All Progressives Congress, APC, governors are fuming over purported plot by some partymen to humiliate their leader, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, and vowed to rally round him.
The governors, who were at meeting at Imo State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro area of Abuja, finetuned their list before moving to present it to President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was gathered Wednesday that the governors had reached an agreement to either force Senator Osita Izunaso as the party’s national organising secretary out of the race or collaborate to vote him out on the convention ground.
An indigene of Imo State, Izunaso who was endorsed by the Southeast caucus for the position was an arrowhead in the allied forces of APC stakeholders in Imo State who collaborated to pull the party structure from Okorocha.
“This humiliation given to our chairman could also happen to anyone of us, so there is no way we can allow this to go like this,” one governor privy to the plot was quoted as saying in reference to Okorocha, who is chairman of the APC Governors Forum.
The Presidency, it was gathered, would not oppose the governors’ scheme since the President was also smothening the grounds for his own presidential primaries through a double flanged policy of strengthening himself in the party and collaboration with the governors.
“The President knows that the governors control the structure and that cooperating with them would also be to his advantage during the presidential primaries,” one party privy to the scheme said.
As part of the President’s efforts to strengthen his hold on the party, his preferences for national chairman, national secretary and national organising secretary, it was learnt, would pass on effortlessly.
The effort of collaboration is that the President is to allow the governors to project nominees for offices allocated to their respective states.
At the end of the meeting last night, each of the governors, it was authoritatively gathered, would write out the name of his nominee for his state’s position for onward presentation to the President.
Based on that outline, it is expected that many of the outgoing NWC who have good relationships with their governors would return. The exceptions from the North were the national treasurer, Alhaji Bala Gwargarma from Kano State and the national woman leader, Hajiya Ramatu Aliyu from Kogi State.
Gwargawma is a close associate of Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso who is in open conflict with Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
The emergence of Adamu as a strong contender for the office of deputy national chairman, North, against Senator Shuaibu was also being played down upon assertions that the governor of Zamfara State would not allow a fellow governor take away the office from his state to Jigawa State.
“Based on our agreement, the existing zoning system is to be retained, so how can Farouk from Jigawa State come and take a position that has been zoned to Zamfara State. The claim that the president wants him is just a decoy by (Northwest) governor and (Southern) minister to push their agenda,” one high level source in the party said Wednesday evening.
The source said that Shuaibu had been in conflict with the governor over party and other governance affairs, an issue that was said to have spurred the move by the governor to get back at Shuaibu.
Meanwhile, the opportunity for the governors to nominate their candidates for top positions in the NWC may have finally given Okorocha the opportunity to finally hit at Izunaso.
After Izunaso scaled the hurdle of the Governor Aminu Masari-led screening committee, Governor Okorocha, who is chairman of the Appeals Committee for the screening, had reportedly touted powers of his committee to disqualify those who scaled the screening.
With the top three positions of national chairman, national secretary and national organising secretary being conceded to the President, there was speculation that the Presidency had also fixed its sight on the position of deputy national chairman, North, with one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s long known political fixers, Farouk Adamu, now in serious contention.
Vanguard, however, gathered that the momentum behind Adamu was being generated by a Northwest governor and a former Southern governor turned minister riding on the influence of the president.
Meanwhile, Oshiomhole’s dominance in the contest for national chairman strengthened after one of his two challengers, Osunbor, withdrew from the contest in his favour.
Osunbor who visited Oshiomhole’s campaign headquarters in company of his wife, explained that he earlier joined the race not to fight Oshiomhole as it was insinuated but to also see how he could contribute his quota to the growth of the party.
“I came here especially in solidarity with my wife and I want to say that you have the experience and all it takes to lead APC. I want to state here that I never joined the race for chairmanship to fight you, never. I appreciate the relationship which has existed between your family and mine over the years. I do not want this to destroy our relationship. I am happy the President is with you and majority of our party leaders are with you and I have great respect for Mr. President.
“I am stepping down for you and to support you because you are my brother, my friend and a man that is well respected across the country. I believe that Edo State is lucky to have this situation and I can tell you that by Saturday we may go for that election unopposed so that we will not go and start counting votes that will take us for too long. I congratulate you and I will work to ensure you succeed,” he declared.
Reacting, Oshiomhole expressed joy for the visit, saying he intends to work with leaders like Osunbor to move the party forward.
“I think we have a huge challenge ahead after the convention and we will need people like Osunbor to assist. I am happy you decided to withdraw because some how I was worried due to the relationship we have enjoyed over the years”.
Oshiomhole also pledged to ensure that party supremacy became effective under him by subjecting even the President and other officials to the dictates of the constitution of the All Progressives Congress APC.
The former governor who is aspiring to the office of national chairman of the party, spoke when he held an interactive session with young stakeholders of the APC.
“My hope is that, if by the special grace of God I become the APC National Chairman, we will need to be very clear about all these and other issues and that anyone elected on our platform, including the President, will be expected to conduct government and governance in a way that promotes the core values of progressive governance,” he said.