Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) put behind them weeks of bickering yesterday as the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) met and declared the in-fighting over.
President Muhammadu Buhari and the governors on Monday put off the controversial National Executive Council (NEC) meeting designed to force out National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole.
Also on Monday, the Court of Appeal ordered a stay of execution of the High Court ruling suspending Oshiomhole as the national chairman.
Deputy Secretary Victor Giadom, who is one of the plaintiffs in the suit against the chairman, attended yesterday’s meeting. He had a hug with Oshiomhole as both declared the crisis over.
In the spirit of reconciliation, two national officers on suspension were recalled. All cases in court are to be withdrawn, the chairman announced.
Two of the new members of the NWC – Deputy National Chairman (South) Abiola Ajimobi and acting National Auditor Paul Chukwuma, attended the NWC meeting.
Addressing party members, Oshiomhole said the NWC remained united. “Despite what we have passed through, this NWC is not divided.”
Admitting that the party had gone through some challenges and disagreement, he argued that the action and inaction of NWC members were not to destroy the party but for its progress.
He urged members of the NWC to put all that happened behind them in order for the party to forge ahead.
Oshiomhole said: “I think that God is never wrong, He has allowed what has happened to happen so that we all can learn, everybody re-examine his conscience, strengthen those bonds of friendship, bonds of solidarity and work as a family.”
Extending the olive branch to all, Oshiomhole added: “I am the first to admit that I am not the best chairman in the world and I will never be. But no one can fault the sincerity of my purpose. My style can only be my style. But, I recognise that I must reconcile my style to others so that we can meet in the middle of the road,” he said.
The chairman commended President Muhammadu Buhari, for granting listening hears to those who approached him with a view to ensuring that our party remains on course. He also expressed appreciation to the role APC governors played in resolving the party crisis.
He said the attendance at the NWC meeting would shut the mouths of detractors who thought NWC members would be coming to fight.
“I wear no boxing gloves. I wanted to wear complete white to send a message of peace. And, I think everybody came here with a good heart and may God see us through this moment. We are going to bounce back stronger and better,” Oshiomhole.
He told reporters: “The NWC took some decisions that affected Senator Lawan Shuaibu, National Deputy Chairman – (North). Today we have reviewed the situation and we believe that in the spirit of our renewed commitment to build unity and true reconciliation, we as leaders of the party elected at the convention should live by example. We have chosen to lift his suspension. Sen. Lawal Shuaibu can resume his duties as Deputy National Chairman, (North).
“We also reviewed the matter of Inuwa Abdulkadir, National Vice Chairman (Northwest). By the same spirit, the NWC was unanimous in lifting the suspension and he resumes work with immediate effect. So, with these two decisions, the two members of the NWC who were suspended, their suspensions have now been lifted”.
He was however silent on the fate of Waziri Bulama, who was slated to be National Secretary.
“We have also resolved that we are going to withdraw all cases in court that any member of the NWC is involved in so that we must lead by example and we have shown that we are capable of managing ourselves and therefore we do not need the court to help us resolve what we are capable of resolving”.
Oshiomhole apologised to members he offended for “whatever they consider to be my shortcomings, I have asked for forgiveness and they have forgiven and whatever I considered to be anyone’s shortcoming that irritated me, I have also forgiven. This is the way it should be. It can only be abnormal if people know how to fight and they do not know how to settle”, he added.
The chairman said the NWC would meet with Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, over the steps taken so far in containing Coronavirus pandemic. “We can’t see why America and Italy can close their entry points and we leave our own and our people are at risk.”
The chairman arrived at the party secretariat at about 12:50 pm to the waiting hands of some loyal party members, APC state chairmen who came in solidarity with the chairmen. No fewer than 17 state chairmen were there to welcome him.
On arrival, the chairman went straight into his office where he held a brief meeting with some members of the NWC before moving into the Conference room of his office for the meeting.
Giadom, who arrived at the Secretariat as early as 11:27 am packed his car at the parking space meant for the national secretary. He also took the seat of the national secretary during the meeting. Bulama, was absent.
The roll call at the meeting: Ajimobi (National Deputy Chairman); Prince Hillard Eta (National Vice Chairman, Southsouth); Babatunde Ogala (National Legal Adviser); Emma Ibiduro (National Organising Secretary); Lanre Issa-Onilu (National Publicity Secretary); Salamatu Hassan Beiwa (National Woman Leader); Chuwkuma (Acting National Auditor); Abu Adamu (National Treasurer); Ibrahim Masari (National Welfare Officer) and Misbau Didi (Special (Physically Challenged) Leader).
Others are: Acting National Secretary Giadom; National Vice Chairman (South West) Pastor Bankole Oluwajana; National Vice Chairman (Northeast) Mustapha Salihu; Deputy Publicity Secretary Mohammed Ibrahim; National Vice Chairman (Northwest west) Inuwa Abdikkadir.