The Campaign office of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, sole candidate for national chairmanship position of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was a beehive of activities on Friday as delegates from the states who arrived Abuja for the party’s National Convention besieged his office located in Aso Drive area to felicitate with him.
The former governor of Edo State became the sole candidate after two other aspirants, Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor and Clement Ebri announced their withdrawal from the race.
Many of the delegates and supporters of Oshiomhole were seen jubilating saying they are confident that the party is in the best of hands with Oshiomhole in the saddle of leadership.
Among callers sighted yesterday were Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Abdulwaheed Omar, a former president of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
Others are Clement Ebri, Senator Abubakar Sodangi, Chief Charles Idahosa, Chief Ayiri Emami, Anselm Ojezua, Jimi Lawal and other chieftains of the party.
Speaking, Senator Sodangi said he is confident that Oshiomhole’s experience as a seasoned labour leader and two-time Governor of Edo State will come handy in repositioning the party and give all members a sense of inclusiveness.
Meanwhile, major hotels in Abuja and its metropolis were booked to full capacity as delegates converged on Abuja, the nation’s capital for the convention.
Some of the hotels also took advantage of the influx of delegates to jerk up their prices.
For example in Grand Ibro Annex Hotel in Wuse Zone 5, a standard room that goes for N15,000 was raised to N30,000 which is a hundred percent increase.
The same applies to other hotels in Abuja as delegates comb the area in search of accommodation.
Speaking with newsmen on his plans for the party, Oshiomhole said he is convinced that he has what it takes to provide leadership for the party and consolidate on the foundation laid by the party’s first chairman, Chief Bisi Akande.
“I am convinced that I have what it takes to provide leadership and build on the foundation laid by the first chairman, Chief Bisi Akande who did a marvelous job.
“So, I think for a political party that is determined to be in power, you need a solid structure to achieve it and God used Bisi Akande and other leaders such as President Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and others to achieve that.
“After which Chief John Oyegun came in to contribute his own quota to build on that foundation and four years later we had the opportunity to contest for that office believing that we can help to re-invent and refocus the party in a way that it will be a strong pillar to support governments elected on its platform at both the local, state and federal levels.
“And also help in ensuring that the definition and essence of progressive politics is one that is clear to all members and leaders of the party to form the basis of the contract to our people as entrenched in our party constitution. That to subscribe to the values of progressive politics is to commit yourself to a party that is people driven, mass oriented and committed to public welfare.
“My hope then is that my task will be to try to begin to help everyone not only to understand the essence of progressive politics, the ideology that it represents but start the process of building a party that in the very nearest future Nigerians should be able to stop the debate about whether or not there is a difference between one party and the other.
“And to be honest, it is a huge challenge to try to make the distinction, which is why people say they don’t know the difference between one party and the other. And of course the ease with which people cross carpet also raises the issue of whether really there are fundamental ideological differences.
“But why we need to deepen this and make it an issue is that if we do not do it, then Nigerian people really do not have a sustain basis to align with one political party or the other as we found elsewhere. We find that in most mature democracies, depending on your values you have had a political party which missions and vision and values coincide with yours.
“And I think the danger of not having ideological based political party is that party contestation is then driven by religion and ethnicity which is very, very dysfunctional as long as managing the affairs of a state is concerned.
“Religion is important in our lives to guide our values and create a sense of fairness, justice and above all the fear of God without which we can’t make progress. But it can become dysfunctional if conversation and friendship is driven exclusively by these ethnic and religious sentiments,” he said.