Photo: Chief Tom Ikimi
The estranged pioneer member of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Tom Ikimi, on Wednesday attributed his grouse with the party to the tyrannical approach to leadership by some of the leaders of the APC, including Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
He said before Tinubu singlehandedly chose the former Edo State governor, John Odigie-Oyegun, he had threatened “fire and brimstone” if he did not emerge as the party’s national chairman at last Saturday’s national convention of the APC.
Ikimi said Tinubu operated caucuses whose membership varied from time to time subject to his whims and caprice.
He added that the current trends in the APC portended frightening prospects for the nation if the party wins the Presidency.
In a statement made available to The PUNCH, Ikimi, a former foreign affairs minister, said Tinubu had turned the APC into a private property and that some stalwarts of the APC were willing to accede to his whims which eventually turned the party’s Saturday convention to a “charade.”
The APC chieftain added that the party’s governors colluded with Tinubu to truncate democratic process in the national convention.
He said, “The governors and the Tinubu groups decided on a zoning process that was limited only to party offices as well as the choice of individuals to fill them. They proceeded in a manner that was neither open nor transparent. Most undemocratic and bizarre procedures then prevailed.
“The governors initiated a zoning plan that allocated the national chairman to the South-South. This proposal was reluctantly accepted by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, whose well-known preferred option had been to retain Chief Bisi Akande as the chairman forever. Nevertheless, he in the circumstance, proceeded to draw up a list of his cronies for the entire national executive all by himself. Very strange as this may sound, it was the reality. Nothing was ever referred to the National Interim Executive Council for approval or even information.”
Ikimi also lambasted Tinubu for parading himself as the national leader of the APC, saying no one gave him such a position. He added that it was unfortunate that some members of the party had tried to justify Tinubu’s unilateral appointment of Oyegun as the national chairman as a concession done to him as the national leader.
He said his problem with the ex-governor began when he opposed the Muslim-Muslim presidential and vice presidential ticket of the party.
“Asiwaju Bola Tinubu may recall that mostly for the same reasons I opposed his desire to run as vice presidential candidate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar under the Action Congress banner in 2007. We settled for Senator Ben Obi from eastern Nigeria.
“I know he nurses a grudge against me for the position I took which was strongly supported by leaders from five zones apart from the South-West. I have no regrets whatsoever for my courage to stand up against oppression or dictatorship. No matter what anyone might say against the PDP, no individual claims ownership of that party,” the statement read in parts.
When one of our correspondents contacted the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for a response to Ikimi’s statement, he said the party had no comment.
In a text message response, Mohammed said, “I have gone through his (Ikimi’s) statement and we have no comments at the moment.”
Photo: Chief Tom Ikimi