All Progressives Congress (APC) governors have been visiting the Presidential Villa to solicit President Muhammadu Buhari’s support either for or against party’s National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole.
The party on Wednesday sank into leadership crisis after a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court barred Oshiomhole from acting as the national chairman following an application by some party members that the chairman had been suspended by his ward in Etsako, Edo State.
A Federal High Court sitting in Kano the following day granted retention of status quo.
The police subsequently sealed off the national secretariat in Abuja.
While some governors are behind the move to get the party chairman out of office, others are opposed to the move.
Both groups have been visiting the Presidential Villa for support.
While Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi has visited the Villa to lobby the President to get the chairman out of office, it was learnt that Kano State Governor Abdulahi Ganduje went to the Villa at the weekend to make a case for Oshiomhole and to seek the way out of the crisis.
A source in the government said: “The President has been all ears to these governors without betraying his emotion.
“We know he is consulting but we do not know what he will do.”
Governors Ganduje (Kano), Babagana Zulum (Borno), Aminu Bello Masari, (Katsina), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun); Dapo Abiodun(Ogun); Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and others are rallying around the APC national chairman.
Some of the governors have relocated to Abuja as the intrigues deepen.
The rank of anti-Oshiomhole group swelled yesterday with Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello making a U-Turn.
Other governors shoring up anti-Oshiomhole’s group are Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe) and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe).
The rest of those in the trenches to see Oshiomhole’s exit are Governors Fayemi (Ekiti); Godwin Obaseki(Edo); Oluwarotimi Akeredolu(Ondo); Nasir El-Rufai(Kaduna); Simon Bako Lalong (Plateau); Abubakar Atiku Bagudu(Kebbi) and Mohammed Badaru Abubakar(Jigawa).
A governor said: “I know that there is intense lobbying going on by party leaders. Some governors are neutral because we are all weighing options and doing some calculations too.
“What is central is that we do not want APC to collapse.”
The furore over the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting has assumed a new dimension.
There are strong indications that Deputy National Secretary Giadom may face sanctions for illegally summoning NEC) meeting of the party without the National Working Committee (NWC) approval.
Top officials in the Presidency were shocked that Giadom unilaterally wrote a letter to the President inviting him for aNEC meeting without the knowledge of Oshiomhole and the NWC.
Although the letter was acknowledged, it was learnt that a grave error was spotted when proper clarifications were sought.
“I think the Deputy National Secretary may be queried before being sanctioned. He is no longer the Acting National Secretary of the party. The NWC met on January 17 and ratified the choice of Bulama as the National Secretary. The announcement was delayed by certain circumstances till last week
“And five states in the South-West endorsed the appointment of Sen. Ajimobi as the Deputy National Chairman(South) of the APC. Also, Paul Chukwuma (National Auditor) emerged after consensus building in Anambra and the South-East,” the source added.
The National Secretariat of the APC will remain shut until the Court of Appeal ruling on the status of National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole;s status, it was learnt yesterday.
Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu insisted on not opening the secretariat to any of the two warring groups at a meeting with them at the weekend, sources said.
A source said: “At a meeting with the groups, the IG said he would wait for the decision of the Court of Appeal and the national secretariat of APC will remain under lock and key.
“With amicable words from the IG, the NWC leaders left the Nigeria Police Headquarters.”
The source added: “It was a tense meeting because Oshiomhole and others protested that the police allowed NWC members in opposition to the chairman to gain entrance to the national secretariat to work on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. They queried why other NWC members, were barred from the secretariat.
“Brandishing the court rulings on the APC crisis from Abuja and Kano, the embattled APC National Chairman almost lost his cool. Raising his voice, Oshiomhole said he was aware that a governor, allegedly coordinating his ouster, had visited the IG on why those against him should be in charge of the secretariat.
“National Legal Adviser Babatunde Ogala who was at the meeting, drew the attention of the IGP to the fact that only Oshiomhole was sued, not all NWC members. He said the IG should allow other NWC members to operate at the national secretariat.
Out of the 21 members of the NWC, 16 are backing Oshiomhole and five are opposed to his retention as the party chairman.
Those against Oshiomhole are National Vice Chairman(North-East) Mustapha Salihu; Deputy National Secretary(who was Acting National Secretary till last Wednesday) Victor Giadom; the National Woman Leader from Kogi; the National Youth Leader(from Gombe); and the representative of challenged persons.
The issue of access to the national secretariat by NWC members dominated discussions at the session with the IG on Friday.
It was gathered that Oshiomhole led majority of NWC members to the meeting including the Deputy National Chairman(South), Senator Abiola Ajimobi, new National Secretary, Waziri Bulama and National Auditor Paul Chukwuma.
The anti-Oshiomhole members in NWC at the session were Salihu and Giadom.
”Salihu and Giadom, who came late to the joint meeting, faulted the presence of Ajimobi, Bulama and Chukwuma because they claimed that they were not yet NWC members. They described their appointment as illegal.
“Salihu and Giadom also declared the ruling of the Federal High Court as illegal. They asked the IG to allow them access to the national secretariat to manage the affairs of the party.
“They said the interlocutory order of the FCT High Court, Jabi in Abuja was explicit that Oshiomhole should stay away from the secretariat of APC.”
A question, another source at the meeting said: “The IG managed to control the situation by explaining why he locked up the secretariat. He said the decision became necessary to protect lives and property.
“He said he had referred the two court rulings to the Nigeria Police Legal Department for advice and he was advised not to take action on any.