There are indications that a leadership meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will hold next week to determine the fate of Adams Oshiomhole, the embattled National Chairman of the party.
It was learned that as a precursor to this meeting, Bola Tinubu, the party’s National Leader, and Oshiomhole, met in Paris, France, on Thursday. The APC National Leader had gone to France ahead of the President’s visit to the country.
The meeting between Tinubu and Oshiomhole centred on the growing plot by aggrieved party members especially governors to remove Oshiomhole from office, Punch reports.
Concise News had reported earlier that the former Lagos State governor threw his weight behind the APC Chairman who is now under probe by the Department of State Services (DSS).
Giving an update on the crisis in the ruling party, an APC source said, “Tinubu and Oshiomhole met in Paris on Thursday over attempts by governors and some members of the NWC to remove the party chairman. You will recall that it was Asiwaju who paved the way for the emergence of Oshiomhole as the chairman when Chief Oyegun wanted a tenure extension.
“Now that he has come under probe by the DSS and is being asked to step aside, he has run to Tinubu to save him. It remains unclear what their strategy will be to put a stop to the probe,” the source said.
It was gathered that some aggrieved governors had begun reaching out to members of the National Working Committee (NWC) to ask Oshiomhole to step aside pending the outcome of the DSS probe.
A member of the party’s NWC, said, “The fact that Oshiomhole is under investigation for allegedly collecting money from aspirants is bad for the image of the APC government which claims to be fighting corruption.
“It is for this reason that the NWC members are being asked (by interested parties) to push for the suspension of the APC chairman pending the outcome of the probe. The President’s body language and actions in the coming days will determine Oshiomhole’s fate. For now, we are still considering it but we don’t want to make any hasty decision until we are sure that we have the President’s backing.”
Another party source told Punch that the high-ranking party leaders would meet “next week” to decide the best way to proceed without “further depleting the party’s public image and goodwill.”
It was learned that President Buhari, who has taken charge of efforts to resolve the party’s post-primary crisis, would be convening the meeting.
Apart from the President,those expected at the Abuja meeting include: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Tinubu, pioneer Interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu (as former chairman of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party), and Prince Tony Momoh (former National Chairman of the Congress for Progressive Change).
The party source said, “The matter is receiving attention at the highest level. We cannot pretend, the situation involving our national chairman is already in public domain.
“His invitation and subsequent interrogation by the Department of State Services is an indictment if you ask me; but you cannot pronounce a man guilty without giving him the right of fair hearing.
“The leadership meeting will take place because as you know, we don’t have a Board of Trustees in place. Mr President as the leader of the party, who in fact, has personally taken over the process of dealing with the post-primary crisis, is convening the meeting to deal with all these issues.”
In response to a question on whether there were charges against the party chairman, the source said, “Our party has a constitution, I refer you to Article 21 which deals with the issue of party discipline. Go and read sub-sections i, ii and xi.”
Article 21 of the APC Constitution (April 2014 As amended) which deals with the discipline of party members reads in part, “Subject to the provision of this Article and the right to fair hearing, the party shall have power to discipline party members. The power shall be exercised on behalf of the party by the respective Executive Committee of the party at all levels.
“Offences against the party shall include the following: (i)a breach of any provision of this constitution; (i) anti-party activities or any conduct, which is likely to embarrass or have adverse effect on the party or put it into hatred, contempt, ridicule or disrepute; (xi) in cases of alteration of delegate lists, falsification of nomination results, and or tampering with the processes of internal democracy of the party, the offender shall be liable to expulsion from the party and be prosecuted.”
Meanwhile, APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, confirmed on Friday night that the party chairman has returned to the country. Concise News had reported on Friday that Oshiomhole was on his way back to the country.
“The APC chairman is back in the country as scheduled. This is contrary to speculations that he was running away. He has been postponing the trip due to the party primaries and submission of candidates’ names to INEC, ” Issa-Onilu told Punch.
Asked about the meeting between Oshiomhole and Tinubu in France, the APC spokesman replied, “I don’t have such information yet.”
On the proposed leadership meeting holding in Abuja next week, the APC image maker said, “I am not aware but even if such meeting would hold…you see there is no crisis in APC. What people call crisis, I call conflict. I can assure you that we are in peace in the APC. The chairman and the NWC are standing for democracy and you should expect resistance.