By: Oluwatosin Adesola
ONDO 2020: LEAVE US ALONE, YOU ARE THE WORST PLAGUE THAT EVER AFFLICTED ONDO APC, GROUP TELLS OYEGUN.
An interest Group within the ruling All Progressives Congress in Ondo State, APC Youths Assembly, has slammed the immediate past National Chairman of the Party, Ch. John Odigie Oyegun, over his recent comment on the forthcoming governorship election in the State, saying he lacks the moral responsiblity to advise the Party on how to conduct its primaries due to his ignominious role in the 2016 governorship primary that polarised the party in Ondo State.
The group alleged that Mr Oyegun conducted the most controversial primary election in the history of the APC, especially in Ondo State, saying the State chapter of the Party is still faced with the ripples from the complications of the role he played in the last governorship primary in 2016. It also accused him as being the mastermind of the the division rocking the APC in the State today, calling him “a saboteur of the goodwill of the people”.
The former Chairman had on Thursday, in a press statement, solicited for the duo of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State to be returned unopposed in the coming primaries of the Party in the two States.
“Oyegun should leave us alone and not interfere in the affairs of our State. We have not totally overcome the effect of his handiwork in 2016. He must be enjoying how badly that has crumbled the unity of the Party in Ondo State,” the group said.
Reacting to Oyegun’s statement, Comr. Adifala Ologun, the leader of the group in a statement issued in Akure on Friday, said, Ch. Oyegun’s regime as the National Chairman of the APC was characterized by corruption and anti-party activities, “his leadership had brought no good but harm to the Party in Ondo State”.
Ologun said the divison within the Party today is the aftermath of the 2016 primary elections and has left the party struggling to hold its family together ever since.
“We are too cultured here to engage an elder in a war of words but this has to do with the future of the Party in Ondo State and ourselves as individuals. It is a new threat to the One-APC family we are rebuilding and we cannot afford the repeat of the past. Maybe things would have been done differently if we had raised our voice in 2016”. Adifala said.
“After superintending over an election that was a glaring rape of democracy and subversion of the goodwill of Ondo State people, Pa Oyegun lacks every sense of responsibility to advise on Party primary or any election with what played out in 2016. The 2016 primary election in Ondo State that largely polarised the APC family was due to his imposition of an unpopular candidate on the Party through rigging and against the overall interest of the entire members of the Party”.
The group stated further that, “The same Chief Oyegun that acted contrary to the recommendations of the National Working Committee, NWC and bypassed the decision of the Appeal Committee in 2016 cannot teach morals, and equally has no justification to advise on how to conduct a free, fair and credible election anywhere in the world.
“Since Ch. Oyegun had also failed to offer his piece of advice to the candidate he imposed on the Party when he resulted into anti party activities, sponsoring candidates of an opposition party AA against the APC that brought him to power during the 2019 National Assembly election, he can as well keep his advice to himself on the forthcoming election. That singular act of his backdoor product cost the Party 2 Senatorial seats, 4 Representatives seats and lost the presidential election to the opposition Party in the State,” the group stated.
The group said the Party is committed to correcting the mistake of the past in the coming primary election in order to return the Party to its winning ways in Ondo State, saying it is convinced beyond any doubt that the July 20 primary election under the leadership of the present National Chairman of the Party, Comr. Adams Oshiomole will be free, fair and credible compared to what was conducted by the Oyegun regime in 2016.
“Oyegun should respect himself and behave like a respected elder stateman. He should stop causing commotion within the party and allow the performing National Chairman, Comr. Adams Oshiomole to continue to do his good works of rebuilding the Party. Those who are not comfortable with him are the indisciplined ones who are not happy to see sanity and respect for Party supremacy returned to the APC,” the group said.
AKEREDOLU, OBASEKI HAVE PERFORMED CREDITABLY, DESERVE REELECTION UNCHALLENGED —Oyegun
The immediate past National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, yesterday said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has endorsed an agreement that Governor Godwin Obaseki and Rotimi Akeredolu of Edo and Ondo states respectively be returned for second term unless they do not wish to continue in office.
The PUNCH reports that governorship election is scheduled to hold in Edo State on September 19 while that of Ondo State is slated for October 10.
Obaseki and Akeredolu, who are both members of the APC are first-term governors, and have expressed interest in second term in office.
Odigie-Oyegun, in an advertorial published in some national newspapers on Thursday, said he was aware that Buhari had endorsed that the two governors be given right of first refusal.
He, however, said since democracy did not encourage imposition, the party must also accept and present governorship aspirants.
He said, “I also welcome most warmly the news that Mr President has firmly endorsed the agreement reached to settle the disruptive leadership crisis at the national level that was threatening the very existence of the APC.
“The immediately relevant part of the agreement was that both the governors – Mr Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki of Edo State and Mr Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN of Ondo State have performed creditably and should be returned unless they do not so wish.
“This means that the party, in unity, should organise to support the return of both governors.
“Our democracy of course has no room for imposition, so the party must accept and also present members that offer themselves to serve in the positions being occupied by the incumbent governors.”
In the case of Edo State, the former party chairman expressed the hope that a consensus can be built around Obaseki because he has performed well and has not offended any aspect of the party’s constitution.
If a consensus cannot be built, Odigie-Oyegun said “everything must be done to ensure that the persons in the leadership of the party at the centre who are part of the contrived crisis in Edo State must not even remotely be allowed to plan, participate or supervise the primary election.”
He said allowing any member of the national leadership involved in the crisis in the state would amount to making such person (s) judges in their own case.
He said such was contrary to the principle of natural justice and would be resisted.
“Transparency must start with the guidelines as to how the primary elections will be conducted,” he said.
OSHIOMHOLE’S LOYALISTS BLAST OYEGUN
Loyalists of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, in the Edo State chapter of the party, have urged Chief John Odigie-Oyegun to stop acting like the mouthpiece of the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.
The advice was contained in a statement signed by the spokesperson for the group, Chris Azebamwan, on Thursday.
However, in response, Oshiomhole’s loyalists dismissed the former national chairman’s claims that an agreement had been reached to grant automatic tickets to the two incumbent governors.
The group said it was not in its character to take “an elder to task’’ especially an elder who recently turned 80 and paraded several credentials including being a former federal super -permanent secretary and national chairman of a major political party.
It also said it was at a loss “to understand why Chief Odigie-Oyegun would make utterances that portray him as a mouthpiece or hireling of Godwin Obaseki.”
While assuring that the forthcoming primaries in Edo State would be credible because it would not serve anyone’s interest to compromise the process, “and in so doing, give room for the courts to intervene and upturn the results.”
The group stressed that the leadership of the APC was determined to conduct credible primaries.
It challenged the former Edo State governor to name those he claimed were contriving a crisis in the state.
Azebamwan said, “The more worrisome part of Pa Odigie-Oyegun’s outburst is his claim that as part of the reconciliation process, an automatic ticket was promised Godwin Obaseki.
“To the best of my knowledge, Chief Odigie-Oyegun was not at the meeting where reconciliation was discussed. He is no longer a principal officer of the APC, and is in no position therefore, to lay claims to the inner workings of the party.
“One wonders why the National Reconciliation Committee headed by Chief Bisi Akande would have needed to be set up, if positions had been taken on crucial issues like the ticket for the Edo State governorship election.
“We operate a democratic dispensation and Pa Odigie-Oyegun should allow the process throw up the best man for the job instead of attempting to throw a spanner in the works by promoting his personal opinion and the desperate ambition of Godwin Obaseki as decisions or resolutions of our party leadership.
“He is an elder statesman and should not allow himself to be dragged into the fray. That would be a tragic fall from the high pedestal to which we are accustomed to place him.”