the absence of a substantive national secretary. The party’s former national secretary is now the governor of Yobe State.
On Wednesday, a high court in Abuja restrained party members – specifically Messrs Issa-Onilu, Ogala, and Bulama – from disrupting next Tuesday’s NEC meeting.
In his statement, Tinubu said the driving symptoms of those behind the APC crisis is their belief that “the events of 2023 will be decided before we even exit the year 2020.”
He described Oshiomhole as a “tireless campaigner and mobilizer” for the APC that deserves to be supported despite his imperfections.
“It is against this backdrop that we should view the present ploys and plots to undermine the APC National Chairman. The Chairman is human; thus, he has his merits as well as his flaws.
Yet his humanity cannot be grounds for his dismissal. If so, the position will forever go vacant.
“The Chairman has been a tireless campaigner and mobilizer for the party. He has steered the party through difficult elections.
His contributions should not be undervalued now that the bulk of elections are behind us,” the former Lagos governor said.
He also condemned the call for the NEC meeting by Gaidom and said such crisis was not in the interest of Buhari.
“…those afflicted with the 2023 virus do a grave disservice to President Buhari and his administration,” he said.