•Oshiomhole: problems ’ll be solved
Aggrieved All Progressives Congress (APC) members in the House of Representatives are being enticed with mouth-watering cash and automatic return ticket to leave the party, House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila said yesterday.
He spoke during a meeting between APC lawmakers and the National Working Committee (NWC) led by Adams Oshiomhole.
Gbajabiamila demanded automatic return tickets for the faithful members to compensate them for theitr steadfastness and broaden the gains of democracy.
But Oshiomhole said he could not guarantee a return ticket adding that the APC would not impose candidates on their constituents.
The chairman added that while the party would continue to dialogue with members of the party with genuine grievances, it would not negotiate with those he described as “political mercenaries”.
Gbajabiamila said it took commitment of the members to the party and its ideology to turn down the tempting monetary offer, stressing that he was confident that the automatic ticket being offered would not be given to those who accepted the offer and defected from the APC.
He asked the APC chairman to continue to fight for the interest of the lawmakers and do everything within his power to ensure that they are returned to the House in view of the experiences they have garnered over the years.
He said: “I want to congratulate the party that we are able to heave a sign of relief after what I personally consider an abysmal failure, the attempt to turn APC into a minority party in the House and Senate. The reason why that was not possible is because seated before you is a team committed to the ideals of our party and despite sharing in the grievances of those who have left, remain stead fast.
“It is because of them and not because of anyone of us in leadership, it is because of them, their commitment and steadfastness that in both chambers of the national assembly and especially in the House of Representatives that we command a clear majority. I emphasize this so that the party can begin to appreciate these members.
“It is the time to consolidate and stay in touch with our members and keep them close because, this is what I told you Mr Chairman, this is their time, I was on Channels yesterday with the PDP publicity secretary and it made my heart bleed by the way politicians were described in a term analogous to farming. He said this was a harvest time as if it was a harvest of corn, rice and maize.The APC is not for harvest.
He said a former PDP member who defected to the SDP had now joined the APC.
“This letter came from Hon. Olamide Oni from Ekiti who about three or four months ago, defected from the PDP to the SDP.
“He realised that the only party that can serve his interest is the APC. He is now with us.”
Oshiomhole said the nation must get its politics right, while politicians must learn to have ideology that will drive their electoral process, saying “Until we get there, these musical chairs will continue.”
He said with the defection of some members, “What has happened is that we are able to establish ahead of time those fair-weather party members who go according to where their pocket will be lined. Some of them are politicians of convenience and I don’t think that if we patch them up now, they can still flow.
. “Somebody asked if we are going to counter the PDP by offering automatic ticket and I asked, did we serve anybody a departure ticket? If we did not give you a departure ticket, how did the issue of return ticket arise?
“My own findings arising from interactions, is that it is true that there are a number of legislators who have some issues with their local forces in their respective states and not arising from the federal executives.
“Those issues are local and because every politics is local, every solution to political problem should necessarily be local.
Oshiomhole said to give party members a level-playing ground and to ensure justice and fairness that it decided to use direct primary for the Osun governorship election.
He said “In other to send clear signals out so that no one person or group can hold the system to ransom, we have tried to revisit our constitution and activate all the clauses that will help us to maintain unity and harmony within the house.
“I have said that for us to have peace and unity, we must fight for justice and fairness because peace and unity is an outcome of justice and fairness. If you do not address justice, we cannot preach peace because peace cannot be decreed, but the outcome of a process.
“I said to those who say they are running to PDP that, it is good, that is where you belong. If you left there because you felt that the culture of sharing will be deepened in the APC and you have found that sharing the money is not part of it and you choose to return, good luck to you.
“But you must realize that the access to CBN has been cut off, the access to NNPC has been cut off, the access to converting defense spending has been cut off and those who have done it are helping security agencies to explain, they are confessing how they share the national treasury and so, you are free to go.”