By Clifford Ndujihe
…Why FG is uncomfortable with Amotekun
Chief Charles Idahosa, former Commissioner for Information in Edo State, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and former political adviser to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, in this chat spoke on Operation Amotekun, raging issues in the APC, and the way forward.
His take on the comments of the APC National Vice Chairman (North East), Mustapha Salihu that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole can no longer preside over the affairs of the party as national chairman because he has been suspended in his home state of Edo
The APC Vice-Chairman (North- East) was stating the obvious. As far as we are concerned in Edo APC, Oshiomhole is no longer the national chairman. The constitution is very clear in Article 21 on how members of the party can be dealt with but because of the ignorance of many of his followers, they think that once you become the national chairman of the party, you are above the law.
First and foremost, irrespective of your position, you are a member of the party and as President Muhammadu Buhari said in his speech when the Caucus met: it is bottom-up. You have to be relevant in your unit, ward, local government and state level before you can go to Abuja to claim big titles.
Oshiomhole has no legitimacy. He has been suspended by his ward and the party leaders there. These leaders are not spirits, they came out openly to endorse his suspension. They are not hiding and have not denied saying so. However, he decided to ignore these leaders because he has never respected the party’s constitution.
I keep reminding people that I worked with him for eight years as Political Adviser and when he was saying in a viral video that I am an institution, grassroots leader and a political general, he never knew this day will come.
I agree with the Salihu Mustapha that Oshiomhole can no longer function as the national chairman. They are just postponing the evil day because at the end of the day, any action by him or any action he takes now as national chairman is null and void because it is an illegality. He knows this but he is pretending not to know. I only feel sorry for the APC because of the legal implication in the future.
While you are demanding for his resignation, some of his supporters are saying Oshiomhole deserves praises for winning elections for the party in recent elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and lately in Imo State. How will you react to that?
In medical psychiatry, there is what we call delusion of grandeur. I think Oshiomhole’s supporters are all deluded. When did Oshiomhole become the Supreme Court of Nigeria to have awarded judgement in favour of APC in Imo? In the first place, we lost the election hopelessly because of the infighting he had with Rochas Okorocha.
Because of that, there was division as one picked Uche Nwosu and the other picked Hope Uzodinma and that was how we went into the election. It was very clear because the constitution empowered Oshiomhole to sign the names of the candidates who are the winners of the primaries. That was why he signed for Uzodinma and Uche Nwosu had no choice than to go to another party, AA. There is no single APC member in the Imo State House of Assembly but PDP has 13 and AA has eight members. All these votes are meant to be APC’s votes
When Oshiomhole’s supporters say things like we should respect him because he has been winning elections, they are wrong because he has nothing to do with the party’s success in Imo; in fact, he created the problem. When you talk about Bayelsa, you saw the problem we went through and we are still in court. As we speak, we don’t have any representation in Rivers State and it’s all because of Oshiomhole’s recklessness; the same thing in Zamfara where we won all the elections but because of non-compliance to primary rules, we lost everything to the PDP.
Talking about Kogi, I am sure they were blind when the Vice-President knelt down begging the people of the state to vote for our governorship candidate. Have you seen an election so violent like the one in Kogi where a woman was locked up inside a room and set on fire? An election where policemen were shooting at voters from helicopters? At the end of the day, what did the IGP say? He said half of the policemen in Kogi and Bayelsa were fake.
As governor and national chairman he did not win the presidential election in Edo. Won’t you win your state before going to win other peoples’ states? We taught Oshiomhole politics in Edo State. Was it not in court that he won the governorship? I contested the governorship primary with him under ACN in 2007 and he knows that he didn’t defeat me.
Some key leaders of the party are strongly behind Oshiomhole, and don’t align with your position
I feel so sorry for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader of our party. I am aware he is one of those giving Oshiomhole support. Oshiomhole will disappoint him seriously and he will not support his presidential ambition in 2023. Oshiomhole will disappoint him because his ambition is to become Vice-President. Oshiomhole’s ambition is to pair a northern candidate against the interest of Tinubu. All the support Tinubu is giving him as national chairman because of his 2023 presidential ambition is just a waste of time and he will soon see things for himself.
On Operation Amotekun which has been described as illegal by the Federal Government?
On issues that have legal implications, I try as much as possible to stay away from it because I am not a lawyer. But speaking as a layman, maybe the federal government has some information that ordinary Nigerians are not aware of. But I think we have security outfits that are set up in other parts of the country.
For instance in Edo State, we have what is called ‘Operation Wabaizigan. I think the only difference is that most of these other agencies, especially the one we have in Edo State are working with the police. But this Amotekun, I understand they will be hunters and farmers , so I don’t know if they will be under the control of the police. If they are under the control of the police, that is fine but if they want to be on their own, I think that is what the federal government is not comfortable with.