Immediate past National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun, has expressed sadness over the current crisis rocking the party ahead of the general election.
He, however, expressed confidence that the ongoing peace moves within the party will yield expected results.
Oyegun therefore called for peace to reign, saying, “we need to begin to confront the elections in February next year, which, giving the state of the nation, are bound to be challenging.”
The elder statesman, however, appealed that every effort should be made to establish peace such that the party will approach the general elections as a united force, rallying around a united programme of action.
Speaking with newsmen at his Abuja residence yesterday, Oyegun said, he did know anyone who is happy with the instability within the party.
The ruling APC has been rattled with various crises, which are a consequence of its primaries, leading to defections of some members across the states.
When asked whether the former party boss was disturbed about the situation, Oyegun said: “Well I can say something for sure that I am not happy as to state of peace or the relative instability in the party. I don’t think I know someone who is happy today about that, but like I said earlier, there are peace missions that I have found all over the country, and so, at this point in time, it will be ill-opportune for me to start saying ho! Things went bad because that happened or because that did not happen. But, as a statesman, let me not start passing my own personal judgement where there is a team out there trying to broker peace, I won’t be helping the situation.
“What we require is peace, I pray God give these teams the wisdom that is required to work out the settlement to bring the party back to strong political party fighting force.”
While appealing to APC members to show understanding and loyalty, Oyegun said: “As far as my own party is concerned, well, I have only one appeal that there should be peace and that every effort should be made to establish peace such that we will approach the elections a united force, a united voice, a united party rallying around a united programme of action.
“There is no doubt about it that there are very serious disputations within the party. And I’m very, very glad that peace teams have been sent out. I was glad to run into one of these teams once while I was on private business in the South-east. And it is my prayer that they achieve the goals for which they were set up and for the reason they have been sent out.
“But it is necessary to state that for peace to happen there is need to emphasise that all sides must be ready to give and to take. There must be willingness for compromise, such that can bring the party back together in such a fighting mood. We need to begin to confront the elections in February next year which, giving the state of the nation, are bound to be challenging.”
The former APC national chairman also appealed to Nigerians to avoid what he called distractions for real issues during the ongoing campaigns
“As an elderstatesman, I appeal to our leaders to keep away from distractions and non-issues. If you read the social media today, you see such terrible distractions, such terrible insults, such humongous, clear patent falsehood, and these seem to have become the main issues whereas they are mere distractions, absolute distractions.
“Whether people have certificate or not, whether they went to schools or not, and quite a lot of other things, manufactured stories about individuals, prominent individuals.
“It appears the pastime now is research for scandals rather than an attempt to build issues, to depict deepened alternative approach, alternative formulations. We all known the problems of our country, who has answers for these problems, what are the answers. I think those are issues this two and half months should try to address.”
Meanwhile, the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has said the governors of Imo and Ogun states, Rochas Okorocha and Senator Ibikunle Amosun are behaving like poor students of their own history who had forgotten that they lost elections before winning on the party’s platform.
Oshiomhole, who spoke while receiving APC women leaders from Edo state and the FCT yesterday, also came down hard on former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying he is inviting the anger of God upon himself by supporting former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Oshiomhole was, however, confident that APC is stronger now in Imo and Ogun states, despite their governors’ grievances over the party primaries, assuring that without the duo, the party would win the two states.
Oshiomhole said: “The real headline today is that we will win in Ogun state and we will deliver Hope Uzodinma in Imo state. Our popularity in Imo state today is increasing. What we don’t know is that Nigerians always make this mistake that once you are a governor, you have electoral value.
“Yes, we have overwhelming majority of APC governors who have electoral value, and we also have some electoral liabilities. I can tell that in Imo state today, we will win more votes. Politics is about number, and I am looking at the average Imo voters because on that, the governor will have one vote and his son-in-law will also have one vote, those market women, artisans, mechanics and farmers will also have one vote each.
“Those who think that our political future is tied to them are poor students of their own political history. Some of these people who talk as if they are invincible, they have forgotten that they have run elections in the past and lost until they abandoned their parties and joined us. So, if they return back, history will repeat itself.
“In Imo state today, APC will win more votes. My focus is on ordinary Imo voters because on that day, the governor would have only one vote, his son-in-law would have only one vote while his Commissioner for Happiness would have only one vote.
“But artisans, traders, teachers and workers whose salaries are not being paid have the same weight of vote and they are excited about the renewed possibility of a new government coming with fresh ideas free of all the encumbrances of the present system. So in Imo, I’m very confident.
“Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is from Ogun state. The state is one of the most enlightened states in Nigeria. They have a huge history; they are not in a political kingdom headed by one person.
“If they were looking for true reconciliation, they wouldn’t have done what they did (defection of aides). That is not how democracy works. Nigeria must grow beyond this syndrome, ‘I am the governor, I will decide.’ You have only one vote. With due respect, I was once a governor. Overall, APC is much stronger now.”
On Obasanjo’s reconciliation with Atiku, his former deputy, the APC chair reminded the former president as having sworn that God should punish him if he ever supports Abubakar’s presidential bid.