A former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, of perpetrating “injustice”, saying he would rather not hold the honorary title of “national leader” in such a party.
“I would rather not have any title yet reside in a party that honours democracy than hold a title in a party that says it honours me but that treats justice with indecency,” Mr. Tinubu said in an explosive statement on Sunday, in which he chronicled the alleged political sins of the party’s national chairman, John Oyegun.
Mr. Tinubu had been accorded the position following the critical role he played in the emergence of the APC as a major challenger to the then-ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s decades-long hold on power.
Mr. Tinubu said Mr. Oyegun favoured a candidate in the APC gubernatorial primaries in Ondo State and forced his choice through using a sleight of hand.
“A conspiracy to steal the Ondo primary had been uncovered. Fortunately, the grand deception afoot had been unable to cover its tracks fast enough. Truth began to cry for justice,” he said.
“Several candidates filed petitions contesting the result. The party established an investigative board to review the evidence. In a two to one decision, the panel found the delegate roster had suffered tampering. The panel recommended that a new primary should be held using the valid delegate list. This recommendation was tabled before the National Working Committee (NWC).
“After many hours of deliberations spanning several days, a final vote was held by the NWC. Beforehand, NWC members agreed that the decision of the majority would become the stance of the party. Such is the way of democracy. The NWC voted six against five to cancel the fraudulent results and hold an honest primary. For a moment, it seemed the party would restore its integrity by giving democracy a chance. However, those who sought to scam an entire state would not let the vote of 11 people spoil their enterprise.
“After the NWC vote, a noticeably agitated Chairman Oyegun proposed the NWC engage in prayer before concluding the meeting. Adhering to this chairman’s request, NWC members began to pray. Seeing that the others had taken his bait, Oyegun used the prayerful interlude to secretly excuse himself from the meeting. Contravening the NWC decision and in violation of all rules of fundamental decency, Oyegun decided to safeguard the fraud done in Ondo by perpetrating a greater fraud. Oyegun arrogated to himself the right to submit the name of Rotimi Akeredolu to INEC as the candidate of the party,” Mr. Tinubu said.
Mr. Tinubu said this had shown that there was an evil and regressive force within the APC using Mr. Oyegun to derail the party’s democratic and progressive tenets.
He said he deliberately excused himself from occupying official positions within the APC in order to avoid being accused of meddlesomeness as part of his relentless sacrifices, but even this had been taken for granted by those in his ranks.
“Tinubu has consciously refused to hold any official position with the party to avoid the perception that he was trying to control all and sundry. Tinubu has even kept his peace for some time despite many things that happened within the party that were not quite right. He exercised this forbearance because the party is young. A collective endeavour cannot avoid the mistakes and errors of organizational newness and evolution.
“Yet, the wrongs Oyegun committed had nothing to do with newness or the mistakes occasioned by the path of reform. His actions are in the nature of the old wrongs that have afflicted our national politics much too long. If Oyegun wants to walk backward into the past, he has every right to it. However, he has no right to drag the party or any of us with him. Against our choosing.”
Mr. Tinubu said he was dissociating himself from the honorary title which the party’s top echelon had accorded him since APC was formed in 2013.
“The informal title of national leader of the party was given to Tinubu at the onset which he accepted it as a sign from those who wished to recognize my contributions to the party’s formation. It is an honorific title which he has been proud to wear until today,” Mr. Tinubu said. “I would rather not have any title yet reside in a party that honours democracy than hold a title in a party that says it honours me but that treats justice with indecency. I find greater honour and comfort where democracy and fairness are found and respected.”