Why APC removed Lawan as peace panel chairman – Oshiomhole

The All Progressives Congress has explained why the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, was replaced on the reconstituted 12-member National Reconciliation Committee.

The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, said Lawan was replaced with the former (Interim) national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, because he had other state matters.

Recall that the APC had on December 18 raised a 10-member committee headed by Lawan to resolve the lingering crisis in the party across 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

But the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, objected to the composition of the committee, saying it contained interested parties in the dispute in the state.

Edo State has been embroiled in the battle for the control of power between the camp of Obaseki and loyalists of Oshiomhole.

But dispelling insinuation that the committee was reconstituted because of the protest by the governor, the national chairman said the inauguration of the committee suffered delay because of the need to change the leadership.

He said, “The process suffered a delay because the proposed to lead was unable to do so for other state matters.”

Oshiomhole said the intraparty conflict was not limited to the APC.

“It is natural for a political party to engage in internal contestations. Where there is none, there is a problem with that party.”

The former Edo governor, on behalf of the president, Muhammadu Buhari, thanked the committee members for accepting to serve.

He said, “Your acceptance to play this part renews our confidence that we are all committed to peace. It is traditional to have contestation in a progressive party. I am very thankful that you have all accepted to assist the party in this particular regard.”

Oshiomhole recalled that the committee became necessary sequel to the resolution of the National Executive Committee of the party in November 2019.

He recalled that the party made similar efforts in the past after the primaries to reconcile those who emerged with those who weren’t so lucky.

He explained that the Terms of Reference of the committee include identifying intra-party conflict or squabbles or misunderstanding and identify those involved in the conflict with a view to resolving the issue and enthroning lasting peace in the party.

He added that the committee may decide to coop or involve anyone or persons in a position to assist the committee in the discharge of its mandate.

“The committee shall make appropriate recommendations at the end of its exercise or from time to time as its deem fit. The committee is free to sit at any time, place or location at its own discretion,” he added.

Responding, Akande said he felt “trembled” when he was first appointed because he didn’t know the people whom he would work with.

He said, “At first, I felt trembled but when I read the names of my other colleagues in the committee, I became emboldened and felt happy that we are certainly going to do a very good job for the progress of this party.”

The former governor of Osun state assured the party that the committee would be diligent in the assignment it has been saddled with.