Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, last night threatened to pull out of the All Progressives Congress (APC) if the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party fails to uphold the candidacy of his anointed governorship candidate, Abdul-Kabir Adekunle Akinlade.
This is coming a few hours after Governors Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Umar Ganduje (Kano), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi) and Kashim Shettima (Borno) met with President Muhammadu Buhari to seek his intervention in the contentious primaries in the states.
Amosun issued this threat during a meeting with some party leaders and his loyalists across the 20 local government areas of the state held at his private residence located inside Ibara GRA, Abeokuta.
According to a source who was present at the meeting, the governor, who briefed his loyalists on the outcome of his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the national leadership of APC, did not give any hint on the party he may join.
He further told our correspondent that Amosun informed them that rather than the NWC iron out the issue of the governorship, he was asked to share the national and state assemblies tickets with certain group of individuals, who, according to him, did not participate in both the governorship and legislative primaries.
The source added that the governor berated those he termed “Abuja connection APC” for standing rules of the primary election on its head and produced Abiodun as the party’s candidate instead of Akinlade, who emerged through a direct primary.
The Ogun governor, the source stated, made it clear that he could not work with Abiodun, who he said lacked the wherewithal to win a senatorial district, let alone the whole of Ogun State, insisting he would rather bid APC goodbye rather than accept his candidacy.
When told about a rumour making the rounds that the governor may likely defect to the Accord Party, the source insisted the governor was silent on the choice of the party, but made it clear that he would never defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a related development, five governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) met with President Buhari, yesterday, behind closed-doors, at the State House, Abuja and pleaded with him to intervene in the simmering crises occasioned by the party’s primaries.
They also assured that the APC is not jittery over the emergence of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in next year’s presidential election.
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Governors at the meeting, which that was also attended by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the State House, were Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Kashim Shettima (Borno); and Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos) and Rochas Okorocha (Imo), as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
Okorocha, who is also Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum told State House Correspondents what they discussed with the president.
“We are here as a delegation of APC governors, to congratulate the president, for emerging the presidential candidate of our great party APC for the 2019 election and we believe that its victory well-deserved. The honour we have given him confirms our confidence in the man Buhari.
“The president is quite happy with this visit and he will soon give us a date as we requested, to celebrate him and tell the world about our joy and happiness that he emerged our presidential flag-bearer, which is victory assured come 2019,” he said.
Asked about plans to address issues arising from the recent primary elections in the party, Okorocha replied: “We have looked at issues concerning our primaries. In every democracy, we expect some kind of disagreement and we have kindly requested that something be done fast, to bring all warring factions together so we can have a united party to face the challenges ahead and we are happy that that will soon take place.
“Most of the problems are already being resolved, except for one or two states like Zamfara and where it becomes very difficult, we will ask for the President’s intervention in the matter.
“Reconciliation is the main thing we want because we do not want to go into this battle a divided family and we want to make sure that all governors are intact, all National Assembly members are intact while going into this battle,” he stressed.
The governor said the APC will not be dragged into what he described as noise by the opposition, ahead of the 2019 election.
Rather, he said the campaign of the party would be based on issues.
“Our election, this time, will not engage on castigations or talking. We will be taking on issues; Nigerians are tired of political abuses. What we want to be talking about are issues, the track records of people involved in our elections.
“Nigerians are wise now. Before they elect anybody they will ask questions, what has been your track record, who were you before, who are you now and everything about you. And, for that reason, we are confident that in 2019, APC will go through.”
On whether the controversy surrounding Zamfara State APC primaries was part of the discussion with the president, he said, “Zamfara is one of the issues that we have addressed also.”
On Atiku’s candidacy, he said: “I don’t know about talking tough, we can’t be jittery and history is there to speak, history is very important and it is there to speak.
“So, as I said, we are not going to engage in this verbal war with anybody, we will be talking about issues.
“If we say ‘look, you are not good,’ we tell you what we can do and we cannot do and what others cannot do.
“APC is not going to join in those talkshops but we are discussing issues of what our party can for our people.”
Asked what Buhari’s response was, he replied: “The president is quite happy with the whole outing and he will give us a date to celebrate him and tell the world our joy and happiness, that he emerged as our presidential flag-bearer which is victory assured 2019.”