By Charles Kumolu & Omeiza Ajayi
Amid claims by the National Leader of All Progressives Congress ,APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu that the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun is frustrating his peace-making efforts, investigations by Saturday Vanguard revealed that his endeavours are yielding positive results to the admiration of key party stakeholders.
It was particularly learnt that his fence-mending roles have so far resulted in some viable options that could lead to reconciliation and confidence building in APC.
Party sources told Saturday Vanguard that in the discharge of his duties as a trouble-shooter, Tinubu has deployed sound judgment, wisdom, and far-sightedness to the extent that many now regard him as the person, who holds the key to the party’s future. Party sources said that Tinubu had gained upper hand in what appeared to be a tussle between him and leadership of the National Working Committee. And the outcome of the meeting President Buhari had with Oyegun yesterday, we gathered, pointed to the fact that Tinubu was holding sway.
The sources further revealed that plans have been concluded to dissolve the party’s National Working Committee ,NWC, anytime next week in order to constitute a Caretaker Committee.
It was further learnt that the planned dissolution of the Oyegun-led NWC is expected to take place in Abuja.
While it was not specifically stated if the decision to dissolve the NWC is as a result of Tinubu’s peace-making efforts, it was gathered that the aim is to position loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari at the helm of affairs.
The move for a Caretaker Committee which confirmed a report by Saturday Vanguard a few weeks ago about a similar plan is aimed towards having an assemblage of men, who will be absolutely committed in working for Buhari’s re-election.
If eventually constituted, it was learnt that the Caretaker Committee would organise the party’s National Convention which is expected to hold in June upon the expiration of the tenure of the current NWC.
Meanwhile, Chief Odigie-Oyegun has replied the 7-page letter written him by Tinubu in which the latter excoriated him for being disinterested in the peace-building efforts he is leading in the party.
The acknowledgement letter came after President Muhammadu Buhari met with Chief Odigie-Oyegun on Friday afternoon at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Though the details of their meeting were not immediately available to the public, Saturday Vanguard gathered that it was not unconnected with the dusts raised by Mr Tinubu’s letter and the need to get the party chairman to soft-pedal in his response rather than responding tit for tat.
In his reply which was obtained by Saturday Vanguard, Odigie-Oyegun simply assured the former Lagos governor of his “fullest support”, but refrained from joining issues with him or embarking on a point by point response.
“I thank you for your letter dated February 21, 2018, for your prayers and good wishes for my health. I wish you the same and pray that our good God keeps you strong and grants you His peace. Let me once again formally congratulate you on the peace making assignment Mr President has entrusted you with. It is most challenging but I believe you will ultimately justify the confidence reposed in you by Mr President. In this, you have my fullest support.
“Be assured, dear Asiwaju, of my highest regards now and always”, he concluded.
The letter dated 23rd February 2018 was copied to the President, Vice President, Senate President and the Speaker, House of Representatives.
President Buhari had days ago appointed Mr Tinubu to mediate in the various crises afflicting the ruling party both at the national level and in the states.
Tinubu had in his own letter dated February 21 alleged that Chief Odigie-Oyegun had been taking unilateral decisions regarding the crisis in the party in Kogi, Kaduna and Adamawa states.
Titled, ‘Actions and Conduct Weakening the Party from Within’, Tinubu said, “those who were entrusted with positions of high responsibility within the party seemed unable to handle the success given them. Little attention was tendered the principles upon which this party was formed and pursuant to which it was presented to the public as an alternative to the cynical politics of the PDP”.
Tinubu said since the election, there had been reports of lack of fairness and openness, leading to crisis in the states, while “there have been allegations of self-induced crisis resulting from merchandising of internal processes.”
Tinubu recalled how he had recently visited the Chief Odigie-Oyegun led National Working Committee NWC and extracted commitments from them to support the processes of reconciliation. “Unfortunately, the spirit of understanding and of cooperative undertaking to revive the party seems not to have lived beyond the temporal confines of that meeting. I assure anyone who cares to know that this positive spirit of cooperation did not meet its demise at my hands…Disappointment greeted me when I discovered out that you had swiftly acted in contravention of the spirit of our discussions. Instead of being a bulwark of support as promised, you positioned yourself in active opposition to the goal of resuscitating the progressive and democratic nature of the APC. As a party, we have strived to be the best, present hope for the nation. Yet, your goal appears to be something of a lesser pedigree”.
According to Tinubu, Oyegun had mentioned the APC in Kogi, Kaduna, Adamawa and Kano states as chapters deserving critical attention due to the peculiar nature of their crisis, and accused the national chairman of rushing to Kogi last weekend to “unilaterally inaugurate a new slate of state officials, parallel to the officials already heading the state chapter of the party”.
“It is my understanding that your dissolution of the duly-constituted state executives and the hurried naming of the above-mentioned caretaker group was not approved by the NWC. You had let this situation fester for months on end. Only when I was appointed to help resolve internal disputes and when you realized I might focus early on Kogi, did you stir from your indifference and inaction”.
He said Oyegun’s inaction led to the festering crisis in other states, saying the chairman also failed to avail him of the status reports on the affected state chapters as earlier promised.