• Says if Buhari condones indiscipline in his office, he won’t tolerate it •Adds: ‘party won’t compromise values to retain R-APC members’
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on Monday threatened to sack the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige and Minister of State (Aviation), Hadi Sirika, if they refuse to heed his instruction.
The new APC leader, who had last week handed a seven-day ultimatum to the two ministers to constitute boards of various agencies and parastatals under their ministries or face suspension, told journalists in the State House that if they fail to heed the instruction, he would not only throw them out of the party but also ensure that “rebels” of their kind are kicked out of the cabinet.
Claiming that the era of indiscipline in the party was over, Oshiomhole who accused the ministers of mischief, said his administration would not condone any “dishonourable” acts from ministers, insisting that if the president condones indiscipline from the ministers in his own office, he will teach them a different lesson from his own (Oshiomhole) office.
Oshiomhole said when he expels the ministers from the party, he would also prevail on the president to do away with persons who had ignored his (president) directives to inaugurate board of parastatals, emphasising that nobody is greater than the party.
Further threatening that ministers have no option than to be submissive to party leadership and obey instructions from the party hierarchy, Oshiomhole said it is either they comply with party directives or exit both the party and its government.
According to him, failure to constitute boards of parastatals and appropriating to themselves the powers of such boards in a democracy is a clear abuse of office, which he said would not be tolerated.
“If the minister refuses, we will suspend him from the party. You know we must return to internal discipline. For me, it is the height of mischief for any minister.
“You cannot purport to be honourable minister and you act dishonourably and nobody is greater than the party, and if the president condones disrespect for his office, I will not condone disrespect for the party. And when we expel the minister, we will prevail on the president that he can’t keep in his cabinet people who have neither respect for his own decisions nor have respect for the party without which they would not have been ministers.
“There are no independent candidates in our system. Nobody, I emphasise, no minister is above the party and they have taken undue advantage of the president’s fatherly disposition.
“Now, it is the same green pen that made them ministers that appointed these boards that they are refusing to swear in. And it is absolutely legal for a minister in a democracy to usurp the powers of the board because the laws establishing those institutions are clear, that the boards have procedures to follow.
“So, when a minister sits in his office to appropriate the powers of the board in a democracy, not in a dictatorship, ward contract that didn’t go though boards, those are clearing abuse of office for which they are liable.
“I am convinced that what they are doing is not with the endorsement of Mr. President. Over the period, they have tried to drop the president’s name but I tell them, it is the same authority that appointed these people. So, we are informing them that it is either they comply to the president’s instructions or they comply with the party’s position or they go and administer outside the government.
“We have respect for ministers but only to the extent that they recognise that they are a product of a political party and we are not negotiating that. If they had done that in the past under our leadership, we will not tolerate it. They either comply or we will expel them from the party. When we expel them, we will find out how a government can keep a rebel in the cabinet. There is no question about that,” Oshiomhole threatened.
On the threat posed by R-APC to the party, Oshiomhole said he was not losing any sleep over such threat, arguing that no man of honour who had left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) can opt to returning to the party again.
According to Oshiomhole, the party will only listen to those who have genuine complaints in the group, but won’t spare any time for those he described as “permanent mercenaries and are in this business for personal issues.”
He insisted that the party would not compromise the party’s values in a bid to accommodate anyone and emphasised that those who left the PDP and seeking to return are not better than those who vomited in the morning and convert their vomit to lunch in the afternoon.
He said: “No, I am not losing sleep. I am sleeping very well. I still maintain that I don’t see any man of honour, who with his eyes open left PDP on account of their gross mismanagement, abuse of the treasury and all of the crime that the PDP committed. I don’t see them, whatever their irritations, which cannot be a justification to return to a house that all we need to do is to play back their own tape about what PDP represents and why they left.
“I still hold the view that you can’t vomit in the morning and covert it to lunch in the afternoon if you have honour. And that position still remains the same. Number two is that yes, I have made this point clear that we can distinguish the mercenaries from those who genuinely have complaints. Our business as party leaders is to try and manage, listen and find solutions to those who have verifiable complaints.
“But those who are permanent mercenaries and are in this business for personal issues, there is nothing much we can do about that and we are not going to change the core values of the party in order to retain them.
“So, let me reinstate that we remain committed and I have said so from the word go in my acceptance speech when I was elected, that we acknowledge the fact that there are people with genuine complaints, for such people, we are ready to listen. We are ready to act on the basis of justice, fairness, no arrogance and inclusion. I remain committed to those.
“However, on principle, I do not deal with political mercenaries. That remains my position. I will not miss my sleep because a lot of these guys cannot on a good day, deliver their unit. And we have the records that tell us who won elections where. And I am a tested fighter.
“I fought them from Edo from zero to zero and I overcame their most powerful godfathers. So, I know what I am talking about. I speak from experience and I will talk, negotiate and persuade but there are core principles that are not negotiable,” he restated.