The newly elected national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomole was sworn in yesterday, with an assurance that his leadership would spring into action immediately and address the internal crisis rocking the party.
The new members of the National Working Committee (NWC) were sworn in shortly after the final result of the elections was announced by the chairman of the convention committee, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State. The new National Secretary, Maimala Buni, was the first to take the oath of allegiance and oath of office, which was administered by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) at 5:40pm before Oshiomhole administered oath of office on the 21 other members of the NWC.
Speaking after the oaths were administered, the new national chairman promised to administer the party based purely on its constitution, just as he assured that all contradictions within the party would be satisfactorily dealt with. The former governor of Edo State said, “We have all it takes to resolve party crisis, purging ourselves from any arrogance and have win-win solutions in all the states where we have problems. We know that there are challenges and we are ready. By 8:00 am tomorrow, I will be ready to take my seat and I know that my brother’s handover note is ready.
“All our governors, all our leaders, I assure you that we will resolve all the issues. I am used to resolving divergences; we will put all our time to it and administer the party on the basis of our constitution. We have the grace and we have the will, the contradictions will be dealt with satisfactorily”. Oshiomhole also assured that efforts of party leaders and members would be rewarded in commensurate measures, adding that grumbling would be unavoidable when fairness is denied.
“When there is no relationship between efforts and reward, there will be grumbling here and there. In a party such as ours, there can be no loser. Whoever wins will serve all of us; all those who contested will benefit from the leadership that emerged,” Oshiomole said. While congratulating the immediate past NWC members led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Oshiomole said the historic partnership enjoyed by the party explains the victory it recorded in the 2015 elections.
“I want to congratulate you for leading our party to victory and completing your tenure. Since 1999, no national chairman has accomplished what you achieved in the last four years. The PDP in 17 years has 12 chairmen,” he noted. Also acknowledging the contribution of the nPDP to the party’s success in the 2015 elections, he said, “I will also want to pay compliments to those governors who participated in the merger process.
It includes of course the former speaker of the House of Reps, now Sokoto governor, and Saraki who led the nPDP to join the four and half parties that formed the APC. “Mr. President, I will like to quote one of your favorite quotes. ‘We have no other country than Nigeria. We have no other party rather the APC and we must all refine it to provide leadership for everyone, irrespective of where they come from.”
On his part, President Muhammadu Buhari urged the newly elected leaders of the party to be humble in victory. In his closing remarks at the second day of the national convention of the party, the president noted that the political horse-trading were conducted with inclusiveness, as he said the contest was not a case of winner takes it all. “Everything was done in an atmosphere of give and take, knowing that in such contest, only one person would ultimately win.
Let the victors be humble in victory and let those who didn’t win be also gallant and gracious in defeat. We are members of one party and it is not about winner takes all. Rather, the purpose is to build a party that would put its best foot forward and serve our country to the best of its ability,” Buhari said. The president who expressed confidence in the new leadership of the party said the just concluded convention had put in place a leadership the entire country will be proud of.
“At the end of all proceedings, I believe we have put in place an executive that we all can be proud of; one that would lead our party from victory to victory, from progress to progress and one that Nigerians can be proud of. Together, we will all build a cohesive party that will do our country a world of good,” he said. The president also lauded the courage of aspirants who withdrew from the various contests, just as he assured that APC will serve Nigeria to the best of our God-given abilities, and move the country to its right position in the comity of nations.
Buhari stated: “I salute aspirants who for the common good had to shelve personal ambition and stood down for others they were to have contended with. I also salute those who went the whole way and contested, were voted for, and who emerged victorious, or otherwise. “I thank and congratulate members of the immediate past executive led by His Excellency, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, for their selfless service to our party and urge them to always lend the wisdom of their experience to the new executive members.” On his part, national leader of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, pledged his support to the re-election of President Buhari, noting that the president has rapidly transformed to a full democrat.
Tinubu shocked delegates at the congress when he said former President Olusegun Obasanjo was opposed to his support for Buhari in the buildup to the 2015 elections. He however berated the former president for making derogatory comments against President Buhari, saying Buhari has better achievements as a democrat compared to Obasanjo. He noted that the former president had spoken against his support for President Buhari in the 2015 elections, but he (Tinubu) refused to be under pressure. Tinubu said, “If there is any problem the president has now, it is being over democratic, I remember in 2015, many people spoke to me about not supporting another military officer. One uncle at the corner- I call him election rigger- called me and said, ‘if you are truly a democrat, you should not support a military man’. But I was not too stupid to believe his lies.
“I said until we finish with Boko Haram and looting, we need one more general at least. Buhari is today a great democrat. He has the guts to write a letter through the post office, but we told him that we now use email; your letter is not delivered. Thank God, he is not a member of our party. So, what is his business? Busy body! “President Buhari, you have not set half of the records he set. You didn’t upturn the leadership of the National Assembly and you have not removed a governor with six lawmakers – a criminal assault against democracy. Today, we have changed the leadership of our party, not through guns. Ask Mr Audu Ogbeh. In our time, one plus one must be two. Buhari has not run a governors’ forum where 16 is greater than 19”.
Tinubu further assured President Buhari of his support in his bid for a second tenure in office. “There is no way we will face looting for 16 years and we will perform better under three years. We are happy that you have offered yourself to run again. Please run; we are with you, we will be with you, we will win with you, but if we need to fight you, we will fight”, Tinubu declared. Meanwhile, Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have demanded justice and fair play from the new leadership of the party.
The National Assembly leaders who spoke consecutively noted that the APC recorded a landslide victory in the 2015 elections due to the unity among its leaders. In his remarks, Dogara said, “My charge is very simple, especially to the leader, the man who was a comrade and later an executive comrade. There are no challenges that do not have solutions; if we search deep, we shall see solutions to the problems confronting this movement.
One issue I want to dwell on is the issue of justice, which I know that Mr President upholds. “I want to charge you all to maintain the spirit of democracy, which is conflict and compromise. The escalation of constructive conflict is good for progress. There is more to be done and that is why this new leadership is coming to place. Nigeria is a great nation; whatever we are going through will not last, but Nigeria will last forever”. On his part Saraki who spoke immediately after Dogara preached the same message of justice and fair play. He said, “In looking into the future, we must look at our past, how were we able to win elections against all odds. We did it because of unity.
It is irresponsible of leadership not to take on challenges and find solutions. “As full as this place is, there are those who should be here and they are not here. We need everybody here. Mr chairman I have confidence in you. I have worked with you many years and I know your capability. You have a lot of work before you”.