The Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Osita Okechukwu, has said that the national chairman o
The Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Osita Okechukwu, has said that the national chairman of the ruling party, APC, is doing everything possible to escape the web of EFCC. In an interview with Punch, Osita Okechukwu spoke against the backdrop of his suspension by the party’s National Working Committee.
Here are excerpts of Osita Okechukwu’s interview below
Were you guilty of anti-party activities as alleged by your party’s National Working Committee?
Up to date, the purported suspension has not been communicated to me in writing or orally. The much I heard was from radio, television and newspaper advertisement. I had even made inquiries at the national secretariat of our party; I also perused the register and found out that no letter was sent to me.
Why do you think you were suspended?
I don’t know, to be honest. The much I know is that as a member of the merger committee of our great party, the APC, in 2013, I had remained steadfast and resilient in the pursuit of the goals of the party and our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari.
You have been insisting that you did not do anything to warrant a suspension, but you have been criticising the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole. Do you think it’s fair to be criticising the chairman of your party openly?
I think it is personal. He is Mr-Know-It-All and very intolerant of any contrary viewpoint. I still maintain that he mangled our party’s primaries recklessly. He dashed the hopes of our candidates in Rivers State and in many other constituencies. Otherwise, we were friends during the fuel price hike crisis during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s era. He was President of Nigeria Labour Congress and I was the National Publicity Secretary of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, and I represented the association in the fuel price hike talks. I suspect Comrade Chairman, Oshiomhole, wants to sideline me with the suspension. He wants to blackmail me and make me inconsequential when the time comes for ministerial appointments. You would recall that the spokesman for Mr President, Femi Adesina, hinted of possible cabinet reshuffle. I find solace in the fact that he (Oshiomhole) is not God.
What steps are you ready to take to overturn the suspension?
The truth is that in the eyes of the law and the Constitution of the APC, I am not on suspension. Impunity cannot triumph over the rule of law, never.
Even beyond your membership of the APC, you are believed to be a close associate of President Muhammadu Buhari. Have you reached out to the President to intervene?
It will be a distraction to bother Mr President, so I didn’t reach out to him. We are busy celebrating his much deserved victory and thanking God for saving Nigeria from uncertainty. If President Buhari is not made of sterner stuff, he could have been bruised by Oshiomhole’s shenanigans – a chairman whose legacy is scatter, scatter and confusion. For example, few days after Mr President admonished us his supporters not to gloat or humiliate his opponents, Comrade utterly discarded the admonition and heaped insults on His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar. He became a destiny reader and prophet against old African tradition, which says that you don’t go with pepper where peace is being packaged.
Do you think your insistence on the 2023 Igbo Presidency project has anything to do with your travails in the APC?
Yes! Understand that Comrade Oshiomhole is surreptitiously rooting for 2023 for himself and wants to do everything to sideline those from the South-East. Comrade Oshiomhole is aware that the South-East is the only geopolitical zone in the southern belt that has not presided over Nigeria since the advent of zoning of the Presidency between the North and the South in 1999. This was revealed by a close aide, in a discussion. When we thought he (Oshiomhole) was rooting for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the friend said no, that he might be using our national leader, Asiwaju, as a smokescreen. But I wondered how Oshiomhole would wriggle out of the EFCC’s web, given the obscene nature of his wealth. How will he explain that (wealth) to commensurate with his legitimate earnings?