The ministers showed their stand against the former Edo State governor by attending an anti-Oshiomhole meeting in Abuja on Friday morning.
The ministers are Rotimi Amaechi (Transportation), Dr Osagie Ehanire (Health), Festus Keyamo (State, Labour) and Goddy Jedy-Agba (State, Power).
Three other ministers from the zone were, however, absent from the meeting.
They are Timipre Sylva (State, Petroleum Resources); Clement Agba (Budget and National Planning) and Godswill Akpabio (Niger/Delta Affairs).
At the meeting, which held 72 hours before the emergency meeting of the National Executive Council of the party, prominent party stakeholders from the South-South, where Oshiomhole hails from, threw their weight behind Chief Victor Giadom as a replacement for the former Edo State governor.
Rising from the APC zonal stakeholders meeting which ended at the Edo State Governor’s Lodge at Asokoro, Abuja in the early hours of Friday, the party leaders announced support for a new order, pledging support for Giadom’s emergence as the party’s acting national chairman.
A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, which was read by the Edo State Governor and convener of the meeting, Godwin Obaseki, announced the zone’s support for next Tuesday’s emergency NEC meeting.
While insisting that the NEC meeting should go on as scheduled, the party leaders enjoined members of NEC from the six states that make up the South-South zone to endeavour to attend.
They declared confidence in the ability of the party’s NEC to resolve all outstanding disputes and contestations with a view to repositioning the party.
The communiqué read in part, “At the meeting, the leaders of the zone deliberated extensively on the situation in the party and at the end of the meeting, they adopted the following resolutions:
“That as a party, we commend our brother, the Acting Chairman of the APC, Victor Giadom, for rising to the occasion by providing leadership for the party in these trying times.
“That we fully support the convening of the National Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 17, as the NEC is the only recognised organ under the constitution of our party to resolve the APC crisis.
“That we insist that the party should respect the current zoning arrangement by retaining the chairmanship of our great party in the South-South zone even in an acting capacity.
“We resolved that the most senior officer of the party from the zone, being the National Acting Secretary, Chief Victor Giadom, should be confirmed Acting National Chairman for the time being.
“We urged all our brothers and sisters from the zone to fully embrace the NEC meeting and not boycott the emergency NEC meeting, which has been slated for Tuesday, March 17, because a boycott in a democratic environment is always counterproductive.”
Obaseki said seven ministers, serving and former senators, members of the House of Representatives, former ministers, former governors, former zonal and state executive members of the party attended the zonal caucus meeting.
Those at the meeting also included former Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba; former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Nguru Usani; ex-Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Dakuku Peterside; Senator Domingo Obende, factional chairman of the party in Edo State, Anslem Ojezua; party chieftain, Dr Ray Murphy; and Chief Osaro Idah.
Also, in attendance were Ehigie Uzamere; John James; former acting governor of Cross River State, Mr Larry Odey; former President of the Trade Union Congress, Mr Peter Esele; former Minister of State in the Federal Capital Territory, Senator John Akpanudoedehe; and former Edo State governor, Senator Osariemhen Osunbor.
Expectedly, Oshiomhole and the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege and the APC National Vice-Chairman for South-South, Hilliard Eta, were among those absent from the meeting.
Eta had on Wednesday called on party stakeholders to shun the meeting because, according to him, it was not properly convened.
It was gathered that the meeting was convened to map out strategies to among other things ensure that the chairmanship position is retained in the zone, even if temporarily, until a new zoning formula is arrived at by the party.
Ibrahim pronounced self acting National Organising Secretary
Meanwhile, the crisis rocking the ruling APC took a new dimension on Friday as the party’s Deputy National Organising Secretary, Mallam Mohammed Ibrahim, announced himself as the acting National Organising Secretary, replacing the substantive occupant of the office, Mr Emmanuel Ibediro.
Ibrahim introduced himself at a press conference at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.
He claimed that Ibediro’s continued stay in office was illegal in the light of an Abuja court order delivered by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on September 14, 2018.
Ibrahim, who brandished a copy of what he called ‘court judgment’ to buttress his point, explained that he would continue to perform his functions in his new capacity since he was duly elected the Deputy National Organising Secretary during the APC national convention held in 2018.
Ibediro dismissed Ibrahim’s claims.
Ibediro had however asked members of the party not to take Ibrahim seriously.
He said, “The man (Ibrahim) is a rabble-rouser. He took me to court in Abuja recently and the court threw away his case, telling him that it had no locus. He is not a party in the main suit as well as in the appeal; he did not even contest the position.
“The court threw away his case two weeks ago. The man is just a rabble-rouser. And he forgot that the case is still in the appeal. He cannot shop in troubled waters.”
NEC meeting will hold as scheduled –Acting National Organising Secretary
Nevertheless, the APC acting Deputy National Organising Secretary, told journalists at the party’s National Secretariat on Friday that the NEC meeting scheduled for next Tuesday would hold as scheduled.
He said the clarification became necessary in the light of misinformation being peddled by some individuals in the media that the meeting had been scuttled.
Ibrahim said, “The story making the rounds that the NEC meeting may either not hold or be scuttled is untrue and unjustified.
“I wish to assure Nigerians that the organisation of the NEC meeting has already reached an advanced stage and will proceed as planned.
“I wish to advise those who are trying to distract the attention of the party with rumours of possible last-minute (cancellation) and/or scuttling to desist from spreading such rumours.
“We are compelled to conclude that there is a plan by desperate forces, working with interests outside the system, to create false flag as a strategy for the distraction of our great party. This negative plan, I dare say, is dead on arrival.
“I call on all loyal party members to sustain the tempo of their loyalty as we brace up for the challenges of rebranding our great party.”
APC professionals call for ceasefire, support NEC meeting
In a related manner, members of the APC Professionals Forum have appealed to the party’s leaders, especially the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the party’s National Leader, Bola Tinubu, to intervene to end the crisis in the party.
The national coordinator of the forum, Akintayo Akeem, said at a press conference in Abuja on Friday that the group supported next Tuesday’s emergency NEC meeting.
The forum said it behoves the NEC to up structures that would activate all organs of the party, including the board of trustees of the party.
It further enjoined the NEC to set up structures to fill all vacant positions in the party’s National Working Committee and in every state of the federation.
It also asked NEC to strengthen the recently constituted National Reconciliation Committee to immediately begin the reconciliation of all aggrieved members of the party across the country.
Akeem said, “We support the call for the National Executive Council meeting to address all issues that are responsible for the current leadership tussle in the party and we will support and adopt all the resolutions and work with all organs of the party to ensure unity and stability.”
APC crisis: Four South-South ministers, others join forces against Oshiomhole
# National Chairman # Oshiomhole # APC crisis
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