Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 80th birthday of the immediate past national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun, has explained the reason for the absence of APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and national chairman, Adams Oshiomole, at the reception held in his honours in Benin, Edo state.
Edo state government had on Monday rolled out drums to celebrate the first civilian governor of the state but conspicuously missing in action were Oshiomhole, Ahmed Tinubu among notable others.
However, reacting to the report, chairman of the committee, Ray Morphy, who doubles as Oyegun’s Public Affairs Adviser argued that it would be wrong to attach any importance to the attendance during the Edo reception since a bigger reception has been scheduled in Abuja on Saturday.
He disclosed that every known figures in Nigeria and abroad have been properly invited to honour the celebrant at the national event at the International Conference Center (ICC), Abuja.
While addressing a press conference ahead of the Saturday’s dinner, Morphy said he will reserve his comments on why Tinubu and Oshiomhole did not attend the Benin function until after the Abuja dinner.
“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, is more like regional.
“We have a national function 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 these governors who were not essentially there because we have the main functions which will be a national celebration scheduled for tomorrow,” he said.
The organising chairman also described the 80th birthday celebration as 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 deacribed Oyegun as a ‘stainless politician” at 80, also called him a perfect gentleman who has kept his name clean right and fair over the years.
He added 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 when unfounded accusations were made against him.
“Until we began to hear accusations left and right which are basically just accusations. 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. By his nature, he would have kept quiet but it reached a point when he realised that he didn’t do that kind of thing, those things will soil his name and soil him and practically for life,” he said.