The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun might be on his way out of the party as 17 governors reportedly plot his removal.
Their anger is that Mr Oyegun has been running the party with only seven of their colleagues.
They may table their grievances at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on October 31 and pass a vote of no confidence in Oyegun. The governors are said to have informed President Muhammadu Buhari on their decision to reject Mr Oyegun’s leadership.
Part of the plot – Mr Oyegun’s supporters say – is the former governor of Edo, Adams Oshiomhole.
Oshiomhole’s loyalists had been lobbying party leaders ahead of the NEC meeting to concede the slot to the former governor should Oyegun be forced to step aside.
According to The Nation, an anonymous source said: “Ahead of the NEC meeting of APC next week, there is tension in the party. About 17 of the 24 governors are unhappy with the national chairman. They are plotting to withdraw their support for him unless he carries all of them along.”
In Oyegun’s corner are Governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi); Rochas Okorocha (Imo); Solomon Lalong (Plateau); Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Samuel Ortom (Benue).
“The 17 governors believe that Oyegun is romancing their seven colleagues because the APC National Chairman believes they are close to the President. They expressed fears that the party might split the way the National Chairman was leaving decisions on issues to the ‘anointed’ governors,” the source added.
But a member of NEC said: “What you are hearing is a game plan to pass a vote of no confidence on Oyegun at the NEC meeting.
“The issues the 17 governors are raising are part of the conspiracy against the National Chairman. And what you are likely to see is the direction where things will go at the NEC session.
“As regards Oyegun’s preference for some governors, I do not think it is true. If the chairman has a personal relationship with some governors, I think it is by virtue of their position or performance.
“For instance, the National Chairman does not hide his likeness for El-Rufai who he describes openly as ‘very energetic and full of ideas’. He is always proud of the governor of Kebbi and he relates well with Okorocha as the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF). He is also used to the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Abdul-Aziz Yari, to get an update on issues of governance.”
Another NEC source said Oyegun’s camp was already aware of “the plot”.
“In the last few days, strategists of Oshiomhole have been pushing his candidacy as successor to Oyegun ahead of the NEC meeting.
“But the pro-Oshiomhole governors will fail because by the APC constitution, only the Deputy National Chairman from the South, Chief Segun Oni, can succeed Oyegun.”
“The thinking is that Oni could resign at the NEC meeting to contest the Ekiti State governorship primaries. The APC constitution is silent on who takes over.
“So, we will be running into a deeper crisis,” the source added.