Tinubu Replies Ikimi

In African

Regarding Ikimi’s bid for chairmanship of the party, it was clear to everyone, who had the interest of the party at heart, that we simply could not have a man of  Ikimi’s antecedents as chairman of the party.

“As chairman of the NRC, one of the only two political parties in the country under the military transition programme, Ikimi not only connived with the then military regime to annul the elections,  he also terminated the democratic process and sold off his party.

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“He became Abacha’s foreign minister, convincing the world that heinous state murders, like the hanging of Ken Saro Wiwa, were just acts.

“If Ikimi was the chairman of  the APC, the  party would have to sleep with both eyes open, lest its chairman sell off the party before daybreak. No matter what anyone may say about me, it is unlikely I can be accused of supporting incompetent or morally light-weight individuals for important political positions.

“My philosophy is to put the best forward; men and women of competence and integrity, who can stand up to us politicians to challenge us and say no when necessary. Such people are not noisy or able to gain attention by being loud. I believe my role is to do all I can to project them.

“Who, in their right mind would compare the highly-principled Chief Bisi Akande or Chief John Odigie-Oyegun with a Ikimi? Either of these two men are known for their no-nonsense styles. Not once in their careers would you hear that they betrayed a cause or were anybody’s stooge.

“Ikimi also concorts a story of a meeting he claims I had with Deziani on the Oando/ ConocoPhillips transaction on the eve of the APC convention.

“Only a Tom Ikimi can come up with the absurd falsehood that on the eve of the APC convention when I was in crucial meetings, practically round the clock I was meeting with the Minister for Petroleum.

“What exactly would have been the point of such a meeting, especially on the eve of the convention? Was it to prevent  Ikimi from emerging as chairman of the APC? To what end? Of what value would it be to anyone except Ikimi himself? Besides, if this was so, why he is back to the same party that purportedly planned his downfall?

“Regarding the nonsense about selling out on Ribadu, I think common sense should dictate that if ever such a deal was reached, we would have had to inform our members in all the states. How could that have been done secretly? How do you tell hundreds of thousands of people not to vote for your own party without it becoming public knowledge?

“At the formation of the APC, a crucial debate ensued about what to do about persons like Ikimi, who had done awful things in the past, but who were now minded to align with the progressive tendency in Nigerian politics. Should we forever blacklist them?

“This would have been the easiest route, but it would have kept rancour alive. It would have made us slaves to the bleakest chapters of our past. Instead, we opted to extend the hand of brotherhood, reconcile and put the past behind us, as this would enable a broader political consensus, while also giving the like of Ikimi an opportunity to atone for grievous wrongs against the people and be rehabilitated.

“We recognised that many leading Nigerians had committed acts of shame. Some for private profit, others who were otherwise decent people, who had become prisoners to a terrible system.

Not surprisingly, Ikimi was never sincerely committed to the party. He was always playing out a PDP script.

“He only wanted the chairmanship of the party as a bargaining chip for negotiations with his benefactors.  “His defection purportedly on account of the loss of the chairmanship of the party is a mere subterfuge; once his ploy failed, he had no other objective within the party, I knew he would go back to his sponsors. He is back in the company he deserves. And APC is better for it.”

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