*Obasanjo declines comment, Atiku, Saraki, Okorocha reply Oshiomhole
The All Progressives Congress, APC, National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on Wednesday, launched blistering attacks on political foes within and outside his party, swearing that God would decide the case of former President, Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, for reversing himself on Atiku Abubakar’s presidential aspiration.
While noting that former President Obasanjo and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku, would be divinely punished at the February 16 poll, Oshiomhole also affirmed that Governors Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and Rochas Okorocha of Imo were doomed in their senatorial aspirations upon their negative inclinations to the APC governorship candidates in their states.
Oshiomhole was also unsparing of his PDP counterpart, Prince Uche Secondus, as he castigated him for calling for the sack of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and Alhaji Ibrahim Idris as Inspector General of Police.
Former President Obasanjo said he would not respond to Oshiomhole for now.
Atiku and Okorocha in separate responses accused the APC National Chairman of going outside the pathway of decorum expected of his office, saying Oshiomhole would not define their political courses.
Oshiomhole spoke to a select audience of women party leaders from his native Edo State who were in his office on a solidarity visit.
God’s punishment coming — Oshiomhole
In his remarks to the women yesterday, the APC National Chairman said religion and ethnicity, which he said played crucial roles in the 2015 presidential election, would not be an issue in 2019 on the premise that the two major candidates, Buhari and Atiku, are from the same ethnic group and shared same Islamic religion.
“This time, ethnicity will be a non-issue because they are from the same region. Voters are, therefore, going to look at character.
“Nobody has ever said Buhari is a thief. But who said the other person is a thief? When you are working with me, and I say 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, and then you enter into a new deal, you now turned around to support the same person.
“The God that you called with your mouth 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 Nigerians.”
He said, while Atiku wanted to replace the IGP, Secondus was bent on becoming the INEC chairman, with the sole aim of subverting the electoral process. Oshiomhole also lambasted Governors Okorocha and Amosun as prodigal sons of the party for their opposition to the party’s governorship candidates in their states, saying they would be punished by voters.
“Our popularity in Imo and Ogun states is higher. Yes, we have the overwhelming majority of the APC governors with electoral value, but we also have others without electoral values, who are political liabilities.
“I can tell you today that in Imo State, APC will win more votes. It is about numbers, and my focus is on the ordinary Imo electorate because the governor, his Commissioner for Happiness and the son-in-law have only one vote (each) on that day.
“But those mechanics, market women, school teachers and workers whose salaries are unpaid for years have the same weight of votes. They are excited about the new possibility of a new government coming with new ideas free from all the encumbrances of the present system. I am very confident in Imo.
“Also, in Ogun State, don’t forget that the vice president is from Ogun State. We cannot focus on one person and not on the other. Ogun is one of the most enlightened states in the country, and that is where Chief Awolowo came from. They have a huge history, and it is not a political kingdom headed by one person.
“I believe that if they (governors) were looking for reconciliation or truth, they would not have done what they did (allowing their aides to defect). They already have the mindset that once they don’t get their governors in, nothing is right. It is not how democracy works.
“In America, a president can endorse someone, yet the person loses. Don’t forget that Obama endorsed Clinton but Americans voted for Trump. Nigerian democracy must grow beyond this ‘big man’ syndrome.
“I am the governor and will decide, yet you have only one vote, and with all due respect, I was a governor, but I know that I had only one vote on election day and only in one polling booth.
“Overall, APC is a stronger party now, but we should not focus only on APC. Talking of Ogun State, the PDP has two governorship candidates and two deputy governorship candidates, yet as we speak, the APC has only one in the person of Dapo Abiodun.
“When a child ran out of his father’s house to bear a new name, according to history and the Bible, he returned when the weather thoroughly beat him as a prodigal son. That is why APC has prodigal sons. Those who think that their political future is tied (to their offices) are poor students of history.
“They forget that some of these people thinking that they are invincible have run for elections before and lost deposit until they abandoned their parties and joined us. If they return, history will repeat itself.
Why we won’t sanction them
“We are not thinking of sanctioning them because the real sanction will come from the electorate but if any rules of the party have been breached, they are the things we will have to look at.
“It is not my function. What should be the real headline is that we will deliver Dapo Abiodun in Ogun State and Hope Uzodinma in Imo State,” he said.
No comment — Obasanjo
Contacted yesterday on the issue, President Obasanjo, speaking through his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, said he would not respond, at least for now.
Buhari’ll be defeated, retired to Daura — Atiku
In his response, Atiku said that President Buhari would be retired to his Daura home town after the polls.
Speaking through his media aide, Paul Ibe, Atiku tasked Oshiomhole to prepare for the fate that awaits him, President Buhari and APC, at the polls.
“It is not political soothsayers like Oshiomhole that will determine the outcome of the elections but let it be known to him that President Buhari will not only be defeated, he will be retired to his beloved Daura in 2019.
“Does Oshiomhole think that Nigerians are fools? What will determine the direction of votes are the insecurity challenges, job losses, pain, anguish, and economic strangulation that this incompetent government has subjected Nigerians.
“For Atiku, it is about jobs; for Buhari, it is hopelessness. For Atiku, it is about opportunities; for Buhari, it is insensitivity. For Atiku, it is about inclusiveness; for Buhari, it is clannishness. Atiku is all about Getting Nigeria Working Again.
“So, we urge Oshiomhole to keep his peace and allow Nigerians, who have passed through hell in the hands of his principal, to cast their votes in a transparent, free and fair election,” said Ibe.
Okorocha reacts to Oshiomole’s statement
Also reacting, Okorocha, speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, briefly said: “We have not read it, but I don’t think any national chairman of a party can say such a thing. He should be advised on how he speaks. He can’t be attacking the leaders of the party.
“Take it from me; a party does not exist in a vacuum. There must be people to run the party. President Muhammadu Buhari has a high pedigree which Nigerians are happy about, and Oshiomhole should learn from Mr. President.
“We have not read it anywhere, but we insist that it is not the best way to treat members of the party. Oshiomhole should learn to talk in a way that brings dignity to APC.”
This story was first published in Vanguard on Thursday December 6, 2018.