A phalanx of anti-graft operatives came under attack on Sunday night while executing a search warrant at the residence of Abdullahi Adamu, chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Peoples Gazette learnt.
The agents from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrived around 8:00 p.m. at Mr Adamu’s house on Ali Akilu Crescent, by Aso Rock Presidential Villa, and immediately met resistance from police orderlies attached to the politician, according to two sources familiar, including one of the officers involved.
A standoff immediately ensued, our sources said, after the police officers said no one would be permitted to enter the premises because it was already past 6:00 p.m. The officers insisted, despite being shown a warrant duly signed by a judge. The content of the warrant was not immediately clear, but Mr Adamu had faced corruption allegations whose probe might still be active.
“The police officers said no one can enter the house because it was already past 6:00 p.m. and already late for any search operation,” one of our sources said under anonymity to discuss the operation. “They said they won’t allow anyone inside even if they go back to bring the judge that signed the warrant.”
The officers, who sources said arrived in four trucks, spent hours trying unsuccessfully to resolve the matter. No casualties were reported during the standoff, which a source described as “physically intense.” Spokespersons for the police and the EFCC were not available for comment between the small hours of Monday and at the opening of business.
The confrontation came as pressure intensified for Mr Adamu to quit as the national chairman of the ruling party. The push hinged largely on Mr Adamu’s failure to support President Bola Tinubu during the APC’s presidential primary in June 2022. The party chairman also did not support Mr Tinubu during the presidential election, although he attended campaign rallies in what party insiders said was a face-saving measure.
Five months after the presidential election and six weeks after Mr Tinubu was sworn in as president, Mr Adamu’s continued occupation of the party’s leadership had become increasingly untenable, sources said.
“He has no business being the chairman of the party,” a source at the party’s national headquarters said. “He has shown his hand too much, and we want him to bow out now and allow the president to concentrate on important businesses of the country.”
Mr Adamu all but admitted on television last week that he had differences with the president that date back to the primaries and 2023 campaign proper, but downplayed their severity overall.
Mr Tinubu has not publicly commented on Mr Adamu’s fate, but there were indications weekend that unknown aides to the president tried to pressure Mr Adamu to step down ahead of the president’s return from an African Union summit in Nairobi.
On Sunday night, media outlets run by Mr Tinubu’s aides circulated reports that Mr Adamu had stepped down following a concerted intervention by the national security adviser Nuhu Ribadu, as well as Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo.
Two members of the party’s national working body acknowledged hearing Mr Adamu had resigned, but none was able to confirm evidence of his resignation, with one strongly condemning the chairman for not informing members of his move.
“If he had resigned as we have heard through different people, then it is good for the party,” one of the working committee members said. “But since he couldn’t respect us enough to officially brief us, we also won’t accord him any respect by calling him to confirm directly from him whether he stepped down or not.”
Mr Adamu repeatedly declined comments on the entire controversy on Sunday night, telling The Gazette he was “waiting for whatever would happen” without elaborating. A party spokesman also declined comments.
But Mr Adamu has maintained that he won’t be stepping down, sources said. The former Nasarawa governor and senator reportedly told allies that he wouldn’t be pushed around like Godwin Emefiele, the former central bank governor who was disgraced from office and handed over to the national intelligence outfit SSS.
Since Mr Adamu was elected as chairman at the national convention of the party, his removal must closely follow the party’s constitution, or it might be susceptible to successful litigation if he decides to challenge any transgressions on the part of the party. Attempts to remove him may come at the party’s national caucus gathering scheduled for this week.
Notwithstanding his fierce political gamesmanship, Mr Adamu’s exit as APC chairman appeared more likely than not to be dispositive, as party members said his open confrontation with the president has never been historically successful for any party chairman, especially during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration when several party chairmen who tried to were eased out.
“No party chairman has ever picked a battle with the president and won,” a member said under anonymity Sunday night. “Abdullahi Adamu won’t be the first — not under Bola Tinubu.”
Courtesy: Peoples Gazette