Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress exchanged hot words and shouted at one another during last Thursday’s meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, with some of them demanding the removal of party national chairman Adams Oshiomhole; while others insisted on his stay in office, Daily Trust learnt from top party sources at the weekend.
The meeting ended in stalemate and when the governors emerged from the meeting, none of them agreed to speak to newsmen.
Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo and Chief of Staff to the President Mallam Abba Kyari also attended the meeting.
Daily Trust learnt that five governors pushed for Oshiomhole’s immediate removal, saying he had mismanaged the party due to selfish interest and has endangered its future.
They are Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, who is also chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum; Governor Nasiru el-Rufai of Kaduna; Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau, who is chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum; Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State and Governor Andrew Obaseki of Edo. The latter is in a bitter political quarrel with his predecessor and former godfather, Oshiomhole. He is also up for re-election next year.
On the other hand, governors who supported Oshiomhole included Babagana Zulum of Borno, Sanwo-olu of Lagos, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina, Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, Yahaya Bello of Kogi and Engineer Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa.
Among the APC governors that were either not at the meeting or who sat on the fence were Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Mohamed Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe, Mohamed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa and Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara.
The pro-Oshiomhole governors said no meeting of APC governors was held to discuss the matter before Governor Bagudu phoned each one of them on Wednesday night and invited them to the meeting with Buhari on Thursday morning.
Many had to charter planes in order to attend the meeting, they said. Sources told Daily Trust there was a sharp exchange between one governor from the northwest who opposed Oshiomhole and another from the northeast who supported him.
While the former said they were clamouring for the chairman’s sack out of loyalty to President Buhari and his legacy, the latter accused the former of being a late comer to the Buhari camp.
He said he was a Buhari local government coordinator in 2003 when the former was a top anti-Buhari PDP operator. Buhari refused to support and side in the argument, sources said. he instead said he initially supported Oshiomhole to become national chairman because he had a good record both as president of the Nigeria Labour Congress and as Edo State governor.
The president, however. said if party members wanted to remove him, they should follow the normal procedure. One of the governors, who supported Oshiomhole, however added that if Buhari wanted the chairman removed, he should say so and they would support him.
Daily Trust also learnt that when APC state chairmen met with the president over the same issue last Friday, 24 of them indicated support for Oshiomhole to continue as party chairman; while the others either opposed him or sat on the fence. Again there was no consensus at the meeting, Daily Trust learnt.