A national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has accused the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, of undermining his peace efforts.
Tinubu’s allegations were contained in an eight-page letter, dated February 21, 2018, titled, “Actions and Conduct weakening the party from within,’’ a copy of which was obtained by The PUNCH in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the spirit of a new and better Nigeria that guided the party to the unprecedented electoral success had been steadily replaced by “the bankrupt and clueless ways that brought the PDP low.”
Specifically, Tinubu, in the letter, gave insight into what he discussed with the members of the party’s National Working Committee, at a meeting about a week ago and what in specific terms; the party’s national chairman did or was doing to undermine the assignment given to him by Buhari.
He said, “You (Odigie-Oyegun) promised unalloyed support for my mission. Consonant with that vow, you said you would provide all information at your disposal and you vowed to act as a liaison between me and the state party chapters."
“Unfortunately, the spirit of understanding and of cooperative undertaking to revive the party seems not to have lived beyond the temporal confines of that meeting."
“I assure anyone who cares to know that this positive spirit of cooperation did not meet its demise at my hands.”
The party leader explained that the party could only resolve its current deficiencies in an unbiased, neutral manner that would allow it to strengthen internal democracy, internal institutions, and processes.
Tinubu expressed disappointment that instead of support, the party’s national chairman acted in contravention of the spirit of earlier discussions.
He said, “Instead of being a bulwark of support as promised, you positioned yourself in active opposition to the goal of resuscitating the progressive and democratic nature of the APC."
“As a party, we have strived to be the best, present hope for the nation. Yet, your goal appears to be something of a lesser pedigree."
“In our discussion, you personally mentioned Kogi, Kaduna, Kano and Adamawa states as places afflicted by serious party issues. Given your assessment, these are states where I believe cooperation between you and I should have been intense and detailed. Instead, you have taken it as your personal mission to thwart my presidential assignment in these key states."
“In Kogi, you rushed to the state to unilaterally inaugurate new state chapter officials parallel to the officials already heading the state chapter of the party."
“While this may place you in a significant affinity with those parallel officials you handpicked, this machination suggests no improvement in the welfare of the party in Kogi or at the national level. This usurpation of authority exacerbates conflict and confusion; it does not resolve them."
“It is my understanding that your dissolution of the duly constituted state executives and the hurried naming of the above-mentioned caretaker group were not approved by the NWC. This arrogation of power sets you at variance with the members of the NWC as evidenced by the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi’s, statement condemning your improper and unusual action.”
Tinubu also noted that Odigie-Oyegun allowed the crisis to fester for months until the President appointed him to help resolve them.
“By creating a parallel body, you not only acted improperly, you grew a second problem from the stem where previously there had sprouted but one,” he added.
“Drawing from your behavior in Kogi, Kaduna and with regard to the state chapter assessment requested, I am led to the inference that you have no intention of actually supporting my assignment."
“Instead, you apparently seek to undermine my mandate by engaging in dilatory tactics for the most part. When forced to act, you do so in an arbitrary and capricious manner, without the counsel of other NWC members and without regard to our internal procedures,” Tinubu stated.
Giving a brief on what led to his appointment by Buhari, Tinubu recalled that “since the (2015) elections, there have been allegations of self-induced crisis resulting from merchandising of internal processes. We all must agree that the party was bound to suffer growing pains but not to the extent of losing part of the substantial goodwill that brought us to power.”
The former governor of Lagos State said what concerns him more had little to do with the manner by which the party was growing but had more to do with the manner in which the crisis was developing that could lead to serious erosion of party cohesion and confidence.
According to him, he was not alone. He maintained that his grief was shared by so many party members that he would not be accused of exaggeration if he said substantial party leaders were worried about the course of the party’s vessel.
He pointed out that “I believe it was from this sober concern that President Muhammadu Buhari recently appointed me to lead the consultation, reconciliation and confidence-building efforts in our party.”
Odigie-Oyegun could not be reached for comments. Repeated calls to his mobile telephone number were neither picked nor returned. A response to a text message sent to him was still being expected as of 8.30pm.
Meanwhile, the NWC has set up a probe panel to look into the crisis in the Kaduna State chapter of the party.
A statement signed by the party’s spokesperson, Abdullahi said:
“After its executive session which held on Wednesday, the NWC of the APC has decided that the unfolding situation in Kaduna State is deeply regrettable and request all parties in the disagreement to maintain utmost decorum and give an opportunity for true reconciliation."
“Consequently, the NWC has set up a three-man committee led by the Deputy National Chairman (South), Segun Oni, to embark on a fact-finding mission to Kaduna State with a view to identifying the remote and immediate causes of the disagreement and the circumstance that led to the demolition of the house of Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi. The committee is to report back to the NWC within a week. Other members of the Committee are the National Auditor, Chief George Moghalu, and the National Woman Leader, Hajiya Rahmatu Alliyu."
“In respect of Kogi State, the NWC reaffirms that Alhaji Haddy Ametuo remains the chairman of the APC in the state until the appropriate organ of the party decides otherwise in accordance with the party’s constitution."
“The meeting of the NWC which lasted for about seven hours was led by Odigie-Oyegun and was attended by a majority of the NWC members,” the party said in a statement by its spokesman, Abdullahi.