The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, on Wednesday took a swipe at the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, and his Ogun State counterpart, Ibikunle Amosun, saying a few of the APC governors were electoral liabilities.
Oshiomhole stated this while receiving the APC women leaders from Edo State and the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja. He said the party had the backing of the majority of its governors.
He also said former President Olusegun Obasanjo was inviting the wrath of God by supporting the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The APC national chairman recalled that Obasanjo once said that God would not forgive him if he supported Atiku.
Berating Okorocha and Amosun, Oshiomhole said the popularity of the APC in Imo and Ogun states had soared despite the alleged anti-party activities of their governors.
Okorocha, Amosun and the Zamfara State Governor, Abdul-Aziz Yari, have been at loggerheads with Oshiomhole for not recognising their preferred governorship candidates.
The preferred candidates in Imo and Ogun and some aides of the governors have since defected to other political parties to pursue their ambitions.
Both Amosun and Okorocha had vowed not to support the APC governorship candidates in their states.
On Wednesday, Oshiomhole said the party would win the two states without the support of the two governors.
He said, “Those who think our political future is tied to them are poor students of their own political history. Some of these people who talk as if they are invincible, they have forgotten that they have run elections in the past and lost until they abandoned their parties and joined us. So if they return, history will repeat itself.”
“Whether you are a big or small man, the rules are not supposed to discriminate. Our popularity in Imo and Ogun today is much higher. It is not that once you are a governor you have high electoral value.
Oshiomhole, who was Nigeria Labour Congress’ President, said Nigeria needed to go back to the era where institutions were respected and protected and not powerful individuals.
He added that the actions of the two governors would not affect the fortunes of the party in the elections.
“In Imo State today, the APC will win more votes. My focus is on ordinary Imo voters because on that day, the governor would have only one vote; his son-in-law would have only one vote while his Commissioner for Happiness would have only one vote.
“But artisans, traders, teachers and workers whose salaries are not being paid have the same weight of vote and they are excited about the renewed possibility of a new government coming with fresh ideas free of all the encumbrances of the present system. So, in Imo, I’m very confident.
And on Ogun State, he said, “Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is from Ogun State. The state is one of the most enlightened states in Nigeria. They have a huge history; they are not in a political kingdom headed by one person.
“If they were looking for true reconciliation, they wouldn’t have done what they did (defection of aides). That is not how democracy works. Nigeria must grow beyond this syndrome, ‘I’m the governor, I will decide.’ You have only one vote. With due respect, I was once a governor. Overall, APC is much stronger now.
Stating that the party would review if any of its rules had been breached, Oshiomhole added that the real sanction was with the electorate.
He, however, said the efforts of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee were already yielding fruits in some places while those with negotiable grievances were being sorted out.
The APC national chairman said Obasanjo should remember he swore that God should punish him if he ever supported Atiku.
Oshiomhole said Buhari had the best credentials to lead the country to progress, economic recovery, peace and stability.
He recalled that Atiku was the vice-president when Nigeria went borrowing even at the time of surplus budgeting.
“At that time, the PDP candidate was the vice-president so he can’t say he didn’t know what was going on in government. He was a central player.
“People were talking about how his boss funded the third-term project with members of House of Representatives offered N50m and senators N100m with all the money coming from within the system. All those corrupt people were very much aware. We can’t return to the era of the locust.”
He said, “We know there are people across the divide who are fighting back. There is a conspiracy by those who are used to sucking the system without adding any value, but Nigerians will not allow that.”
Oshiomhole boasted that the 2019 elections would be a smooth sail for President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC because ethnic and religious sentiments that characterised the 2015 election lost by former president Goodluck Jonathan would have no play this time round.
“The two candidates are from the North and they are both Muslims. People are now going to look at character. Nobody has ever said Buhari is a thief. But who said the other person (Atiku) is a thief? It was his boss (Obasanjo).
“When you are working with me and I said you are a thief, God will punish me if I support you. And when you are confused because your supply line has been chopped off, you now turned around to support the same person. That God that you called with your name to punish you if you support the person is about to go to work. And he will go to work in February and he will punish him thoroughly and the person he is supporting, in favour of Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, has lashed out at Oshiomhole, describing him as a political liability who is on a mission to destroy the ruling party.
Okorocha, who was reacting to a statement credited to Oshiomhole describing him and his Ogun State counterpart, Ibukule Amosun, as political liabilities, said the national chairman was a victim of his own actions.
Okorocha, who spoke to our correspondent through his commissioner for Information, Patrick Nzeh, said the APC had lost no fewer than ten million supporters since the emergence of Oshiomhole as the national chairman.
He contended that Uche Nwosu, who is now the Action Alliance governorship candidate, would defeat the APC governorship candidate in Imo State.
When contacted for the reaction of the Ogun State governor, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dayo Adeneye, requested time to get across to the governor who was said to be in a crucial meeting.
However, the commissioner did not get back as of the time of filing the report.
But one of the media aides to the governor who spoke on condition of anonymity because he had not got the approval from his boss, said his boss would not take issue with the national chairman.
He said the confession of the national chairman that the APC is popular in Ogun means he has acknowledged the efforts of the governor so far on the party.
He said, “The governor is in a meeting. He has said whatever he wants to say on the crisis. The governor is interested in the re-election of the President in the coming election. The governor has no time for exchange of words with the national chairman anymore. The chairman said the party is popular, who makes it popular, is it not the governor?
“The chairman said he wants to reconcile the members of the party, is that the way to reconcile the members?
“The governor is busy with how the President would win the coming election. Any other issue is secondary.”