Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to President Muhammadu Buhari, over the lingering leadership tussle between him and the national chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun.
Tinubu had on Wednesday in a letter, accused Oyegun of sabotaging his efforts to reconcile aggrieved APC members.
The letter dated February 21, 2018, was addressed to President Buhari, copied to the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
Hide quoted text
the letter read does ;
“I trust that this letter finds you in good health and may that never change. I also hope that you are in an apt frame of mind to read this letter according to the spirit in which it is written and to derive apt counsel from it.
Our party has travelled far in a brief time. To pull and mend the disparate legacy parties into one, we surmounted high obstacles that would have daunted others. To win the election, the then candidate Muhammadu Buhari had to campaign as never before and we, as a party, had to stare down great odds to win.
We held firm to our principles and did not cast our eyes away from the progressive objectives that led us to form this party in the first instance. We kept faith with the best of our ideals and we matched noble ideals to strong effort. We won. Nigeria won.
Sadly, some, 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 (Peoples Democratic Party).
We were born as a party of internal democracy; but our internal institutions have been actively undermined or allowed to atrophy. The spirit of a new and better Nigeria that guided us to unprecedented electoral success has been steadily replaced by the bankrupt and rule-less ways that brought the PDP low.
Since the election, there have been several reports of lack of openness and fairness which have led to internal crisis in some of our states. There have been allegations of self-induced crisis resulting from merchandising of internal processes. We all must agree that the party was bound to suffer growing pains but not to the extent of losing part of the substantial goodwill that brought us to power.
However, that which concerns me has little to do with the manner by which the party is growing. What concerns me is the manner in which the crisis is developing that can lead to serious erosion of party cohesion and confidence. Were I alone in this concern, I would discount my observations as a sign of my own misperceptions or infirmity. However, I stand not alone in this worry. My grief is shared by so many party members that I would not be accused of exaggeration if I said substantial party leaders are worried about the course of our vessel.
I believe it was from this sober concern that President Muhammadu Buhari recently appointed me to lead the consultation, reconciliation and confidence-building efforts in our party. Upon the appointment, I gave the President my word that I would work diligently and objectively to achieve the goal set before me.
In this vein, my first port of call after receiving this assignment was our party’s National Secretariat to present myself before the National Working Committee (NWC), with you as one of its members by virtue of your position as Chairman of the party. During my interaction with the NWC, I enjoined its members to freely express their views concerning the state of the party at the national, state and local levels. I listened attentively to the views of every member of the NWC present.
On your part, you promised unalloyed support for my mission. Consonant with that vow, you said you would provide all information at your disposal and you vowed to act as a liaison between me and the state party chapters. At that very meeting, I announced I had formally started the assignment handed me by President Buhari. I offered to keep you abreast of my work. I said that I wanted the NWC to be like an informal advisory council and sounding board to me in the discharge of this presidential mandate.
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.
My position was and is that we can only restore the party by resolving its current deficiencies in an unbiased, neutral manner that allows us to strengthen our internal democracy by annealing those internal institutions and processes vital to such internal fairness. I stated this position then and still hold to it with all sincerity.
Yet, disappointment greeted me when I discovered 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.
In our discussion, you personally mentioned Kogi, Kaduna, Kano and Adamawa States as places afflicted by serious party issues. Given your assessment, these were states where I believed cooperation between you and I should have been intense and detailed. Instead, you have taken it as your personal mission to thwart my presidential assignment in these key states.
In Kogi, you rushed to the state to unilaterally inaugurate a new slate of state officials, parallel to the officials already heading the state chapter of the party. While this may place you in significant affinity with those parallel officials you handpicked, this machination suggests no improvement in the welfare of the party in Kogi or at the national level. This usurpation of authority exacerbates conflict and confusion; it does not resolve them.
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. This arrogation of power sets you at variance with members of the NWC as evidenced by National Publicity Secretary Malam Bolaji Abdullahi’s statement, condemning your improper and unusual action.
You had let this situation fester for months on end. Only when I was appointed to help resolve internal disputes and when you realised I might focus early on Kogi, did you stir from your indifference and inaction. You could have wisely and prudently treated this matter beforehand. By waiting to the last moment, your unilateral action was implemented in haste and unbalanced in thought. By creating a parallel body, you not only acted improperly, you grew a second problem from the stem where previously there had sprouted but one.
The Kaduna State chapter apparently has been troubled by disputes over who the party recognises as acting chairman for the state. The dispute has at times degenerated to the point where there purportedly has been demolition of property and the threat of violence.
This eruptive state of affairs is a direct and proximate result of the inability of the party under your leadership to follow the dictates of the party constitution and regulations to arrive at a result that all may agree was rendered objectively, in harmony with the principles by which this party was founded.
While everyone may not be pleased with the result, all contestants would acknowledge that the process had been fair and neutral. In this way, rancour is contained and reconciliation more easily achieved.
Because this matter has been left to fester, positions have hardened and intrigue and animosity are more the authors of the day than unity, compromise and cooperation. It is always better to repair the crack before it becomes a hole and the hole before it becomes a gap. You did neither in this instance. Yet, you lifted not a finger to honour your vow to provide information and contacts to help me do this important repair.
After my interaction with the NWC and given the urgency of the work needed to mend and heal the party, you should have presented the status reports on state party chapters as promised, and certainly without much delay. Your reportage is vital to my work. Your delay in not reporting on a single state chapter now delays and threatens my assignment.
Mr. Chairman, I cannot overstate the imperatives of time in this regard just as I cannot overstate the need for cooperation and to work in accordance with the formal rules and ways of our party.
Yet, something else is afoot and I must draw attention to it so that we can end the malpractice before it impairs the party and my assignment any further. Drawing from your behaviour in Kogi, Kaduna and with regard to the state chapter assessment requested, I am led to the inference that you have no intention of actually supporting my assignment.
Instead, you apparently seek to undermine my mandate by engaging in dilatory tactics for the most part. When forced to act, you do so in an arbitrary and capricious manner, without the counsel of other NWC members and without regard to our internal procedures.
You may have personal qualms with me. That is your right as a human being. However, you have no such right as the chairman of this party. This party belongs to all of its members. You have no greater claim on it than any of the rest of us. Whatever personal qualms you may have with me are secondary at this point. You have a moral and professional obligation as the party chairman to act in the party’s best interests. Your hurried and unilateral actions belie the important agency you hold for the party.
Thus, in furtherance of the assignment given to me by President Buhari, I request that you make available to me the status reports and all other pertinent information regarding the state chapters without further delay.
Also, to lessen animosity and return the party to the path of internal democracy and openness, I beg that you refrain from taking any more improper unilateral decisions with regard to the national and state chapters of the party. As the chairman of the party, you must work within the confines of the duties and responsibilities enumerated under the party constitution. You must not stretch beyond them.
If you continue to do so, I fear you may undermine the party in no small degree. You may well cause internal fractures and dissension difficult to repair yet visible to all. I fear this can undermine our goodwill with the electorate and make the approaching challenges to the party materially more difficult than they need to be.
As chairman of this party, you should not want this to be your legacy. As a member of this party from its inception, I don’t want this to happen to the party and I don’t want such an awful thing to be your legacy.