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Monday, 26 February 2018

APC Divided Over Tinubu’s Demand For Oyegun, NWC Exit

APC Divided Over Tinubu’s Demand For Oyegun, NWC Exit 

*NWC Needs Not Resign For Tinubu To Do His Job — Tony Momoh
*They Either Resign Or Not Interfere In His Assignment – Sagay

Temidayo Akinsuyi and Ojo Oyewamide

As the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu are locked in a battle of wits over the ongoing reconciliation of aggrieved party members, indications emerged at the weekend that majority of party members are divided over the request of the former Lagos State governor that the John Odigie-Oyegun led executive must vacate office to allow him do the job assigned him by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The president had on February 6 appointed Tinubu to lead an APC consultation, reconciliation and confidence building team toward improving cohesion in the party ahead of the general election in 2019.

However, Tinubu, in a letter of complaint to Odigie-Oyegun, and copied President Buhari accused the party chairman of sabotaging his reconciliation efforts.

The letter, entitled, ‘Actions and conduct weakening the party from within’, was also copied Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

Odigie-Oyegun, who later met President Buhari in a closed-door meeting, said he will continue to give Tinubu all the needed support in his assignment.

A source in the party, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the feeling of some members of the party is that while Tinubu should be given all he requires to carry out his assignment successfully, he should not take undue advantage of the situation to get even with Odigie-Oyegun and other exco members.

“I can tell you that there is division within the APC camp over Tinubu’s request that the Oyegun-led exco must vacate office in place of a caretaker committee. Many of our members believe the reconciliation team should be given free hand to carry out its task without inhibition especially given the fact that the election is just around the corner.

“Though we are not sure of what transpired between Oyegun and the president last week, we believe President Buhari should consider the interest of the party first and not allow some few individuals constitute an impediment to the peace building process.

“However, there are others who believe that Tinubu is trying to take advantage of the opportunity given him to punish Oyegun who he has been having a running battle with. These ones believe that he can carry out the assignment without asking the NWC to resign”, he said.

Also speaking with DAILY INDEPENDENT, Prof. Itse Sagay, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), said the Oyegun-led exco should either resign or refrain from interfering in Tinubu’s assignment like they are currently doing as stated in Tinubu’s letter.

“Yes, I think they rather resign or if they will remain in office, they should not just interfere in what he is doing and give him a free hand in carrying out his responsibility. There is no doubt that the National Working Committee of APC will need very, very drastic changes for the party to win the 2019 election. They will need a very dynamic and different purposeful leaders if they will make an impact on both the party and the country”, Sagay said.

However, Prince Tony Momoh, a national leader of APC, said Oyegun and his exco need not resign for Tinubu to do his job.

He added that Tinubu never insisted that he cannot do the job until the NWC quit office.

“Tinubu never said he won’t carry out the reconciliation tasks until Oyegun and other members of the NWC resign. The constitution provides for who becomes a member of the NWC and then provides for exit from office. So, if they are going to leave, it will be through due process.

“Tinubu never said members of the NWC must resign before he does his job. He went to the party secretariat, they held a meeting and they all decided to work together.

“Where did the people get this impression that unless they resign, Tinubu cannot succeed in his task? To me, resigning or no resigning is not a condition for doing the work of reconciliation”, he said.

DAILY INDEPENDENT had last week reported that the genesis of the current crisis between the two party stalwarts was a result of a request by Tinubu that the NWC vacates office and allow the setting up of a national caretaker committee which will be headed by Chief Bisi Akande, Tinubu’s ally and former interim national chairman of the APC.

A member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) said Tinubu during the closed door meeting he had with them during his visit to the party secretariat had asked them to resign as a way of finding a lasting solution to the intractable crisis rocking the party.

“I am not surprised by the current letter written by Asiwaju Tinubu. During his visit to the party secretariat, he had asked us members of the NWC led by Chief Oyegun to resign but we told him that is impossible since our tenure will end in June.

“We later understood he wanted to install a caretaker committee headed by Chief Bisi Akande, thereby having his structures in charge of the party. That I can tell you is the genesis of the crisis”, he said.

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