Chief Ray Murphy, the chairman of the organising committee for the 80th birthday of the immediate past national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has explained the reason a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the national chairman, Adams Oshiomole, were absent at his 80th birthday held in Benin, Edo state capital.
Morphy, who is also the Public Affairs Adviser to Chief Oyegun, however, revealed that every known figure in Nigeria and abroad have been adequately invited for the celebration of life of Chief Odigie-Oyegun taking place at the International Conference Center (ICC), Abuja on Saturday.
The Benin Chief on Monday turned 80 when Edo state government rolled out drums to celebrate the man who was the first civilian governor of the state but missing in action conspicuously were Comrade Adam Oshiomhole and Tinubu.
Addressing a press conference ahead of the Saturday’s dinner, Murphy said he would reserve his comments on why Tinubu and Oshiomhole did not attend the Benin function until after the Abuja dinner.
When asked Morphy said, “My reaction is very simple and straight forward, remember I said that Benin was a state function. We have two batches of the event. The state function which was done by the state which is more like regional.
“We have a national function which is being organised tomorrow (Saturday). Well, I would have a response if tomorrow (Saturday) we record the same kind of situation.
But I know that most people who attend events will look at which one to attend. For instance, we have all the governors who were not essentially there because we have the main function which will be a national celebration.”
The organising chairman also said the 80th birthday celebration was a recognition of God’s blessing on him and his family, and the recognition of the contributions he has made in the country’s democratic development.
Morphy, who described Chief Oyegun as a ‘stainless politician” at 80, also described Oyegun as a perfect gentle man who has kept his name clean right and fair over the years, adding that even when he left office as the national chairman of the APC, he has never engaged in any battle with anybody in the party until recently when unfounded accusations were made against him.
Morphy stated: “Until we began to hear accusations left and right which are basically just accusations. Which was why it became necessary as his Public Affairs Adviser to begin to take on those things. We took them on not because we are interested in just replying, but because at 80, what time does he have to build his name. If people throw mud at you when you are 80, what time do you have to clean it up.
“But by his nature, he would have kept quiet but he reached a point when he realised that he didn’t do that kind of thing, those things will soil his name an soil him and practically for life.”