THE ship of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was heading for the rock. It took the timely intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari to return it to the right route. Buhari, who acted like a true party leader, reined in elements bent on ousting National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole through the backdoors.
Steering the ship towards the rock were key party figures driven by ambition. Investigations revealed that one of the arrowheads of the Oshiomhole-must-go campaign is Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi who has an unhidden disdain for Oshiomhole, and who has an exaggerated opinion of his worth politically.
Amaechi’s trouble with the party’s chairman, according to sources, began after the Rivers APC primary crisis, which he believed could have gone his faction’s way had Oshiomhole played according to his dictates. Sources said the former Rivers Governor expected Oshiomhole to have agreed to the suspension of Senator Magnus Abe or stood by his faction during the lingering legal tussles.
Explanations by Oshiomhole that he couldn’t have done anything after the court rulings that stopped the primary were unacceptable to the minister, who vowed to bring down the national chairman at all costs. Amaechi sees himself as leader of not only Rivers but the Southsouth zone whose word should be the law. Against all known canons of democracy, he imposed Tonye Cole on the Rivers APC as governorship candidate and Victor Giadom as his running mate. Even when the court ruled that action should be stayed on the state’s primary, he ignored the order and went on with the exercise. He believed he could have his was but the appeal court castigated the party for not obeying the court order before seeking reliefs .
At the Supreme Court, the APC lost again. The party lost the state to hubris, impunity and the despotic tendencies of one man . Rather than blame himself, he is holding others responsible for the terrible fate that befell the party in the state. To him, Oshiomhole must be kicked out for not taking instructions from him. A good opportunity presented itself with the ruling of the FCT High Court that restrained Oshiomhole from acting as national chairman having been “suspended” as a member of the party by his ward in Edo state. Who else is to nail Oshiomhole than Giadom Amaechi’s political errand boy who got into the National Working Committee (NWC) as Deputy National Secretary.
With Giadom, Amaechi was almost having his way until reason prevailed. Armed with the ruling of the FCT High Court, Giadom, summoned a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, where Oshiomhole was to be removed. He was dancing to Amaechi’s drumbeats.
Many APC stalwarts believe Amaechi may be working for opposition elements to destroy APC the same way he facilitated the decapitation of the PDP in 2014. As chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Amaechi led eight other governors to the APC in 2014, a major move that weakened the PDP ahead of the 2015 elections.
The Minister, who has more friends and associates in the PDP, will be easily welcomed back into the fold.
Under him, Rivers APC is as good as dead. Without a home base, having lost his ward and local government in 2019 to the PDP, Amaechi, analysts believe, is not even a political lightweight. His electoral value has taken a serious dip, almost to ground zero.
Despite his penchant to grandstand as APC Southsouth leader, he commands no followership in the region to hold such view of himself. In Rivers, he is not only politically irrelevant but seriously diminished. Without a strong structure in Rivers and the region, they wonder what value Amaechi brings to the APC
Bagudu’s backdoors antics
Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Bagudu tried till the last minute, to push through the Oshiomhole-must-go project. The Chairman of the Progressive governors Forum (PGF) armed with a communiqué purportedly endorsed by APC governors to replace Oshiomhole.
His plan was to present the communiqué to President Buhari during a parley to seal Oshiomhole’s fate. But his colleagues would have none of it. They wondered when a meeting was held when such a decision was taken.
Bagudu, who is believed to be nursing a presidential ambition in 2023, is one of the most virulent anti-Oshiomhole elements in the party. It was unbelievable that a governor would act in such a despicable manner. He was so blinded by ambition that he sought to mislead the President. Anyone who did that in the corporate world would be booted out, axed from the position of trust and responsibility that he occupies. But this is politics, the Nigerian variant of it, where anything goes.
Fayemi’s loud silence
Ekiti Governor Kayode Fayemi was not in Abuja on Monday when the plot against Oshiomhole was being perfected. He chose to be in a reconciliatory meeting spearheaded by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi with monarchs aggrieved with the state government over the composition of the Ekiti Traditional Council.
On the same day, he signed the Amotekun Corps into law. It is believed both activities were strategically planned to give the impression the governor was not part of the plot against Oshiomhole. Some others argue that the governor arranged for the activities when he was sure the plot against the national chairman had collapsed like a pack of cards.
The governor is strongly believed to be positioning himself to be a running mate to a northern presidential candidate come 2023. His strategists believe his chairmanship of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) could put him in a good stead for consideration as a running mate. He is said to have teamed up with Amaechi, who a source laments “he is following like a political neophyte.’’
El’Rufai’s tactical withdrawal?
Like his Ekiti counterpart, Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai was unavailable for the meeting with President Buhari on the APC crisis. He was physically absent but mentally at the meeting. It was gathered he was being updated with happenings, which explains why he stayed away having realised Oshiomhole was going to survive the onslaught.
El-Rufai, who believes he is a good presidential material in 2023, is opposed to Oshiomhole because of the perception he won’t be disposed to his ambition. El-rufai does not give up, he will soon hatch another plot.
Obaseki, a troubled soul
Godwin Obaseki emerged from the meeting where Oshiomhole was reaffirmed as chairman, putting up a smiling face. But it was clear he was a troubled soul. His second term is at stake and his political future unsure. The Edo governor, who has been in a running battle with his former godfather, is unsure of winning the governorship ticket of the APC.
With Oshiomhole back in the saddle, it is hard to see how this will happen. He is knocked down, fighting hard to regain balance.
He was a willing tool who cared little about the stability of the APC. Forseeing the futility of holding the NEC meeting, Giadom illegally called, his pay masters rushed to the FCT high court to get an order empowering him to act as national chairman. They did that having learnt that the appeal court initially adjourned indefinitely the hearing of Oshiomhole’s case against the court order barring him for acting as national chairman. A few days earlier, he had prevailed on secretariat staff to remove Oshiomhole’s portrait from offices in the secretariat. He could not wait to be crowned king before issuing decrees.