State chairmen of the All Progressives Congress are threatening a showdown with the national leadership of the party over recent appointments at the federal and state levels.
The PUNCH learnt on Monday that the state chairmen were becoming frustrated over the failure of the leadership of the party to reward loyal party members with appointments.
The chairmen expressed their grievances as the governors elected on the platform of the party on Monday warned that the internal crisis in the APC could destroy the party and the political process.
The renewed agitation of the chairmen followed the expiration of a 10-day ultimatum issued to the National Working Committee of the party under the leadership of the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
Recall that the Forum of APC State Chairmen had on September 23 issued an ultimatum to the NWC to address their perceived concerns.
Among their concerns are failure to secure appointments for party loyalists and fill vacant leadership seats in the party.
The position of the National Secretary had become vacant following the swearing-in of the last occupant, Mai Mala Buni, as Governor of Yobe State.
Also, the Deputy National Chairman (South), Otunba Niyi Adebayo, was recently appointed as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.
Their chairmen alleged that they were being treated as outsiders in the party they toiled day and night to secure victories for in the last general elections while those who worked against the party were being rewarded.
Prominent among state where core party members were neglected included Ogun State, where two loyalists of ex-governor Ibukunle Amosun, clinched federal appointments. During the 2019 elections, Amosun supported the Allied Peoples Movement governorship candidate, Mr Adekunle Akinlade.
The ultimatum has expired without the chairmen getting any concrete response from the party national leadership.
One of the state chairmen, who spoke with one of our correspondents in confidence said the state chairmen were angry because their concerns had not been addressed despite the letter to the national leadership.
He said, “It is unfortunate our efforts are not being recognised by the party we have all laboured for while those that did nothing were getting rewarded because of their closeness to some powerful forces in government.
“There is a limit to everything because we are fast losing grip of our members at states who feel the party is not carrying them along.”
Another state chairman from the North said, “The situation is getting critical and our members are becoming disenchanted and losing faith in us for something that it is not our fault. We don’t know what to tell them again because it is getting to a stage they can no longer understand the direction of the party.”
However, the Secretary of the forum, Dr Ben Nwoye, told The PUNCH that they were not relenting in their efforts as there was no going back on their demands.
He said, “There is no response yet, but when it is time you will hear from us. You will hear from the party faithful; those who believe they worked hard for the party and have been left behind and out of the system while those who worked against the government and the party have been rewarded.
“You will hear from those who participated in putting the government in place in various states and have been abandoned.”
Nwoye, who is the Enugu State APC chairman, said the state chairmen would meet in the next few days to review the development.
“Discussions are going on. We are planning and we are organising ourselves. Whatever that will be done will be a collective decision of all of us and it will be made public; it won’t be in isolation,” he said
Speaking on their grievances, Nwoye said, “The chairmen are speaking the minds of the people, those who sacrificed, worked hard and promoted the cause of the party but have been left behind.
“We are speaking the minds of the contestants who have promoted the image of the party and have been neglected. The minds of the people who nurtured the party in the non-APC states but have been left behind while the PDP people are rewarded.”
Efforts to reach the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, proved abortive as he did not answer calls placed to him.
He had also yet to reply to a text message sent to him on what the APC had done to address the issues raised by the forum of state chairmen in their letter to the NWC as of 7:53 pm.