*El rufai, Bello, reject being co-opted into anti-Oshiomhole camp
*Okorocha schedules another meeting for Tuesday
*Sen Uzodinma APC candidate in Imo
By Charles Kumolu, Deputy Features Editor
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari was infuriated by the refusal of Imo State governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha; Ogun State governor, Sen Ibikunle Amosun; and Zamfara State governor, Alhaji Abudulaziz Yari to accept his solution to the crises over their choice of governorship candidates in their respective states, Saturday Vanguard learned.
The trio, who had visited the President in Abuja to seek his support in their quest to oust the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, were asked to sacrifice some of their ambitions in the interest of peace.
Incensed by their insistence on having their way despite his intervention, the President, who did not buy into the anti-Oshiomhole plot referred them to the latter on the grounds that he runs the affairs of APC.
A source privy to the outcome of the meeting told Saturday Vanguard that Buhari had told Okorocha to forgo his senatorial ambition and produce the governorship standard-bearer.
Amosun, the source, said was also given options that could have ensured a win-win situation.
It was this failure to get the President’s endorsement that informed the failed attempt to mobilise APC governors in Abuja, with the sole aim of moving against Oshiomhole.
Govs Bello, Nasir Elrufai
The plot, our source said, was for Rochas to have used his influence as the Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum, while the capacity of Yari as the Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, would have been deployed to have other governors agree to the plan.
However, most of the governors did not turn up for the meeting earlier this week, a situation Vanguard gathered was deliberate.
In fact, an insider revealed that attempts at convincing Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and Kaduna State governor, Nasir Elrufai in a telephone conversation failed.
Bello was gathered to have told Okorocha that he had absolute loyalty for the President and would not pitch his tent against Oshiomhole, who is on the same page with Buhari on the matter.
On his part, Elrufai was said to have told them not to speak to him again about the issue, saying he would not want to be used for settling personal scores.
He was said to have added that they should settle any differences they may be having with Oshiomhole, without co-opting other governors in the plot against the national chairman.
Saturday Vanguard was told that only four governors attended the failed meeting in Abuja.
Faced with the failure to mobilise overwhelming support among the governors, the Okorocha group scheduled another anti-Oshiomhole meeting for next week Tuesday.
Signatures of the 21-member NWC
Also, the aggrieved governors, it was learned, have commenced collecting the names of the 21-member APC National Working Committee, NWC, in their quest to unseat Oshiomhole, who they considered a stumbling block to their ambitions.
However, this move was said to have met a brick wall, as Vanguard gathered that they were relying on the Deputy National Chairman, North of the APC, Sen Lawali Shuabi, who was described as a mole in the party.
According to one of the sources:”Rochas and his group of aggrieved governors met the President, thinking that he would support their moves against our National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
“The President as a peacemaker, who means well, sent them back to Oshiomhole. He told them that Oshiomhole is in charge of the party. Buhari even told Rochas to drop his senatorial ambition and allow Hope Uzodinma to go to the Senate.
“But Rochas disagreed. Amosun was also given an option that could resolve the crises, but he refused like his co-traveler, Rochas. Their actions got the President infuriated. They had thought that Buhari would support an illegality.
They became frustrated, especially when their fellow governors told said they were not interested in the anti-Oshiomhole meeting. Governor Elrufai told them not to call him on phone again for such, stating that it was wrong to use other people in settling personal scores.
Even Governor Bello said he would not join them on the grounds that he stands with the President on any issue. Okorocha came to Abuja three days before the failed meeting in his attempt to mobilise support.
A vote of confidence
“They are now moblising NWC members. They have started collecting their names but it is dead on arrival because they only have one person, who they think is loyal to them. They are collecting the names of those they think are against Comrade. Our party’s Deputy National Chairman, North, Sen Lawali Shuaibu is with them. He is a mole in our party. We have long discovered that he has sympathy for Saraki. We will defeat them.
They even want to use the state chairmen but unknown to them, the state chairmen are loyal to Oshiomhole. All the state chairmen in the South-South have passed a vote of confidence in him. That puts him in a better position. The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi even held a meeting yesterday (Thursday) where he cautioned party chieftains against moving Oshiomhole.
Okorocha, Amosun, Yari, and Akeredolu
“Rochas has budgeted so much for this project. That is why he is leading the offensive. Another meeting has even been scheduled for Tuesday. The agenda is their intention to remove Oshiomhole for refusing the subversion of popular wishes in their respective states. Okorocha, Amosun, Yari and even Akeredolu are just being motivated by selfish interest. Okorocha is hell-bent on installing his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, while a man, who is engaged to his daughter, would become Nwosu’s running mate.
“He would also be in the Senate at the same time. That is not acceptable to Mr. President and our party chairman. Okorocha is exhibiting the height of greed because he had come several times to seek Oshiomhole’s support.
The position of Oshiomhole is that the matter belongs to the people of the state. Oshiomhole has no grouse against Okorocha, who he returned the party structure to after being humiliated by the John Oyegun-led defunct national leadership.
“At a meeting that was held for the aggrieved people in Imo, Oshiomhole asked Okorocha to take 55 percent of the positions, while Sen Hope Uzodima and Sen Uwajumogu group takes 45 percent, but Rochas refused, saying that Uzodinma and his group are not members of the party. Rochas wants to take Uzodinma’s seat in the Senate, while he has got someone to replace Uwajumogu in his senatorial district. These senators are the people fight for President Buhari in the Southeast and Rochas wants to displace them.
“There is a security report that APC would lose Imo State if the ticket is given to Okorocha’s son-in-law. Even the Catholic Church which is an influential platform in the state has vowed not to vote for his candidate.
The church was instrumental to the electoral defeat suffered by former governor Ikedi Ohakim. And we are talking of Okorocha, who had offended the church. The party expected them to take the opportunity offered by the Osunbor Electoral Panel Committee but Okorocha, Yari, Amosun, and Akeredolu failed to do so.”