2019: No Automatic Tickets For APC Aspirants – Oshiomhole
Aspirants hoping to contest electoral positions on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will have to earn the party’s ticket as the national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday declared that there would be no automatic tickets for any of them. Oshiomhole, who stated this when he met with APC members in the House of Representatives at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, said the tickets would be given on merit. He said, “I am excited that even in moments like this, we still have men and women of honour in the House of Representatives who recognise that there are values more important than dangling automatic ticket, dangling dollars without asking questions about the source of those dollars. But I can assure you that if people have not learnt from the recent past, then they will go the way of the recent past. “We must remain focused and I am grateful that we still have men and women of honour who have refused to be tempted. Somebody asked if we are going to counter the PDP by offering automatic tickets and I asked: did we serve anybody a departure ticket? If we did not give you a departure ticket, how did the issue of return ticket arise? For me, we are clear that every legislator who has value and is at home with his people and not with the godfathers in their communities, that legislator is an asset to our party and this party will do everything possible to retain him.” The APC chairman disclosed that the party was working towards entrenching a durable political system which would produce legislators whose experience will add value to the country over a long period. He said, “Only yesterday, I said to the caucus of the Senate that my hope is that once we clean up the system and we are able to distinguish our left from the right and can now see clearly as people who believe in a particular set of ideas, our party must consciously work to achieve a situation where Nigeria will produce seasoned legislators and congressmen like we have in the US where a Senator McCain will speak and even a mad president listens. We must get there. But if it takes them 100 years to get there, we don’t have to wait that long. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel because we will copy what is attractive and discard what is not. “It can’t be argued that experience should be discarded because in the real world, nobody can give what he does not have, and experience is not learnt from the book, but acquired on the job where honest mistakes are made and intelligent and honest people can identify those mistakes, overcome them and move on.” Oshiomhole further spoke on some of the underlying reasons for the gale of defections that have hit the party recently. “I understand now, after we have carried out some investigations, that certain persons played on the fears of people who were completely innocent. They tried to portray their own frustration – which is personal to them – as if it is a shared frustration by all those who have issues. “My own finding arising from interactions is that it is true that there are a number of legislators who have some issues with their local forces in their respective states, not arising from the federal executives. Those issues are local and because every politics is local, every solution to a political problem should necessarily be local. The important thing is to identify the sources of those problems, the parties involved in it, bring them to the table and remind them of what binds the house together,” he said. According to him, he party is working towards settling disputes at the local chapters in order to reconcile disputing members and forge a common front going forward. “So, if there are issues between anyone of our members and leaders with local forces across the 36 states, we have a duty to make ensure that, that spark is properly extinguished. The good news is that no single person that I have spoken to, who shares our core value of progressive politics, has said no, let the fire burn. As a matter of fact, just with a phone call, a number of issues have been addressed and people are at peace and we will do more of that. “What we are saying now is that we need to do the right thing to ensure that wherever there is a problem, we address it before it blossoms. I have continued to say that we will not pursue a policy that will produce winners and losers. I believe that we have to intervene and have a situation that will produce winners all. “In order to send clear signals out so that no one person or group can hold the system to ransom, we have tried to revisit our constitution and activate all the clauses that will help us to maintain unity and harmony within the house. I have said that for us to have peace and unity, we must fight for justice and fairness because peace and unity is an outcome of justice and fairness. If you do not address justice, we cannot preach peace because peace cannot be decreed, but is the outcome of a process,” he stated. Oshiomhole disclosed that the party would establish an Institute of Progressive Studies where the ideology of the party would be taught and expanded, saying that when members imbibe the party’s ideology, it would be difficult for them to leave the party for another one. He concluded by saying, “I want to assure you that we will sustain the fight; we will not be distracted. We will talk to those who have genuine grievances, but we will not negotiate with political mercenaries. That position remains unchanged; we will sustain it, and seeing you here, I am further encouraged to sustain the fight and build a Nigeria of our dreams so that our children will inherit a better country.” Meanwhile, LEADERSHIP Friday observed that Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun were conspicuously absent from the meeting. The meeting, which was at the instance of the Leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, was to geared towards checking any aftershocks of the defections of APC lawmakers in the National Assembly. Hon Gbajabiamila, who led the team, revealed that the defection were not without inducement, as he alleged that mouth-watering offers were made to APC House of Representatives members to get them to jump ship. He noted that those poaching APC members were still making the offers, adding that the party should consolidate its membership in the House by considering to return the lawmakers. The House Leader stated that both the Speaker and his deputy were informed about the meeting. He however explained that their absence from the meeting could be because of other engagements. “The APC is not for harvest. Mr Chairman they are poaching members and they will continue to poach. I have heard, and I’m even ashamed to say it, that members are being offered mouth-watering figures in terms of cash, and members have rejected those cash.” …Mark, Suswam give Ortom conditions for PDP guber ticket New revelations have emerged on how a deal was struck to pave the way for the defection of Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a move that took the ruling APC by surprise. A source privy to the series of meetings in Abuja and Makurdi between Governor Ortom and heavyweights of the PDP in Benue State, including former governor Gabriel Suswam, immediate past Senate President David Mark and another former Senate President Iyorchia Ayu, exclusively informed LEADERSHIP Friday that a deal was reached between the key leaders on a set of conditions to be met to guarantee Ortom’s return to the PDP and pave the way for him to get the party’s governorship ticket for next year’s general election. The source, who preferred not to be mentioned in print, said that Governor Ortom had to apologise to the chieftains of the PDP for abandoning them in the last general election and the subsequent roles he played against the PDP, especially the rerun election for the Benue South senatorial seat that saw the former Senate President David Mark running against the APC candidate, Daniel Onjeh, which Mark won narrowly in 2016. “One major condition tabled before Ortom was that the PDP chieftains told him that they cannot market him before the Benue people if he does not clear all salaries owed civil servants. “That Governor Ortom must revert to the convention of appointing the secretary to the state government from to Benue South and must effect a change in the leadership structure of the Benue State House of Assembly to reflect PDP and people close to the chieftains of the PDP, especially the position of Speaker and Deputy Speaker,” the source said. According to the source, another condition was that all positions in the state would be shared fairly among the three senatorial districts in the state and among key stakeholders of the PDP, including Governor Ortom. Of what becomes of PDP members who have indicated interest in running for the ticket of the PDP in the governorship election, he said, “You know politics is local and the PDP chieftains were aware of the fact that not all of them will be happy with the entrance of Ortom to the PDP, but arrangements have been made to persuade the aspirants to leave the space for Ortom to pick the ticket of the PDP in the coming party primaries because of the power of funding.” He further disclosed that some of the aspirants have been pencilled down for appointments at the state and federal levels if the party wins the 2019 presidential election. “They will be adequately compensated,” the sourced concluded. Kwara gov set to quit APC Following calls from various stakeholders in Kwara State, the state governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, hinted yesterday that he may leave the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). This followed stakeholders’ insistence at a meeting with the governor yesterday in Ilorin, the state capital, that he should quit the ruling party because it had fallen short of their expectations. This is just as the state coordinator of Buhari Support Group, Hon Mashood Bakare, a serving member of the state House of Assembly, resigned his appointment. Bakare announced his resignation yesterday at the floor of the House. Ahmed, at the stakeholders meeting, insisted that the ruling APC has not met the expectations of the people of the state. Ahmed bared his mind at State Banquet Hall, Ilorin while reacting to the requests of various stakeholders in Kwara Central Senatorial District prevailing on him and Senate President Bukola Saraki to immediately dump the APC. The governor recalled how key stakeholders in the ruling APC in the state built the party in 2014 alongside other notable Nigerians with high expectations but were disappointed about the failure of the government at national level to address insecurity, economy and unemployment challenges confronting the nation. “We formed APC together in 2014 with the hope to meet the needs and aspirations of the people in critical areas of our national life”, the governor said. He added that the leadership of the APC had failed to intervene on critical issues affecting the party and its members, pointing out that injustice within the party is unbearable. Ahmed who thanked the people of the state for their support assured the stakeholders that he would consider their pleas and make public the new platform that would meet the aspirations of the people of the state. He also promised that the administration would continue to run an all-inclusive process that would take care of all interests. Various stakeholders who spoke at the town hall meeting called on the governor to take the state to another political party where their welfare would be guaranteed and expectations would be met. In his remarks, the president of Kwara State Artisans Group, Saad Alawaye, who commended Governor Ahmed for his numerous empowerment programmes to the informal sector, promised continuous support in moving the state forward. The state chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Joshua Adekanye, who spoke on behalf of all the 16 local government chairmen, their vice chairmen and 193 councillors expressed their readiness to dump the APC in the interest of the people. On their parts, the APC Youth leader, Alh Ali Baba and the Women Leader, Hajia Rahmat Oganija thanked the governor for his support for the youths and womenfolk in the state. They, however, said they were not comfortable to remain in the APC, citing cases of injustices against the Senate President Saraki and called for immediate defection to a better and safer political party. The meeting had in attendance artisans group, market men and women, Okada riders, youth groups among others. Meanwhile, the former state coordinator of Buhari Support Group representing Omupo Constituency said his decision to quit was based on personal reasons, pointing out that he had already tendered his resignation letter to the group informing it of his decision. He disclosed that he assumed the position in 2014, stressing that he was no longer willing to be part of the organisation. The legislator who explained that communal interest supersedes any parochial consideration assured that he would continue to be sensitive to the yearnings and aspirations of his people. Reacting, the Speaker, Dr Ali Ahmad, enquired, if the decision to relinquish his post was willingly taken, to which Bakare answered in affirmation. Ahmad then enjoined politicians to always be sensitive to the yearnings and aspirations of their people to further make democracy more meaningful to average Nigerians.