Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has finally opened up on the ouster of Adams Oshiomhole, the party’s former national chairman and his loyalist.
In a 1858-word statement on Saturday, Tinubu detailed how the crisis which saw the dissolution of the party’s national working committee (NWC) could have been averted.
He admitted there were mistakes which Oshiomhole must own up to, and also spoke about speculations that he ended up a loser in the aftermath of the crisis regarding his reported presidential ambition.
Here are seven key things the former governor of Lagos state said:
‘OSHIOMHOLE MADE MISTAKES’
Tinubu said though Oshiomhole “tried his best” while overseeing the affairs of the party for two years, he acted “too little too late” in addressing some urgent issues that arose.
He also said the erstwhile national chairman must own up to mistakes made during his tenure.
“Some members went against their chairman in a bid to forcefully oust him. In hindsight, his fence-mending attempts were perhaps too little too late,” Tinubu said.
“I believed and continue to believe that Comrade Oshiomhole tried his best. Mistakes were made and he must own them. Yet, we must remember also that he was an able and enthusiastic campaigner during the 2019 election. He is a man of considerable ability as are the rest of you who constituted the NWC.”
‘PEOPLE THOUGHT APC WILL DISINTEGRATE’
Tinubu, a founding leader of the APC, added that some people had predicted “the total disintegration of our party” following the crisis.
“Most such dire predictions were from critics whose forecasts said more about their ill will than they revealed about our party’s objective condition,” he said.
Although he described the predictions as premature, he added that “an honest person must admit the party had entered a space where it had no good reason to be”.
‘NO DECISION ON 2023 PRESIDENTIAL RACE’
The APC leader also took a jab at those who said the outcome of President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention in the crisis shattered his presidential ambition.
He described the claims as “distasteful”, saying he has made no decision regarding the next presidential election.
He said: “I am but a mere mortal who does not enjoy the length of foresight or political wisdom you profess to have. Already, you have assigned colourful epitaphs to the 2023 death of an alleged political ambition that is not yet even born.
“At this extenuating moment with COVID-19 and its economic fallout hounding us, I cannot see as far into the distance as you. I have made no decision regarding 2023 for the concerns of this hour are momentous enough.
“During this period, I have not busied myself with politicking regarding 2023. I find that a bit distasteful and somewhat uncaring particularly when so many of our people have been unbalanced by the twin public health and economic crises we face.”
‘NWC EXHIBITED BEHAVIOUR OF A FIGHT CLUB’
Tinubu tackled the former members of the dissolved NWC who he said failed to use the party mechanisms to address their grievances.
He said these party leaders had wanted to “use the power of executive authority to bury each other,” thus exhibiting “the behaviour of a fight club (which is) not the culture of a progressive political party”.
“The National Working Committee, itself, became riven by unnecessary conflict. Those who disagreed with one another stopped trying to find common ground,” he said.
“Order, party discipline and mutual respect went out of the window. Members instituted all manner of court cases, most of them destructive, some of them frivolous, none of them necessary. In the process, a dense fog fell upon our party.”
‘BUHARI’S DECISION MUST BE ACCEPTED’
Tinubu commended Buhari’s intervention, saying the president “cares about the condition of the party as any parent would care for its offspring”.
“With lawsuits so numerous one needed a spread sheet to keep track, President Buhari has reasonably decided that he has seen enough. I do not lament his intervention or its outcome. I lament that the situation degenerated to the point where he felt compelled to intervene,” he said.
He said what is worrisome was that “so many trusted people acted in such a way as to force the president to put aside the issues of statecraft in order to address these problems”.
“The President has spoken and his decision has been accepted. It is now beholden on all of us, as members of the APC, to recommit ourselves to the ideals and principles on which our party was founded,” he added.
‘EX-NWC MEMBERS SHOULD SHEATHE THEIR SWORDS’
The APC leader appealed to former members of the party’s NWC to sheathe their swords and “look to the larger picture”.
He said members must “subordinate their ambitions to health and well-being of the party” against all odds.
“Never should our party be defined by one person’s interests or even the amalgam of all members’ individual interests, he said adding that “a successful party must be greater than the sum of its parts”.
EDO, ONDO GUBER POLLS UP NEXT
He added that the party must unite to win the governorship elections in Edo — where the incumbent defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and emerged its candidate — and Ondo states.
“We have governorship elections around the corner in Edo and a primary and elections in Ondo. On these important events we must concentrate our immediate energies,” he said.
“In Edo, we must rally round our candidate Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu. In this, Comrade Oshiomhole has a crucial role to play. I congratulate him for his equanimity and loyalty to the party and our President in accepting the dissolution of the NWC. I encourage him, now, to return to Edo State to energise the campaign for the election of Pastor Ize-Iyamu.”
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