By Joseph Aboh, Abuja
As a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) holds today at the Presidential Villa, Abuja former national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has disowned separate suits instituted seeking the return of the National Working Committee under his leadership.
The APC NWC was sacked last June at an emergency meeting of NEC held at the Presidential Villa and a Caretaker Committee led by Yobe State governor was announced by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Former national vice chairman, south-south of the party, Hillard Etagboeta had since filed a suit to challenge the dissolution of the NWC which was led by Comrade Oshiomhole.
In a similar vein, another chieftain of the party from Abia State, Kalu Kalu Agu has equally filed a suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Kalu in the suit, amongst other prayers maintained that Oshiomhole-led NWC was illegally dissolved last June and prayed the court to bar the Caretaker Committee from convening any NEC meeting for the party, pending when all issues relating to legality or otherwise of the dissolution of the Oshiomhole-led NWC are fully resolved.
But the immediate past national chairman of the party in a statement he personally signed titled, “My Position Has Not Changed,” disclosed that he was no longer interested in returning to APC national secretariat as national chairman.
The former Edo State governor who insisted that the court case instituted by Honourable Etagboeta did not enjoy his blessings, further declared that “even if another NEC decision or a court order reverses the dissolution, with utmost humility I will decline to return as APC chairman.”
The statement read in part: “In reporting the legal action taken by a member of the dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), some attributions have been made to the effect that plaintiff is an ‘ally of Oshiomhole’ or an ‘associate of Oshiomhole’.
“The court documents are clear on who is the plaintiff.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the 21-member NWC under my leadership largely worked cohesively and harmoniously. The only exceptions were those of the three members used by forces desperate to take control of the party. They contrived a crisis and abused the judicial process to undermine the constitution and integrity of the party.
“The majority of 18 members worked as a team and not as allies or loyalists of anybody.
“When the National Executive Committee (NEC) in its wisdom dissolved the NWC, I immediately announced publicly that I accepted the decision, regardless of its illegality or otherwise, as it affected my position as national chairman.
“I was the only one at the press conference where I made the announcement for personal reasons. The reason, of course, was that some of my colleagues in the dissolved NWC obviously didn’t share my position not to contest the dissolution in court. I can only accept responsibility for my own decision.
“Subsequently, I instructed my lawyers to withdraw the suits challenging my purported suspension from office by the proxies of those bent on removing me as chairman.
“It is, therefore, the height of mischief to insinuate, as it is being done in some quarters, that I would publicly accept the decision and later surreptitiously seek to contest it in court.
“That chapter of my political life is closed. Even if another NEC decision or a court order reverses the dissolution, with utmost humility I will decline to return as APC chairman.
“I am proud of the accomplishments of the NWC under my leadership and I am grateful to the principled 18 members who worked as a team committed to the cause of the party.
“Above all, I bear no grudges against anyone for the manner of my removal.
“Instead, I am grateful and loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari who encouraged me to contest the chairmanship of the party.
“I am also very much appreciative of the support of President Buhari who encouraged me to assert the authority of the party without fear or favour.
“Indeed, I would not have lasted as long as I did as national chairman but for the president’s support for me. I will continue to support his administration to succeed in serving the common good of the people of Nigeria.”