Governors Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), and Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara); after serving for eight years as governors of their respective states were each gifted with Senate tickets but their cherished aspirations to produce their successors derailed. Vanguard gathered that the national leadership of the party submitted the list of the party’s governorship tickets well before today’s deadline, ostensibly to fend off pressures from the governors and other interests.
Okorocha, who was weighing the option of fielding his son-in-law on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, SDP in a retort accused the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of costing the party five million members since his advent on account of alleged poor leadership.
Governor Amosun who also has the Senate ticket for Ogun Central rebuffed assertions by Oshiomhole of innocence in the affairs of Ogun State as he vowed that the national chairman’s alleged plot to foist gangsters on the state and hand over the patrimony of Ogun State to a rapacious and expansionist South-West gang would be firmly resisted. Associates of the governor, it was gathered, were also scheming to dump the APC for the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP.
Governor Yari was, however, in a hearty mood yesterday evening when he addressed media men. Though his name was forwarded as replacement for Senator Ahmad Sani (Yeriman Bakura), his succession plot to project his commissioner for finance, Mukhtar Shehu Idris as his successor was firmly rebuffed with the adoption of Dr. Dauda Lawal as the governorship ticket holder. That, however, is still unsure given the stance by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC that the APC will not field candidates from the state for all elective positions in the state.
Vanguard gathered yesterday in Owerri that Okorocha’s associates had put the SDP as their last option of holding on to the Government House with the option of pushing Nwosu in as the candidate.
Remarkably, though the party was, by yesterday said to be holding out towards Okorocha despite the interest of two other strong governorship candidates, Senator Samdaddy Anyanwu, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Okey Ezeh of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
As a result of the pendency of Nwosu’s interest, Vanguard gathered that SDP, had as at press time yesterday not submitted any name to INEC for the Imo governorship ticket.
A source close to the party told Vanguard yesterday,
“I want to tell you the truth, no name has been submitted to INEC, from SDP,” a source who nevertheless admitted that Casmir Anyanwu won the primaries of the party.
“Among the names which I have mentioned the reason why the party has not submitted their names, was that the party was looking for somebody that can clinch the victory for SDP.
“In all sincerity, the name of Uche Nwosu may fly. He has the capacity to deliver, forget all that is happening to him in APC, by the time he finally resolves to join us the game will change.
“For now, Okorocha is negotiating very well. We will give them our conditions, and we hope that it will work out well after INEC, has released the lists of candidates.”
He spoke further: “The reason why Senator Anyanwu and Okey Ezeh have not scaled through is that the Okorocha factor is a strong one that you cannot just end like that.”
Okorocha, however, insisted yesterday that he would not leave the APC having been a founding father even as he insisted that Oshiomhole’s alleged failures had led to the loss of five million members.
Speaking to reporters after a closed-door session with President Muhammadu Buhari, Okorocha said the president remained the rallying force behind the continued unity of the APC even and with the same breath said that Oshiomhole could not with his alleged failures disintegrate the party.
He also said that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commendation of Oshiomhole flowed from ignorance on the alleged failures of the national chairman.
“I am here to clear the air that the Presidency is behind what Oshiomhole is doing in some of the States which has affected our party negatively. From my understanding from Mr. President, there is no such directive for Oshiomhole to do anything illegal or create any sign of injustice and as so, Oshiomhole is on his own in this whole thing.
“There is no presidency support for him to refuse a candidate who won the election and give to the wrong candidate who did not win the election. This is the matter, and I will simply say it is not with the consent of the presidency, he is on his own.
When asked whether APC was going to disintegrate as a result of the crisis in the party, Okorocha who said that he was the person that named the party APC said, “Well, APC will not disintegrate for as long as the person, Muhammadu Buhari is still the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and remains the leader of this party.
“So, we cannot give that credit to the chairman. He cannot disintegrate this party, the party is still intact, just that many people are hurt. Since his inception and after this primaries, we are losing almost five million voters because of anger, protest everywhere, and he needs to be called to order, he has to respect the rule of law, respect court orders and do the right thing – obey court orders where applicable and not turn himself into INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission).
The APC Governors Forum Chairman said that the tacit support for Oshiomhole by Tinubu was based on ill-information on the side of the national leader.
“Maybe, he is being misinformed. If he is properly informed, he will not say what Oshiomhole is doing is the right thing.”
On his rumoured plan to defect to the Social Democratic Party, SDP, he said, “SDP? How can I build a house and leave it for someone else? I am in APC, I founded the APC, I gave the name APC, and so this is our party, and we must continue with the party and build the party for victory. “
Meanwhile, Nwosu, yesterday radiated a kind of confidence that seemed to push aside the fact that he was not the candidate of the APC.
Nwosu said: “Apart from available records, which showed that I am the authentic governorship candidate of our party, I also have a valid Court Order barring the partly and INEC from substituting my name. So the media house reporting that is obviously sponsored to do a hatchet job”.
“There are no contentions to my victory at the Imo State governorship primary election. What we have in the records is that the governorship candidate of APC in Imo State is Uche Nwosu, not only that, I have a valid Court Order barring the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from receiving any other name that is not my name.
“There is no contention in that, the only primary that was upheld was that of Agbabiaka, which I won, and everybody knew it was the authentic primary.
Also, Senator Anyanwu, through his Chief Press Secretary, Kelechi Eke, has said that he would not dump the PDP, for SDP.
He said: “For the records, Sen. Samdaddy Anyanwu as the highest political office holder in PDP in Imo State will never leave the party for any individual or group of Individuals.
Governor Amosun was as at press time yesterday, locked in a strategy meeting with his associates ahead of today’s deadline for the submission of governorship candidates by INEC. His preferred aspirant for the APC ticket, Adekunle Akinlade was edged out by Chief Dapo Abiodun whose emergence has been seriously challenged by Amosun and his political machine.
As at the time of filing this report, governor Amosun was holding a meeting with his loyalists over the decision of the National Working Committee of the party on the party candidates in the state ahead of the coming elections.
Vanguard gathered that Amosun was under pressure from loyalists who did not make the party list submitted to INEC to pull out from the APC to DPP.
However, the associates were said not to have reached a consensus on the issue with some still preferring the safety of the APC than migration to a new platform.
One source pointed at the Chief of Staff to the governor, Tolu Odebiyi as equivocating on the issue and that he had been given a 24-hour ultimatum to make up his mind.
The Chief of Staff was said to have requested for 48 hours to consult his people .
Governor Amosun was last night unyielding to the claims of innocence by Oshiomhole. The governor in a statement issued by his commissioner for information, Dayo Oduneye in responding to Oshiomhole’s claim that he would not sell his conscience said:
The attention of the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibukunle
“We state without any fear of equivocation that no one, at least not on the side of Senator Amosun, has requested or expected Oshiomole to sell his conscience. The least we expect of him is to abide by the rules and guidelines of the APC. Oshiomole knows, as we know, that in the instance of the last primaries in Ogun State, he has fallen short of the minimum standards of justice, equity and fairness.
“The resort to hiding under the false claims about “conscience and integrity” is cheap.
“Oshiomile knows that there were no other gubernatorial primaries in Ogun State other than the one that produced Hon. Adekunle Akinlade as candidate. He knows that the primaries into national and legislative offices were won hundred per cent by those declared winner by the panel he sent to Ogun State to oversee the exercise. He knows that the shenanigan of unknown court injunctions, unknown appeal panels and all sorts unleashed on the process by him and his cohorts are premeditated schemes executed to deny the members of the APC their true choice of candidates in the elections.
“Our consolation lies in the fact that in the fullness of time, what remains unknown to the public will become bare and everyone will see Oshiomole and his co-travellers for who they are.
“In his conduct, Oshiomole has exhibited disdain for the interest of the APC and that of the National Leader of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari. Senator Amosun remains committed to his convictions about President Buhari and nothing in the shenanigan of the primaries will change that.
“Finally, Oshiomole’s claim that only three state governors are aggrieved about the conduct of the primaries flies in the face of the nation-wide outcry that remains loud, trailing the exercise several weeks after. We remind him that in any case, justice is not dependent on the number of whom it has been denied.
“Injustice to one is injustice to all. The overwhelming majority of members of the APC in Ogun State remain unshaken in their rejection of the gangsterism that has been visited on them in the conduct of the primaries.
“They remain resolved that the attempt to hand over their state and their patrimony to a rapacious gang of expansionists in the South West will be resisted, not only by members of the APC but by the entire people of Ogun State who are too enlightened to tolerate such abomination.”