Regardless of the calls for his resignation, the camp of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has continued to receive vote of confidence from party supporters including the South-west leaders of the party, reports Peterclaver Egbochue
Some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the South-west have dismissed the allegation of corruption leveled against Chief John odigie-Oyegun, insisting that he has been running the party with high sense of transparency, honesty and fairness. “He is honest and has strong moral principles” the leaders said after an emergency stakeholders meeting in Lagos.
In a statement issued by the Chairman, APC Harmony Group, Alhaji Tajudeen Balogun in Lagos, the leaders said detractors were bent on creating crisis in the party, saying “for some people to say that the chairman should resign is to say the least unbelievable and uncalled for”.
The leaders described the call for his resignation as the handiwork of agents of destabilisation and advised them to define the objectives and strategies of their political struggle more clearly than degenerating to abuses, lies and wide allegations. They advised those flexing muscles to bury the hatchets in the interest of the party, absorb Oyegun’s culture of thinking and his approach to finding solutions to problems.
The leaders, who also commended the chairman for maintaining a sound administrative infrastructure appealed for an unflinching support and co-operation for him. “Nigeria needs peace, unity and without them, the nation cannot make meaningful progress. We must therefore encourage President Muhammadu Buhari and Chief Odigie-Oyegun to unite all, win Bayelsa and Kogi states for APC and move the country forward. APC needs Oyegun more than he needs the APC. Oyegun wants to make APC stable. He spent an enormous amount of time and effort to make sure that APC won the 2015 elections. He is a master at using resources, including human resources, to accomplish goals.
He has the ability to explain the need and how the goal could be accomplished. He is moving with great zeal and vigour to make the difference” they added. On his part, former Minister of Information and Chieftain of the party, Prince Tony Momoh, has stated that removing Chief Oyegun, from office would not solve the crisis in the party. It will be recalled that some governors elected on the party’s platform had visited Oyegun after their meeting with President Buhari two weeks ago where they asked him to honourably resign from office.
Party sources revealed that the governors were not happy with Oyegun’s poor handling of the crisis bedeviling APC on the heels of the recent National Assembly elections that enthroned Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives respectively. In a chat with newsmen recently, Prince Momoh said Oyegun has been fair to all concerned in the party given the fact the two warring factions have been accusing him of taking sides on the same issue.
While arguing that those calling for the resignation have rights to express their opinion, he called on all those nursing the idea to embrace the conflict resolution mechanism of the party to resolve all issues so that the party could support the new government it has formed to deliver on its mandated to Nigerian people. His words, “The governors are expressing their opinion on the matter which is an internal affair of the party.
The governors, being the top in the party hierarchy can ask for redress in areas where they feel it is necessary. Asking for the chairman to resign is one way to seek redress but the thing is, what impact will the chairman’s resignation have in resolving the crisis in the party? None. Looking at what is happening in the party, one major group is accusing the chairman of supporting the other group. The other group is also accusing him of supporting the first group. If both groups are accusing the chairman on same issue, then it means the chairman has been fair to all.”
Beside the governors, a group under the platform of “APC Leadership WatchDog” has been in the forefront for the resignation of Chief Oyegun. The group in a statement by its National Coordinator, Johnson Yusuf, recently, said Oyegun;s resignation had become necessary so as to save the party further embarrassment. Although, it acknowledged the sterling contributions of Oyegun particularly during the campaign of the APC which led to its eventual success at the polls, the group said the skills and leadership attributes of Chief Oyegun were not amenable to suit the purpose of a party in power.
“Chief Oyegun has now displayed his lack of management and leadership experience to coordinate a governing party in order to deliver maximum support to a President elected on its platform, ” it stated. The group said the current crisis in the National Assembly which the Oyegun led leadership had failed to manage could only be attributed to two possible reasons.
“There are only two possible reasons for this obvious mismanagement of a party that signify change- it is either Chief Oyegun lacks the ability to deliver on his redefined assignment, or he has compromised.” The statement reads, “ The inability of the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun to manage a progressive party such as ours is getting increasingly obvious every day; and there is need for the octogenarian party chairman to immediately resign and save all of us further embarrassment. This would be in the best interest of everyone.
While we appreciate the stewardship of Chief Oyegun so far, especially his contributions to the campaign and the eventual victory of our party at the polls; we are troubled with the realization that the skills and leadership attributes of Chief Oyegun are not amenable to suit the purpose of a party in power. So while his age and experience were valuable during the campaigns, Chief Oyegun has now displayed his lack of management and leadership experience to coordinate a governing party in order to deliver maximum support to a President elected on its platform.
While Mr. President has hit the ground running as evidenced from decisions reached and moves made so far, Chief Oyegun has not even hit the ground at all; but instead lying flat on the ground while the party that portray so much hope run into series of avoidable and needless crisis. This is highly unfortunate. “The need to separate politics from governance in order for the former not to derail the latter, has led the President to concentrate squarely on delivering purposeful governance to the country; while leaving the coordination and management of party politics in the hands of Chief John Oyegun as the party Chairman. However, it is regrettable that Chief Oyegun has failed to live up to the expectations of a majority of the party members. And there are only two possible reasons for this obvious mismanagement of a party that signify change- it is either Chief Oyegun lacks the ability to deliver on his redefined assignment, or he has compromised.
“With the manner Chief Oyegun and his team of National Working Committee (NWC) handled the leadership crisis in the National Assembly, even the failed PDP had to deride our party as one led by “inexperienced” people. For how long would we continue to endure insults and uncouth language from people whose very inexperience has pushed out of office? But still, the APC of today under the chairmanship of Oyegun is making a lot of us wonder if it is still the same party we worked and campaigned with. We are not alone- many Nigerians are now wondering if this was the same APC they voted for. “Before this embarrassment gets deeper and much more unbearable, we call on Chief Oyegun to do the honorable thing by placing the party interest far and above his personal desires.
We also call on the leaders of the party and specifically the members of the NWC to safe our party from going deeper on this voyage of self-destruction. Chief John Oyegun should please resign in order to save the party and his members from further headache. While at it, other members of the party whose recent acts and actions have become inimical to the continued progress and survival of the party should immediately retrace their steps.
In the light of this, we specifically call on Senate President Bukola Saraki to quickly return to the path of rectitude. Since the party has resolved to respect the office Senator Bukola now occupies and also accept his emergence; the Senate President must also in turn respect and be loyal to the party. It is time Senate President Bukola Saraki realises that the politics part of his ambition is over. Now is the time to use that office to coordinate and rally the National Assembly behind the vision of Mr. President and that of the party.” Keen political observers say the fate of Oyegun still hangs in the balance as far as the crisis in the party is concern. How long this will last lies in the womb of time.