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Tony Osauzo, Benin
The challenges facing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) came to the fore recently when the aspirant for the position of the National chairmanship of the party and former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, visited the APC caucus in the senate to solicit their support ahead of the National Convention of the party.
It was an opportunity for the senators to bare their minds about the happenings in the party and it was so touching as the senators lamented how rotten the party has become under the leadership of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
The presence of the leadership of the senate at the meeting with Oshiomhole showed how important that meeting was to the APC senators. From the closed door meeting which lasted for over one hour, it was learnt that the senators were not keen on leaving the party but all they wanted was to be given a sense of belonging. The outcome of the meeting, Daily Sun gathered, has given a lot of hope to majority of members of the party who equally see the coming of Oshiomhole as the solution that the APC needs.
And to show the acceptability of Oshiomhole to the APC senators, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who warmly welcomed him to the House, noted that majority of senators have this optimism that Oshiomhole has the capacity to lead the party at this point in time.
“I know comrade has been working hard to talk to people about his ambition and I want to thank him for finding time to come personally to meet the APC caucus in the senate. I have known comrade for many, many years. We have worked together at various levels, so I know him very well and his ability to do all he said he wants to do in our party. I know he has the capacity to take up the challenges before us as a party and I have no doubt that he will do well and make APC a formidable party once more”, Saraki said.
While addressing the senators, Oshiomhole was able to touch on the burning issues in the party to the admiration of the senators, stressing the point that the current disagreement in the party can be resolved when all parties sincerely come to the table with open minds for discussions.
He said “Today I have come not only to solicit for your support but to also say that I dream of a political party where everybody will have that sense of pride and even the sense of ownership. I believe sir, that the very part of our being a democratic voluntary organisation which a political party represents, means that the basis for coexistence has to be mutual respect. I believe that part of the challenges we had which are no secret is that the various organs of the party have not functioned in a manner that was anticipated. And I believe that without those organs functioning, we are just a collection of individuals, who can speak to a party when party members at various levels meet debate and agree on a particular direction and that agreement becomes the party’s position.
“And when we now speak on issue of party supremacy, it is in the context of a decision that we democratically arrived at in which members of the party, from the President to the Senate, Reps, to governors and everyone are expected to abide by that decision because they are our own decisions. So I am convinced Mr. President, by my background, as someone who has been victim of power, both economic power and political power which pushed me into unionism and someone who has grown to become a governor, I never oppressed any one. I think I have passed through all the stages and I am fairly informed about the challenges of governors and the challenges of a political party.
“I believe sir, and I want to assure our senators, that given the opportunity to chair our party, there are couple of things we must do differently. We cannot dream of a party in which there are no disagreements. If we have one like that, it means the party is not democratic. Even in the military there are some disagreements and agreements. So in a genuine democracy nobody is seen to get everything that he wants but everybody can get everything that we are able to negotiate. And the driver of this process has to be compromise. Nobody has all the monopoly and nobody is bereft of ideas. And I believe that if we approach issues with open mind, with open mind we can do business.
“Even at this hour that a lot of party members have issues here and there, I am confident that working with the leadership of the senate with open mind, with commitment to fairness and justice and courage to speak the truth at all times, that all of these issues can be resolved. Not in a manner that can lead to losers and winners but in a manner that can lead to win -win. Win-win is possible and it is not particularly difficult.
“Working with you, I believe that the APC can fulfil its mission and become a party that is different. I believe sir, that having worked for eight years as governor, I can understand the challenges between the legislature and the executive whether at the federal or state level. I believe that God helping me to get there as chairman, our party will not be a spectator or a sit down look party while various arms of government whether at the state or federal level are at each other’s throat. We have a common opponent that is easier to identify, we know our opponents, we cannot be opponents of ourselves and if we cannot be opponents of ourselves then it must be possible to canvass our differences with doors closed and we can come out smiling.
“I believe that getting support from all of you and all our leaders, that together we can strengthen our party, giving it more positive image, given our members that sense of participation and together we will confront the forthcoming election and remind Nigerians that even if we have not fix all the problems there is genuine commitment to fix them. And again, we cannot fix in three years what was destroyed in sixteen years. This party is capable of delivering and sustaining the change that we have promised”, Oshiomhole declared.