Describing them as ‘migrant’ and ‘rolling stone’ politicians, the party chairman said this in his opening remarks at the National Executive Council meeting of the party holding at its National Secretariat, Abuja.
According to him, when he took over as national chairman, he initiated peace moves to assuage the feelings of those who had genuine grievances that he felt the party could address.
He, however, said, “But those who were determined to leave, not on account of what anybody has done wrong against them, but on account of an ambition they believe they cannot realise on our platform, even though they were not denied the opportunity to try out that ambition, but perhaps because they could read like an oracle what the future would be, particularly as people have contested before when we didn’t have any incumbent.
“Those who had dollars gave; those who had nails gave and Mr. President said I don’t have, but even if I have, I won’t give, but will offer honest leadership. At the end, the President won, but the victory did not purge those with that ambition and they were determined that they must contest and they were free to do that.
“I had thought that by the provisions in our party constitution, they had the right to contest and that right was not going to be denied them. But reflecting on what has happened in the past and reading the minds of party members and leaders, they came to the conclusion that the only way they can realise their ambition was to relocate and they relocated.”
He further said, “For distant observers, they think that this is a huge blow to our party. I made a comment which seems to have been misunderstood in some quarters, when I said that if some individuals of no particular fixed political address decide to leave, I will not lose my sleep.
“I speak of no particular fixed address because if you have a history of moving every season from one political party to the other with one constant thing in mind — to contest — now, what is your political address? So, for people like that who are migrant politicians, rolling stone politicians, I am not able to identify their political address and therefore, I refuse to miss my sleep.”
Oshiomhole stressed that some misconstrued his comments to mean arrogance, but that all he did was to be blunt, noting that there was little, if anything, he could do about people who felt they must contest and win every election and if they don’t, they take their loyalty elsewhere.
He assured party members, especially legislators who have genuine cases of unfair treatment, that the party would do what is right to ensure that justice is done.
The party chairman expressed delight that President Muhammdu Buhari has not disappointed Nigerians since he took over the saddle of leadership in 2015.
He also noted that since the president took over, the APC has won most of the elections it had contested in various states, the latest being in Ekiti State which, before APC’s victory, was a stronghold of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.