LAGOS / ABUJA – As Adams Oshiomhole, embattled national chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), struggles to keep his job, details have emerged on why Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the party’s national leader, has not intervened in the leadership crisis rocking the party.
A close associate of the former Lagos State governor had earlier told our correspondent that Tinubu was not really enthusiastic about Oshiomhole remaining as APC chairman contrary to some media reports.
He said though Tinubu played a key role in Oshiomhole’s emergence, he will not be part of those insisting that he remains in office at all cost if that will jeopardise the unity of the party.
He said it is a great disservice for anyone to say Tinubu is hell-bent on retaining Oshiomhole as party chairman so that he can use his influence to get him the APC’s presidential ticket in 2023.
“Even though Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is currently in the United Kingdom, I can authoritatively tell you that he is not enthusiastic about Oshiomhole remaining in office as APC chairman at all cost.
“Asiwaju’s position is clear and that is if the majority of the party’s stakeholders who elected Oshiomhole at the party’s national convention in June 2018 feel that he is no longer capable of steering the ship of the party, then that wish must be respected as no single individual is bigger than the party”.
Speaking with our correspondent on Thursday, a top official in South-West APC said Oshiomhole may have incurred the wrath of Tinubu owing to controversy trailing the emergence of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, former governor of Oyo State, who is a strong ally of Tinubu as the party’s deputy national chairman.
According to him, Tinubu is miffed by the failure of Oshiomhole to inaugurate Ajimobi whose endorsement has been ratified since January by the South-West caucus of the party for the position which became vacant following the exit of the former occupant, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, who was appointed as Minister by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said if Ajimobi’s appointment has been announced by Oshiomhole immediately he was cleared by the South-West APC, it would have saved the party the leadership crisis that ensued after Oshiomhole was sacked by a High Court in FCT, Abuja few days ago.
Shortly after Oshiomhole was sacked by the court, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party headed by him immediately announced Ajimobi’s name as the deputy national chairman but some stakeholders kicked against it saying any action taken by Oshiomhole after his ouster by the court is unconstitutional and illegal.
On why Oshiomhole delayed in announcing Ajimobi’s name, our source said he was trying to pacify Governor Kayode Fayemi and Ekiti APC elders who had kicked against the development, saying the vacant slot belongs to Ekiti State and not Oyo.
“It is clear Asiwaju is not happy with him (Oshiomhole) over the latest developments in the party. His failure to act on time is what is responsible for the leadership crisis in the party at the moment.
“The endorsement of Ajimobi was ratified at the end of January but Oshiomhole failed to take any action until the day he was removed by the court. If he had made the announcement earlier, immediately he was removed, Ajimobi as the next senior official would have automatically taken over as the acting national chairman and that would have ensured some stability.
“But as you can see, Oshiomhole who obviously never expected the court ruling that pulled the rug off his feet quickly directed the party’s National Publicity Secretary to announce the name of Ajimobi after he was sacked by the court. That was why those opposing him kicked against him, saying he lacked the powers to do that after he had been removed by the court”, he said.
Also on Thursday, ahead of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting slated for March 17, a big billboard, posters and banners carrying the picture of the suspended national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, have been removed.
Our correspondent gathered that one of the biggest banners at the main gate of the party’s secretariat was replaced with that of President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday night.
A big conspicuous billboard carrying Oshiomhole’s picture with President Buhari within the party secretariat has also been changed to another big one carrying only the picture of the president.