The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, shelved his ambition to run for the position again after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday night.
Sources said the APC governors had already informed the Chief Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee (NWC) on the plan of President Buhari to support the national chairmanship ambition of a former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, at a meeting held at the party secretariat last Wednesday.
But Chief Odigie-Oyegun’s silence on the message brought by the governors from the president was not enough to convince them that he had given up the ambition of remaining at the helms of affairs of the party beyond the 2019 general elections.
“What happened at the Wednesday meeting was that the governors conveyed information on their meeting with the president,” one of the sources said.
“They told Oyegun that the president will be supporting Oshiomhole for the chairmanship position but there was no response from the chairman at that meeting,” he said.
Another source said that was when it became evident that President Buhari had to intervene; more so there were open altercations among key party stakeholders on the national chairmanship position, especially after the APC state and zonal meetings held in Edo State.
Penultimate Sunday, the Edo caucus of the APC led by the State chairman of the party, Barrister Anselm Ojezua, had backed Oshiomhole to vie for the position of national chairman at a meeting in Benin.
However, his subsequent endorsement by the South-South zonal chapter of the APC polarised the party as four out of the six state chairmen of the party from the zone rejected him.
The state chairmen that rejected him were Chief Davies Ikanya (Rivers), Deacon Joseph Fafi (Bayelsa), Mr Etim John (Cross River) and Dr Amadu Attai (Akwa Ibom), as well as the APC Deputy National Secretary, Hon. Victor Giadom.
Subsequently, Oyegun also described the purported endorsement of Oshiomhole by the South-South zonal leadership of the party as “absolutely childish.”
Before his final decision, Oyegun had the support of some APC governors, especially those who believed that they could only control the party structures in their state if he remained as national chairman.
Oshiomhole’s candidacy was hitherto rejected by the governors who thought that the support he enjoyed from the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, might not be good for their various political interests.