Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says those plotting to oust Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the ruling party, have been infected with “2023 virus”.
In a statement he personally signed on Sunday, the APC leader said the ideas of such persons should be quarantined.
“While Corona has been presently contained in Nigeria, we must be alert to another sickness that seems rampant within a certain segment of society. That sickness is old Ambition-virus 2023. This illness afflicts many in the political class along with their allies in the media,” he said.
The crisis rocking the ruling party reached its height last week when a federal capital territory court upheld the suspension of Oshiomhole by a faction of the APC in Edo.
Subsequently, the police took over the party’s secretariat and Oshiomhole’s pictures and billboards were yanked off while a national executive committee meeting was fixed for this week.
But Tinubu described the NEC meeting as illegal, saying the persons seeking to remove Oshiomhole are distracting President Muhammadu Buhari.
“In a broader context, those afflicted with the 2023 virus do a grave disservice to President Buhari and his administration. They should be trying their best to help the president. Instead of seeing President Buhari as our present leader and commander-in-chief, their sole contemplation is upon his eventual exit,” he said.
“Yet, not even a full year has passed since his second inaugural. How can they be committed to helping him realise his mandate when the fullness of their gaze is affixed to seizing this very mandate for themselves?”
Tinubu, who said Oshiomhole has worked tirelessly for the APC, added: “The plotters launched their attack solely because they perceive the chairman as an obstacle to their 2023 ambitions. People went to court knowing full well the party constitution prohibits such action because these people had not yet exhausted all internal disciplinary procedures.
“We even had a national deputy secretary improperly call for a NEC meeting on the basis that he believed himself the acting national chairman. Clearly, this man would not have summoned the temerity to make such a move had he not been instigated by powerful individuals who he thought would reward or, at least, protect him for committing the wrongful act.
“Those engaged in these manoeuvres see themselves as clever or cunning. They do so because they only understand the mean craft of political intrigue. They have yet to understand the value and long-term utility of democratic governance. Thus, they embark on the strangest of quest. They would rather dismantle and weaken the institutional core of their party just to gain control of that weakened edifice in order to pilfer the party nomination, which they crave. This is more than sad.
“Many of us expended sweat, tears, toil and sleepless nights to build this party. Our personal sacrifices were not insignificant. We built this party not simply as a vehicle for personal ambition. We built the party because we saw it as perhaps the only enduring hope to bring progressive governance to this nation. Those who now seek to abuse the party by using it as their personal device do it great harm.
“They should not be allowed to sacrifice this collective enterprise at the altar of their self-aggrandizement. Somehow, some way they should find in themselves the bearing to adhere to the democratic spirit on which the party was founded. To be an APC member means more than merely carrying a membership card. It means to believe in a set of ideals and principles geared to our highest purpose as a party and a nation.”