The need to prevent implosion in Nigeria’s governing party as a result of the various complaints trailing the ongoing primary elections of the All Progressive Congress(APC) from snowballing into a major crisis between governors of the APC controlled states and the party’s national chairman, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomole, forced President Muhammadu Buhari to call for an urgent meeting with the governors yesterday.
Sources close to the seat of power explained that the President and the governors met to: among other discuss and iron issues out. especially as it affects the primary elections in the states.
According to a source, some of the governors whose candidates for various elections have been axed by the National Working Committee as supervised by Oshiomhole are said to be creating serious tension within the party as some of the governors have either threatened to quit the party, take the NWC to court or fold their arms during the general elections.
All the governors present were also said to be unhappy with the way their Lagos counterpart, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode was rigged and humiliated out of the gubernatorial race, especially with the role played by the NWC in upholding what was apparently a fraudulent primary election.
The Ogun state governor, Ibukunle Amosun, his Ondo and Kaduna Counterparts, Rotimi Akeredolu and Nasir El Rufai are said to have conveyed the governors positions against the party chairman.
Before now, the Ondo State governor, Rotime Akeredolu SAN had threatened a show down, following the automatic return tickets given to some serving federal lawmakers from the state at the instance of the NWC without his consultation.
Some of the beneficiaries of the NWC gesture are Senators Ajayi Borofice and Alasoadura believed to be sworn enemies of the governor. While Borofice is believed to be loyal to the party leader, Bola Tinubu, Alasoadura is believed to belong to the Saraki group. With the automatic tickets granted them to contest for their seats, the plans of the sitting governor to replace them with his own men has crashed and this is causing serious unrest within the party, hence the urgent intervention of the President.
The governors at the meeting include Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Sani Bello (Niger), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), and Tanko Almakura (Nasarawa)
Presidency sources explained that the governors accused the President and the NWC of the party of breaching agreements reached with the Progressives Governors Forum that saw them stick to the party when three of their counterparts (Benue, Sokoto and Kwara) left largely due to the overbearing nature of political godfathers in the party.
They accused the President of handing over a sensitive state like Lagos to a vicious political cabal whose only reason for changing one of Nigeria’s best performing governor in this era; ranges from the absurd, to incredulous and to outright corruption: which negates the fundamentals of this administration.
An official of the Department of State Service who briefed the gathering highlighted the intelligence gathered during the conduct of APC primary in Lagos State.
1. NWC committee on Lagos State primary was not carried along by the state executive committee in the conduct of primaries.
2. Primaries held in venues with no INEC presence, no result sheets, no aspirant agents signing the result sheets at the venues.
3. Local council chairmen and local council party chairmen who had pledged their support for the opposing aspirant to Governor Ambode were in charge of the conduct of the election in the 274 wards in the state.
4. Thugs engaged by local council chairmen violently prevented party members with party slips from gaining access to the venues of the primaries; giving rise to a situation where a large swath of party members were unaccredited and did not vote in the gubernatorial primary. Party members sustained injuries in the bid to participate in the primary.
5. Option A4 was adopted as against the Open Secret system. The result announced by the Lagos State APC executive committee does not tally with the result from the field.
6. APC had no authenticated party members register that can aid a just, free and fair Direct Primary.
7. Local council chairmen fiercely coerced and intimidated party members to tow the directive of the unofficial National Leader of the party that Babajide Sanwo-Olu must be returned at all cost.
The governors told the President they cannot guaranty the party of their support during the general elections as the Oshiomhole led NWC is micro managing the states by pandering to the wishes and demands of political cabals at the detriment of the interest of party members and in disobedience to the party constitution and primary conduct guidelines.
President Buhari and Chief of Staff Mallam Abba Kyari were stunned at the submission of the governors and the DSS.
Comrade Oshiomhole and Vice President Yemi Oshinbajo will conference with the President over this development as the October 7 deadline on submission of party candidates at the Independent National Electoral Commission draws near.