The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu has described the ruling party as being under critical threat by those he described as people who managed to be in the party but are never of it.
Tinubu, a former governor Lagos State, who was apparently reacting to the APC National Working Committee (NWC’s) decision on the Ondo State governorship primary election crisis, lamented that despite APC’s quest for good democratic governance, it is under serious destruction by those who do not mean well for it.
In a statement issued on Sunday by his media organisation, Tinubu accused the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun of breaching the party’s good pledge in a most overt and brazen display on his decision on the Ondo primary election crisis.
Tinubu said: “From the party’s inception, the principles of democratic fairness and justice were to guide the APC’s internal deliberations. The party’s founders realised that only by intramural fair dealing could it remain faithful to the progressive ideals that we presented to the Nigerian electorate as our governing creed. If the party could not justly govern itself, it would find it difficult to establish and maintain a just government throughout the nation.
“In essence, the party was the embodiment of a democratic promise made between its members as well as a democratic vow made to the public. Evidently, some errant members believe promises and vows are mere words to be easily spoken and more easily broken.
“The Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun has breached these good pledges in a most overt and brazen display. In doing so, Odigie-Oyegun has dealt a heavy blow to the very party he professes to lead. It is an awful parent who suffocates his own child for the sake of a few naira notes. The party was supposed to buttress APC members elected to government at all levels. Because of Odigie-Oyegun’s conduct of our affairs, the party is rapidly becoming an albatross to those it was meant to help.
“Odigie-Oyegun’s comportment regarding the Ondo State primary will become the textbook definition of political treachery and malfeasance of the basest order. In early September, the state primary was held. A purported winner was named. Having faith in the ways of the party, Tinubu publicly accepted what he assumed to be a verdict honestly derived. As a democrat, one must face the possibility of defeat and accept such as outcome with as much grace as one would embrace victory. One of the few bright spots during the conduct of the primaries was the Jigawa Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar,” he said.
He regretted that the Odigie-Oyegun-led APC NWC could go ahead to submit the name of Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s candidate for the November governorship election in Ondo State, despite overwhelming proof of use of a fake list which was allegedly compiled by the national leadership of the APC.
“The delegate list had been materially altered by someone in a strategic position to do so. The names of over 150 valid delegates were execised to make room for an equal number of impostors. This was not a clerical error. The alteration was wilfully executed that the primary would be directed toward a chosen end that bore nothing in common with the will of most state party members. A cunning few had tried to deceive the many into believing they were outnumbered,” he said.
Tinubu continued: “A conspiracy to steal the Ondo primary had been uncovered. Fortunately, the grand deception afoot had been unable to cover its tracks fast enough. Truth began to cry for justice. Several candidates filed petitions contesting the result. The party established an investigative board to review the evidence. In a two to one decision, the panel found the delegate roster had suffered tampering. The panel recommended that a new primary should be held using the valid delegate list. This recommendation was tabled before the National Working Committee (NWC).
“After the NWC vote, a noticeably agitated Chairman Odigie-Oyegun proposed the NWC engage in prayer before concluding the meeting. Adhering to this chairman’s request, NWC members began to pray. Seeing that the others had taken his bait, Odigie-Oyegun used the prayerful interlude to secretly excuse himself from the meeting. Contravening the NWC decision and in violation of all rules of fundamental decency, Odigie-Oyegun decided to safeguard the fraud done in Ondo by perpetrating a greater fraud. Odigie-Oyegun arrogated to himself the right to submit the name of Rotimi Akeredolu to INEC as the candidate of the party.
“Truth has finally come to light. There exists a regressive element in the party that cares nothing for the progressive ideas upon which this party was founded. They joined the APC because it was the best ride available at the time. Now they want to guide the party into the ditch. They want to turn the party into a soulless entity incapable of doing good, just like they are.