Lagos APC Chairman Faces Sack Over Oyegun, NWC Tenure Extension – Independent Newspapers Limited
Lagos – All seems not well in the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as some stakeholders in the party have commenced the process to remove Chief Henry Ajomale, the Chairman.
Ajomale was present at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the party where the tenure of the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee (NWC) was extended.
A large part of the APC in Lagos and other parts of the South-West has queued behind National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who has objected to the tenure extension.
Aggrieved sources in the party told DAILY INDEPENDENT at the weekend that they would do everything within their power to unseat Ajomale for failing to protect the interest of the state chapter of the party at the meeting where the decision of the extension was announced.
Aside from that, they have also accused the embattled chairman of betraying the cause of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who has spoken against the tenure extension.
Tinubu has remarked that tenure extension violated the constitution of the party.
He is believed to be behind a factional push to get Odigie-Oyegun out of office.
Tinubu had newly been appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to lead the reconciliation of the party members across the country when the extension decision was taken by the party’s NEC.
Tinubu had recommended that the Oyegun-led NWC be replaced by a National Caretaker Committee.
The party leader later wrote a letter which was made public in which he accused Oyegun of sabotaging his efforts to unite members of the party.
A leader of the party in Alimosho, Lagos West Senatorial District, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they had begun a process to remove Ajomale from office, adding that the process may be scuttled by his loyalists who want him to remain in office for their personal gains.
On Ajomale’s offence, he said: “It is very clear that he (Ajomale) is not serving our cause in Lagos APC.
“To us, by his action at the last NEC meeting, he has clearly shown his true colour.
“He betrayed the cause of Lagos APC and the confidence reposed in him by our esteemed leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“Though he has come out to say he was powerless as those who voted for the extension were more than those who voted against it, we believe Ajomale acted on his own as chairman of the committee of APC chairmen by supporting the extension.
“He supported it because his own interest too was involved as the state excos also benefited from the extension.
“When the idea of the extension was mooted by the state chairmen, who did Ajomale consult in Lagos APC?
“Did he consult with Governor (Akinwunmi) Ambode, the leader of the party in the state? Did he consult with our revered leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu?
“Did he consult with the three leaders of the three senatorial districts that make up the state?
“To us, he acted on his own and that is why Lagos APC as a party unanimously rejected the extension last week.”
Also speaking, a former member of the House of Representatives in the state said he was aware that there were plots to sack Ajomale from office over his role in the extension given to Oyegun.
He, however, added that Tinubu was not aware of the plot owing to the fact that he may be opposed to it.
“Yes, I know a lot of members are aggrieved over the role played by Chief Ajomale, and they have been calling on him to resign.
“They said he failed to protect Asiwaju’s interest when the decision was taken, but I don’t think Asiwaju is holding that against him because he was overwhelmed.
“Don’t forget it was a voice vote and the majority voted in support of the decision.
“If Ajomale had opposed it, it won’t amount to anything. But I don’t think the process of his removal will sail through.
“If he is still alive, he will lead the Lagos APC to the battle in 2019,” he said.
When DAILY INDEPENDENT sought the views of Joe Igbokwe, the state Publicity Secretary of the party, he claimed he was not aware of the plot to oust the chairman.
He, however, insisted that the Lagos APC was united.
While absolving Ajomale of blame, Igbokwe said though he wasn’t present at the meeting where the decision was taken, there was nothing Ajomale could have done if the issue of the tenure extension was subjected to vote and majority of the state chairmen voted in support of the move.
“I wouldn’t know. Did those calling for his removal call a press conference? I am not aware of that and I am just hearing about it now.
“Of course, Lagos APC is united. Though Ajomale is the chairman of APC chairmen and the issue came up, he may have voted against it but majority carries the vote. I was not there so I don’t know what happened.
“If at all there was at all a meeting, Ajomale was just the chairman just as Joe Igbokwe is the Chairman of Association of Publicity Secretaries.
“If he called for a meeting and an issue is raised and they put it to vote and the other side outnumbered him, there is nothing he can do.
“He cannot override the majority simply because he is the chairman,” Igbokwe said.
In an interview granted after the controversial decision was taken in Abuja, Ajomale had said he was helpless at the decision of the Forum of APC State Chairmen to support the extension of the tenure of the NWC.
Ajomale, who said he was not aware of Tinubu’s position on the party’s national chairman, added that his opposition to the proposal would not have made any difference.
“It’s not an issue of an individual. Even if you oppose it, you have 37 chairmen, and one person objecting to it doesn’t make any difference.
“And it was done at the NEC meeting, anyway; the governors and everybody were there, and I was not the one who proposed it.
“Everybody supported it, so it’s not a question of one person. How can one person have a different opinion among the majority?
“It’s democracy. Once you have majority who are stronger without you and at the NEC meeting, only four people objected, the others supported it, so I couldn’t have…. Out of about 152 people only four people objected to it, so how does that four make a difference?”
Two weeks ago, a group of aggrieved members of the Lagos State APC had launched the Broom United Movement to, among other things, protest Ajomale’s activities within the party.
Fouad Oki, the convener of the movement, said they were unhappy at the role Ajomale played in the extension of the tenure of Odigie-Oyegun’s position as national chairman of the party.