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It seems the long wait for the pioneer member of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Tom Ikimi, to finally speak about the fallout of the party’s National convention is over. Ikimi has said his grievances with his party has to do with the tyrannical approach to leadership Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Ikimi, a favorite of Atiku Abubakar and the G5 governors, was also a contestants for the office of the National Chairman but was forced to step down for a consensus candidate who is also from his home state, Edo.
According to him, Tinubu singlehandedly chose the former Edo State governor, John Odigie-Oyegun, and sources in the party had said Tinubu on the other hand vow not to have him as his chairman. Asiwaju even threatened to leave the party with his governors if Ikimi had emerged National Chairman.
In a statement made available to The PUNCH, Ikimi, a former foreign affairs minister, said Tinubu had turned the APC into a private property and that some stalwarts of the APC were willing to accede to his whims which eventually turned the party’s Saturday convention to a “charade.”
The APC chieftain added that the party’s governors colluded with Tinubu to truncate democratic process in the national convention.
“The governors and the Tinubu groups decided on a zoning process that was limited only to party offices as well as the choice of individuals to fill them. They proceeded in a manner that was neither open nor transparent. Most undemocratic and bizarre procedures then prevailed.”
“The governors initiated a zoning plan that allocated the national chairman to the South-South. This proposal was reluctantly accepted by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, whose well-known preferred option had been to retain Chief Bisi Akande as the chairman forever. Nevertheless, he in the circumstance, proceeded to draw up a list of his cronies for the entire national executive all by himself. Very strange as this may sound, it was the reality. Nothing was ever referred to the National Interim Executive Council for approval or even information.”
Ikimi also lambasted Tinubu for parading himself as the national leader of the APC, saying no one gave him such a position. He added that it was unfortunate that some members of the party had tried to justify Tinubu’s unilateral appointment of Oyegun as the national chairman as a concession done to him as the national leader.
He said his problem with the ex-governor began when he opposed the Muslim-Muslim presidential and vice presidential ticket of the party.
“Asiwaju Bola Tinubu may recall that mostly for the same reasons I opposed his desire to run as vice presidential candidate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar under the Action Congress banner in 2007. We settled for Senator Ben Obi from eastern Nigeria.
“I know he nurses a grudge against me for the position I took which was strongly supported by leaders from five zones apart from the South-West. I have no regrets whatsoever for my courage to stand up against oppression or dictatorship. No matter what anyone might say against the PDP, no individual claims ownership of that party,” the statement read in parts.
While the drama in the party persists, reports say General Muhammadu Buhari has refused to take sides and he is as calm as always watching the gladiators in the progressives.