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South-South APC Meeting And Matters Arising

The South-South called last week by the South- South region of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to find a solution to the intractable crisis in the party failed to achieve its desired objectives as Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki and the leadership of the party in the state boycotted it.
Also absent at the meeting were Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, immediate past national chairman of the APC, Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta, and Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transport.
Though the convener of the meeting, APC National Vice-Chairman, South-South, Hilliard Eta described the meeting as a success, many agreed it was a failure as the major reason why it was convened, which is the resolution of the political crisis in Edo state was not realised.
Governor Obaseki and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the party have been at loggerheads over unresolved political differences, a situation which has polarised the state chapter of the party in two factions.
Prior to the meeting, the state chairman of the party in Edo , Anselm Ojezua, said they will not attend the meeting as the venue is Oshiomhole’s private office and that party “leaders” in the zone were not consulted before the meeting.
He also said the purpose of the meeting is to “procure” and pass a vote of confidence on Oshiomhole.
Our attention has been drawn to a notice of the meeting of members of the South-south caucus of our party scheduled to take place at the private office of the suspended National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“Members are by this medium advised to ignore this notice and refrain from attending the meeting which was called without due consultation of the leaders of our party in the zone.”
He explained that the state chapter of the party has “learned that the purpose of the meeting is to procure and pass a vote of confidence on the embattled national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, among other sinister motives. This is in spite of the series of “No Confidence” votes earlier passed by all the relevant organs of the Party in his home state where it matters the most.
“A proper meeting of the caucus members within the boundaries of the South-south region of Nigeria should be convened in due course, after due consultation with the leaders of the zone.”
When contacted on the outcome of the meeting, Ojezua said he was not aware as the state chapter of the party stuck to its resolve not to attend despite entreaties from Eta and some South-South leaders.
He said Eta has been known to be a staunch loyalist of the embattled national chairman and as such the outcome of the meeting can be predicted.
” We didn’t attend the meeting so we didn’t know what they discussed there” he said.
Also speaking on why Governor Obaseki did not attend the meeting, one of his aides who preferred not to be named said the governor as a loyal member of the APC in Edo will always align with the party’s position.
” The governor did not attend because the Edo state chapter has taken a position not to attend. He is a loyal member of the party and as such will not flout its rules and directives”.
Also speaking, Chief Charles Idahosa, a former Commissioner for Information in the state said many party leaders in the state were not consulted about the meeting. He added that only those loyal to Oshiomhole were invited to the meeting in Abuja.
“We are in full support or the position of the Edo state chapter of the party. I know nothing will come out of the meeting because we were not consulted” he said.
Just as the Edo APC predicted, those present at the meeting which include Chief Don Etiebet, Senator Ndoma Egba, Senator Ita Enang and Chief Umanah Umanah passed a vote of confidence on Oshiomhole and also elected Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Senate President as its leader.
They also expressed worry about the attitude of some members in the zone working against the national chairman.
Speaking at the meeting, Etiebet who presented the resolution, vowed that the people of the zone would not tolerate attempt to remove the National Chairman.
He queried: “What has he done if not for the fact that he is bringing discipline into the party. Oshiomhole has brought stability, success so far in the APC and why will anyone want him out if not for their personal gains or looking for a stooge they can control.
“I want to commend our President, Muhammadu Buhari for the support he has been giving to our son, Oshiomhole and the South South.
“The position of the National Chairman is zoned to the South South and no outsider will come and dictate for us who will be our chairman. With the dogged effort of Oshiomhole we are able to win Bayelsa State which has not happened before.
“That is why we believe that there is no body today that can do better than what Oshiomhole is doing and that is why we are urging outsiders to stay off and leave Oshiomhole alone.
“We cannot go back to the days where the party lost its winning mentality and it is controlled by a cabal of governors. Oshiomhole has brought party supremacy and discipline and that is the only way APC can survive,” he declared.
Omo Agege, who described Oshiomhole as “our own that must not be antagonised,” appealed for support for the former Edo State governor.
He said, “Why are we antagonising our own? We have to stand by him. The party in the zone hasn’t fared very well. It is important to close ranks against the raging war.”
Eta also appealed to aggrieved members to sheathe their swords and work together.
“In Edo and Rivers states, we must find a solution to the problem. I want to beg all warring parties to sheathe their swords,” he added.
However speaking with our correspondent, Matthew Enogie, a chieftain of the party accused Eta and other members of the party who convened the meeting of bias saying the complaint of the Edo state chapter that the meeting shouldn’t have held at Oshiomhole’s private residence should have been considered.
“The major aspect of the meeting is to find a lasting solution to the crisis in Edo APC but that was not achieved following the absence of the governor and the leadership of the Edo state chapter of the party. I think the complaint by the Edo state chapter that the meeting shouldn’t hold in Oshiomhole’s place should have been considered”.
“When two parties are at war, the best is to look for a neutral ground where both can meet. By their actions, Eta has shown bias in the whole issue and as such. Was he not the first that first rejected the suspension of Oshiomhole when he was disciplined by the party in Edo for his role in the crisis rocking the party in the state? Until a neutral place is chosen for the meeting and those calling it are sincere people who are not anybody’s lackey, then the meeting called by Eta and his folks is dead on arrival” he said.

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