Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has formally withdrawn from re-contesting his position, hinging his reason on constituting a problem to the ruling party.
Speaking during an interactive session with newsmen in his house, in Abuja, on Friday, Oyegun said that he had initially nursed the interest in contesting as permitted by the Constitution of the party, but had to sacrifice his interest for the benefit of the party.
He equally warned that the party faces difficult days ahead, which all critical stakeholders in its leadership must be required to bind together for a common purpose.
“With the 2019 general elections looming on the horizon, some of us considered it young be in the best interest of the party to ho into the elections as a united fighting force, rather than one that was potentially weakened by internal conflicts arising from competitive congresses and convention.
“Once the decision was taken by National Executive Committee (NEC) to proceed with the congresses and the convention to elect new officers of the party across the country and at the national level, it would appear natural that I should seek re-election.
“Not only is it within my constitutional right to do so, I believe that my experience and familiarity with some of the most important issues that must be at the top of our political agenda put me in the best position to lead the party into another election and for another four years.
“I also believe that my ability to constantly seek the middle ground, and a win win situation for all, is quite critical for a young party faced with our kind of challenge
“Even without declaring my interest, several top stakeholders of our party at all levels began to rally in my support. I believe that these loyal party men and women instinctively chose to support me, not because I am John Oyegun, but because they recognized what was in the best interest of the Party at this point in time.
“And quite fundamentally, they were demonstrating their love and commitment for the party, realizing that perhaps, what was needed most at this time in our history as a political party at this point in time. And quite fundamentally, they were demonstrating their love and commitment fir the party, realizing that perhaps, what was beefed most at this time in our history as a political party is experience and stability.
“We have conducted the congresses in all the 36 states and the FCT; and we have set a date for the National Convention. Now that, the Convention Committee has invited interested aspirants to obtain forms to contest into the various national positions in our party, it has become necessary for me to state my position.
“I have consulted widely with my family, friends and associates. Even though, I had the desire to re-contest as the National Chairman of the Party, l have decided that it is ultimately in the best interest of the Party for me to withdraw from the race.
“I have taken this decision without prejudice to my commitment to the party in helping to solve some of the subsisting and emerging difficult issues and my ability to continue to provide necessary leadership. “However, I believe that the party faces difficult days ahead, and all critical stakeholders in its leadership would be required to bind together for a common purpose.
“Therefore, the less contentious our national convention is, the better for the party, 1 have always sought to be part of solving the problem of APC; I do not intend to be a part of the problem for APC to solve.
“It is for this reason that I hereby declare that I will not be seeking re-election as the National Chairman of the APC,” he said.