Adams Oshiomhole, former governor of Edo, says the five governors at the centre of the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be an advantage for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 elections.
Dubbed as G5, the five governors — Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Samuel Ortom of Benue, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu — are among the stakeholders calling for the resignation of Iyorchia Ayu as the party’s chairman.
The call is said to be on the grounds that the party’s presidential candidate and national chairman cannot be from the same region.
Speaking on Friday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Oshiomhole, former APC national chairman, said his party is on course to win in the forthcoming elections.
He criticised Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, for not supporting a southern candidate, as well as the latter’s recent comments on the preference for a northern candidate.
“You now have the G-5 governors who said the understanding we reached in Asaba, voluntarily, both by PDP and APC governors, they stand by that agreement,” he said.
“[They said] that leaders must have character, and that if you are not yet president and you are not obeying agreement, and Nigerians are talking of national unity, you disobeyed the provision of your party constitution, which talks about rotation in order to service that unity, and you can go to some parts of the country and say ‘don’t vote for Igbo, don’t vote for Yoruba’.
“Those are very damaging statements. It would have been better if you said ‘don’t vote for this person, Obi; don’t vote for Tinubu’. That is fine. You talk to their persons. But when you talk about race — don’t vote for Igbo man — so, if he’s Igbo, no matter how good, he’s a bad man in his eyes; if he’s Yoruba, no matter how good, he’s a bad man in his eyes — at a time when we need national unity.
“If you ask me how we are doing, we are doing very well. Whereas the other is now battling with five governors that backed out and you find out how many governors they have, we have 23.
“Now, if you add 23 to five — I’m not saying the five are with us, but we have 23 with five — I guess that’s 28. If you subtract 28 from 36, it means only eight governors, in fact, seven, because the other one in APGA is not there.
“So, while he has seven governors working for him, we have 23 working for us and we have five who are neutral. You know when you are voting, when I was in ILO, you vote for, against, or abstain. Abstinence is as good as voting against.
“So, however you look at it, our campaign is going smoothly and the message is very clear. It’s very clear, it cannot be better. You saw us yesterday in Owerri. For me, that was perhaps one of the best outings we’ve had.
“You listened to our candidate. You listened to those who spoke in Owerri. Some of them offered to contribute towards the campaign because their concerns have been addressed by the APC candidate.
“Election is about interest — whoever will address your interests — not religious sentiment, not ethnic sentiment, because hunger doesn’t they have a religious affiliation. Unemployment, does it have a religious affiliation? Whoever will address your concerns, if you are a trader, whoever would make sure that the port’s work more efficiently, that is the kind of person you want.
“Government is about providing those assets. We must talk about enabling the environment and our candidate has laid out how he will do it.”