There is every indication that the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Mr Timi Frank is living by his name based on his courageous and unambiguous stand against what he calls leadership failure on the part of his party during the recent NASS election. Since then, he has been calling for the sacking of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party and in particular the party National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, for the legislature election fiasco.
For Frank, the pre- NASS mock election for federal lawmakers of the party and the bungling of the real election of the principal officers on the floor of the assembly has exposed the incompetence and diligence of the party leadership.
The Bayelsa born politician has urged the party to stop whining over the outcome of the National Assembly leadership election, face reality and move on. Leadership Failure Maintaining a non-partisan stand over the matter, Frank also noted that since the leadership elections in the National Assembly, there have been claims and counterclaims, which he said, would exacerbate the crisis. His words “ I have said at numerous occasions and instances, the failure of the leadership of the party to do the right thing was due to its vested interest in who emerged as leaders of the National Assembly. “The leadership of the APC and indeed party stalwarts must come to terms with this painful truth and begin to devise means of totally re-uniting the party. “Attempts to continue pulling the wool over the eyes of Nigerians will do the party no good. Enough of the cry over this, now obvious split milk. It is time to unite as a party, make genuine reconciliation and move forward. “Some members of the party have even blamed Senator Saraki for the emergence of Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party as the deputy Senatepresident.”
According to him, while he was not holding brief for Saraki and Dogara, it would be best for Nigeria for the party to speak the truth and set the records straight. He also said, “While the leadership of the party had excess of over two months to harmonise all interests and positions for the National Assembly leadership, it allowed vested interest, acrimony and bitter politicking to thrive, so much so that it embarrassingly allowed the squabble to play right into very day of inauguration where the party got its first shock since taking over the reins of governance of our great country.” Frank noted that the party would have lost the Senate Presidency on that day if Saraki and his other APC colleagues were not in the Senate chambers on that day. He argued that the PDP would have clearly and resoundingly won and claimed the Senate President’s seat. This, he argued, would have been so because 49 out of 59 senators present during the plenary session where the leadership of the Senate was elected were PDP members. “Senator Bukola Saraki should not be blamed for the travails of the APC as he saved the party on that fateful day. He indeed deserves commendation and not condemnation,” he said. National Party Leader The failure to recognize President Muhammadu Buhari as the leader of the APC, by the National Chairman of the Party, Chief John Oyegun and the National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed has set the duo and National Working Committee, NWC, of the Party on the path of war.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Mr. Frank recently dared Lai Mohammed to tell the world who the leader of the party was while calling for the immediate resignation of Chief John Odigie Oyegun. Lai Mohammed had stated that President Buhari was a product of the party and not the party’s leader. He stated this during an interview session with Channels Television while addressing the crisis rocking APC as a result of the race for Leadership in the 8th National Assembly. In reaction, Frank said; “Let’s go back and ask Lai Mohammed who the leader of the party is, if he does not recognise the President as the leader. His words ‘’In my own view, If Lai Mohammed that is my direct boss could come up to tell Nigerians that the President is only a product of the party and not the national leader of the party, then he should have been able to tell us who the leader of the party is.’’ He further added; “We have seen that even in then PDP, former President Goodluck Jonathan was the leader of the party.
“If in our own case the President cannot be the leader of the party, he should tell us who the leader is then,” Frank noted. Outcome of NASS election On the outcome of the June 9 National Assembly election, that saw to the dramatic emergence of Senator Saraki as Senate President and Hon Dogara as Speaker House of Representatives as against the party choice of Senator Ahmed Lawan and Hon Femi Gbajabimilla. Frank stated that the chairman and leadership of the party ought to resign for throwing the party into internal crisis with the conduct of an embarrassing mock election.
“If my party could not keep to the promise of change, then we must correct them to keep to that. I have no fear or favour than to say that the current leadership of the party has practically failed. “With this incident alone, the chairman should resign from his position after taking a position against the people and the people’s position has finally come to stay. “In the Western world, by today the party’s national chairman would have resigned honorably. “Not just the national chairman but the entire leadership that took this decision of conducting mock election against the outcry of the larger members of the party. “Against the bigger picture of Nigerians, a hand-full of the party leadership came to take a decision, and by today the people have shown that the voice of the people is the voice of God,” Frank stated.
However according to a source, Frank is known as an associate of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and his demand may fit in with allegations that Atiku was a strong backer of Senator Saraki’s defiance of the party resolution pushed by national party leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. “You could see the way the party including the national chairman was speaking before the NASS leadership elections. It showed clearly that the chairman had totally taken side which wasn’t meant to be. I understand, he took some of those decisions based on pressure. In this century, APC as a party does not need a chairman that will be under pressure. “ And the party’s national chairman caused it because times out of numbers some of leaders told him to come up with a zoning formula from the beginning.
He was asked to take a decision and let people follow that but he didn’t do that. “They were playing hide and seek with the issue until the last minute when they saw the danger, and they wanted to play hanky-panky, which led us to lose one position at the Senate.” Support for D/S President, Ekweremadu “Those that are calling for the deputy senate president to resign are anti-people, and I will campaign against it. I will continue to support Burkola and Ekweremadu and every progressive Nigerian should support this mission as it will take Nigeria to the next phase because failure to do this will disrupt democracy,” Frank said.
Meanwhile a pressure group operating under the aegis of Fresh Hope for Nigeria (FHN) has come down hard on the Deputy National Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for condemning the reconciliatory position adopted by the party on the recent elections at the National Assembly, calling for strong sanctions against him. They believed Timi’s condemnation of APC posture smacks of a man who was not in tune with the political wave of the party, but remained absent minded even though he occupied such a sensitive position. The group equally believed that Mr. Timi could not have ordinarily come out bold to do such thing were it not that he has allowed himself to be used by some interests within and outside the party. A statement issued recently in Abuja by the national coordinator of the group, Comrade Tamuno Banigo, stated that Timi “outrightly acted in error to have attacked the leadership of his party publicly on the pages of the newspapers. “He has even gone ahead to called himself a member of the National Working Committee (NWC), this is a lie, Frank should not continue to confuse the members of the public. He is not known as a member of NWC”.
While reacting to some of the issues raised in the report, the group explained that “the policy of the party was that they wanted to present one candidate for the National Assembly leadership election and to provide a platform to achieve that, and that was what has been guiding the party in all the primaries that have been organised on the basis of providing a level play ground for all the members of the party”. According to Banigo, “Nobody is allowed to dictate for the party on how that should be done and it was wrong for Timi to think that he enjoys such a privilege. Speaking on the mock elections conducted before the inauguration of the NASS, the FHN boss explained what the party did was to provide platform for all its members at the National Assembly to freely choose preferred candidates for all the positions.
“This is what the party feels it owe its members and we will continue to do that.” On whether party intervention was late in coming, he maintained that it was a matter of individual opinion, adding that as far as the party was concerned, the steps taken were in the right direction at the right time. On the issue that the national chairman of the party was under pressure, Banigo revealed that “the chairman of a big party like APC was always under pressure from the all interest groups but his job is to manage such pressure and be able to come up with what is in the best interest of the party.
“Different people want different things but the job of the chairman is to moderate all these contending interests so as to get what is the best for the party”. For now the party, perhaps fearing that taking Frank on his statements may further polarize the party are bidding their time to strike. But Frank is unfazed and continues on this part of enthroning sanity in his party, APC. Chairman, Oyegun’s reply Oyegun has only managed a tepid reply, for now. He said: “It is neither here nor there. That’s his opinion and views. And I suppose he’s entitled to them. But I read the statement. He’s not a member of the National Working Committee (NWC). He’s a member of NEC alright. But not of the National Working Committee. So, it is neither here not there. “When things happen, people look for scapegoats and it is a pity that he told the press instead of coming to say, look, chairman, what happened? How did things go the way they did? He might have just benefited from the education.”