DAILY SUN HEADLINE: Govs clear coast for Oshiomhole

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Barely 24 hours to the All Progressives Congress (APC) national convention, governors elected on the platform of the party have seized control of the convention.

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This is just as former governor Adams Oshiomhole looks good to mount the saddle as new national chairman of the ruling party following the withdrawal of Clement Ebri from the race, yesterday, a day after Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor had similarly stepped down.

The convention holds at the Eagles Square, Abuja, tomorrow.

According to multiple sources, the governors have been directed by the planning committee to meet with aspirants from their various states to explore the possibility of a consensus.
Following the crises that plagued many state chapters of the party during its ward, local government and states congresses, insiders in the party had expressed fears that if the problems were not handled with tact, it may lead to implosion in the party.

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Besides the threats by the members the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) bloc within the APC to pull out over allegations of intimidation and marginalisation, many governors are at loggerheads with the federal lawmakers from their states over control of the party structures.

In states like Imo, Kogi, Kaduna, Bauchi and even Niger, there have been fierce battles over who controls the party structure. In Imo state, Governor Rochas Okorocha, who is also the chairman of the APC Governors Forum, lost control of the state party structure to the faction led by Senator Benjamin Uwajimogu, Senator Osita Isunazo, Ifeanyi Ararume and the incumbent deputy governor, Eze Madumere.

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Okorocha accused the national chairman, John Oyegun of masterminding his political problems.
Many of the governors who are also opposed to Oyegun’s leadership have rallied round Okorocha and have taken steps to ensure that they maintain control of their state party structure.
Chairman of the Convention committee, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State had told governors at the end of a recent meeting in Abuja, to meet with aspirants from their various states and explore the possibility of a consensus.

Badaru said: “What we asked is that the governors should meet with the aspirants to see if we can reduce the number of people contesting the elections by consensus. This is agreed in our party, but no list has been developed yet; it is not a list, it is just to reduce the number of people contesting.
“For example, there are positions that we have eight persons contesting, while some positions are unopposed and there are some positions that we have four or five persons contesting. There are also positions where we have two persons contesting; so we will discuss with those that have two persons contesting to see if we can have some agreement for one to come unopposed.”

As if heeding the call, one of the aspirants for the plum job, Mr. Ebri has withdrawn from the contest.
Ebri, a former governor of Cross River State between January 1992 and November 17, 1993, elected on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) also endorsed Adams Oshiomhole for the position and asked his supporters to work with the former Edo governor.
Ebri, in a letter obtained by Daily Sun said he withdrew after consultation with family, friends and in the “overall interest of the party.

Ebri’s withdrawal comes weeks after incumbent chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun similarly withdrew from the contest.

 

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The letter announcing his withdrawal read in part: “I believe that those who occupy formal positions in the APC are the helmsmen of the Nigerian ship of state. What happens in the leadership of this country’s ruling party, the APC, is directly responsible for whatever we can deliver on our promises to our people to provide them with a new lease of life. This was the core conviction that drove me to declaring my candidacy for this office in the first place.

“I believe too that a fundamental task of the APC is to win elections. After this is achieved, it behoves on the party to offer its elected officials a means for organising government as it then becomes the primary link between the people and the government. I considered myself well-suited for these and other enormous responsibilities and on that basis, proceeded with my campaign.

“My sincere gratitude goes to everyone who believed in me sufficiently to invest their time, energy and other resources in that process. I hope that in recalling their timeless sacrifices during that period, they will not feel disappointed as the decision I am announcing now but will rather feel inspired by it and gear up to the larger vision of service underlying it. I enjoin them as faithful party loyalists to transfer the support they had hitherto reserved for my candidacy to our aspiration for peace in the party and endorse Mr. Adams Oshiomhole as the national Chairman of the APC. We should all render him every support and encouragement he needs as his team proceed to rebuild our party into a formidable, unified and inclusive organization where every voice counts.”