27 September 2016
National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, will not respond to allegations of anti-party activities levelled against him by the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at least for now.
Reason? He has a more burning issue in the Wednesday, July 28, 2016 governorship election in his home Edo State to contend with.
He says he will not fully respond to the allegations until after the governorship election in Edo State is over, even as he explained that most of the things said against him were not true.
There are strong indications also that Odigie-Oyegun intends to consult with President Muhammadu Buhari before responding and making up his mind on his next line ofaction within the party.
“Asiwaju is a well-respected leader of our party so, I cannot be seen speaking evil against him.
“I have to consult properly with other leaders of the party before we make any definite statement. Again, you know we have a crucial election here in Edo which is my priority right now.
“We don’t want to lose focus and I know Asiwaju also wants us to win because we all have worked hard for this. So, maybe after the election, if there is need, I will speak; if (there is) no need, I will relax.
“But, all I can say now is that most of the things said in the papers about me are not true. I have always believed in internal democracy, that the credibility of primaries must be taken seriously.
“I believe that if primaries of parties are not credible, it may derail any democracy so, I don’t play with these things at all. Everybody knows me, and I don’t joke with my credibility and I have tried to maintain it.
“Like I said, Asiwaju is our leader and we all hold him in high esteem, so, I will never join issues with him.
“But may be after Edo elections, after we must have emerged victorious, we may speak on some of the issues raised. So, there is no problem at all. Edo is the focus for now and as you know this is my state so it is a very serious election for us.
“So, I want to be allowed to remain focus then after the election, we can speak”, he said.
The party’s National Leader, Bola Tinubu, had Odigie-Oyegun, to resign on Sunday over alleged anti-party activities.
Tinubu specifically accused Odigie-Oyegun of malfeasance in the handling of the party’s governorship primary held in Ondo State in early September.
His media office said in a statement titled: “Oyegun’s Ondo fraud: The violation of democracy in the APC”, that the party chairman’s role in the exercise was at variance with the party’s ideals.
“Odigie-Oyegun’s comportment regarding the Ondo State primary will become the textbook definition of political treachery and malfeasance of the basest order.
“In early September, the Ondo State primary was held. A purported winner was named. Having faith in the ways of the party, Tinubu publicly accepted what he assumed to be a verdict honestly derived.
The primary election produced Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as the party’s candidate.
“As a democrat, one must face the possibility of defeat and accept such an outcome with as much grace as one would embrace victory.
The APC leader said one of the few bright spots during the conduct of the primary was the Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, whom, he said, chaired the primary convention with decorum and impartiality.
He noted that Abubakar was unaware that a tampered list had been slipped into the process.
“Indeed within hours of the announcement, news began to filter in that gravely disturbed me. Credible allegations of fraud troubled the waters.
“The delegates list had been materially altered by someone in a strategic position to do so. The names of over 150 valid delegates were excised to make room for an equal number of impostors.
“This was not a clerical error. The alteration was wilfully executed that the primary would be directed toward a chosen end that bore nothing in common with the will of most state party members. A cunning few had tried to deceive many into believing they were outnumbered.”
The APC national leader narrated details of what transpired behind closed doors during the National Working Committee meeting, held to deliberate on the report of the appeal panel saddled with the responsibility of handling the appeals.
He accused Odigie-Oyegun of upturning the decision of the majority who voted in favour of the cancellation of the primary and the conduct of a fresh one.
“He has shown that he and democratic fair play cannot exist in the same party at the same time.
“If Tinubu is to choose between John Odigie-Oyegun and progress toward a better Nigeria, the choice has already been made.
“The party was supposed to buttress the APC members elected to government at all levels. Because of Odigie-Oyegun’s conduct of our affairs, the party is rapidly becoming an albatross to those it is meant to help.”
He said the APC was a party borne out of the quest for democratic good governance, arguing that the ideology was currently under a critical threat by those who managed to be in the party but were never part of it.
He added that since the party’s inception, the principles of democratic fairness and justice were to guide the APC’s internal deliberations.
“For those who care about the party, who care about Nigeria and its chance for a better tomorrow, now is the time to stand against this brewing evil before it grows to encompass all we have built and all we hold dear.”
“Evidently, some errant members believe that promises and vows are mere words to be easily spoken and more easily broken. Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun has breached these good pledges in a most overt and brazen display.
“In doing so, Odigie-Oyegun has dealt a heavy blow to the very party he professes to lead. It is an awful parent who suffocates his own child for the sake of a few naira.
Tinubu stressed that the party’s founders realised that it was only by fair dealing that the party could remain faithful to the progressive ideals that were presented to the Nigerian electorate as governing creed.
“If the party cannot justly govern itself, it will find it difficult to establish and maintain just government throughout the nation,” he stressed.
Tinubu said APC’s democratic credentials had been dealt a big blow by Odigie-Oyegun’s conduct, especially with his handling of the outcome of the Ondo State governorship primary.
He argued that before Odigie-Oyegun’s alleged anti-party activities, the party was the embodiment of a democratic promise made between its members as well as a democratic vow made to the public.