Chairman of the APC, Chief Odigie-Oyegun appears to be walking a tight rope in his leadership of the party as the National Working Committee (NWC), which he leads, looks to have fallen into the grip of some powerful forces. These forces are now plotting his ouster from the leadership of the party.
Investigations by Saturday Tribune confirmed that the national chairman is gradually becoming a lone ranger who “speaks truth to power” in the configuration of the ruling party.
Sources said that while Odigie-Oyegun had offended some leaders of the party with his management of the build-up to the crisis rocking the National Assembly, some of the leaders are angry that the chairman is not disposed to using the sledge hammer to hit recalcitrant members of the party who orchestrated the current situation in the Assembly.
A source close to the party said that the forces against Odigie-Oyegun felt betrayed by the chairman’s inability to push their position “hard enough” by ensuring that all elected party men toe the party’s line in the days ahead of the inauguration of the National Assembly.
A source in the know said that leaders of the party expected that the chairman would carry out decisions with all the energy required.
Another source said, adding that the chairman’s unilateral declaration that the party had accepted the election of Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker respectively was a huge jolt to the leaders.
Shortly after the source made the comments, the party unveiled series of actions, which culminated in the show of shame at the Senate and the House of Representatives this week.
It was gathered that the national chairman had had his loyalty base in the NWC reduced to near zero, as some forces are said to have placed members on their payrolls, meaning that the position of such forces would always prevail at any meeting of the NWC.
One instance of the chairman’s loneliness on principles and issues in the party was the meeting called to conclude on the letter to be written to the Senate President and Speaker on leadership positions in the two chambers.
The chairman was said to have called a meeting of the NWC to deliberate on the letter as suggested by some party leaders.
It was gathered that as soon as the chairman threw the matter on the floor, almost all NWC members spoke in favour of the letter. A source said, however, that the chairman cautioned against the letter and disclosed that his meeting with Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Senator Ahmad Lawan, who leads the Unity Forum in the Senate, was very fruitful.
The chairman was said to have told his NWC colleagues that the meeting with Saraki and members of Ahmad Lawan’s Unity Forum was about bringing out a zoning arrangement for the four principal officers in the senate, when some persons started disturbing the Lawan’s group with text messages and eventually terminated the meeting without a conclusion.
It was also gathered that the chairman told the NWC members that Saraki had already agreed to a zoning formula which would see the North East produce the Senate Leader, South West the Whip, North West Deputy Leader and South South Deputy Whip.
He was also quoted as having told the NWC that the zoning formula already accepted by Saraki was in line with the party’s projection, but that the only difference was that the party wanted to name the candidates.
He was also said to have cautioned that going ahead to name the candidates could upset the senators who could feel that the party was usurping their roles. It was learnt that a huge protest rented the air venue as almost every member of the NWC rose against this idea.
The source said that the chairman also cautioned his compatriots by mentioning a Benin proverb that says ‘you can only apply caution in killing a rat that enters your pot of soup.’
A source said: “All the pleas by Oyegun fell on deaf ears as the NWC members were charged to deliver on the assignment of the forces. It was obvious that the chairman had no loyalty among the NWC members and he sensed it.
Sources in the party said that the first stage towards actualising Oyegun’s removal plot was to take hold of his NWC, which should make the plot easy to execute.
It was, however, learnt that some other forces in the party, particularly the Northern caucus are watching the anti-Oyegun plot and are willing to block the bid anytime.
It was also gathered that the Northern force behind Oyegun was responsible for rallying the state chairmen of the party to his side recently, when they passed a vote of confidence in the chairman.