The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has demanded the resignation of the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun whom he said had derailed from the path of progressives. In a communiqué from his media office, Tinubu accused Oyegun of sabotaging the will of democracy in Ondo State by overriding the decision of the appeal panel that asked for a fresh governorship primary following investigations that showed that the delegates’ list used was tampered with.
Tinubu in the communiqué said that Oyegun’s action in allegedly subverting the will of the people, was not of his doing, saying that for a man of the age of the national chairman to have done what he did that he must have been under the influence of a “powerful and sinister arm at work.”
Tinubu who said that the APC was now under threat of being suffocated by anti-democratic forces pretending to be progressives, said: “The APC, a party born of the quest for democratic good governance, is under critical threat by those who managed to be in the party but never of it. From the party’s inception, the principles of democratic fairness and justice were to guide APC internal deliberations. Party founders realized that only by intramural fair dealing could the party remain faithful to the progressive ideals that we presented to the Nigerian electorate as our governing creed. If the party could not justly govern itself, it would find it difficult to establish and maintain just government throughout the nation. “In essence, the party was the embodiment of a democratic promise made between its members as well as a democratic vow made to the public. Evidently, some errant members believe promises and vows are mere words to be easily spoken and more easily broken. Chairman John Oyegun has breached these good pledges in a most overt and brazen display. In doing so, Oyegun has dealt a heavy blow to the very party he professes to lead. It is an awful parent who suffocates his own child for the sake of a few naira. The party was supposed to buttress APC members elected to government at all levels. Because of Oyegun’s conduct of our affairs, the party is rapidly becoming an albatross to those it was meant to help. “Oyegun’s comportment regarding the Ondo State primary will become the textbook definition of political treachery and malfeasance of the basest order. In early September, the state primary was held. A purported winner was named. Having faith in the ways of the party, Tinubu publicly accepted what he assumed to be a verdict honestly derived. As a democrat, one must face the possibility of defeat and accept such as outcome with as much grace as one would embrace victory. One of the few bright spots during the conduct of the primaries was Jigawa Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar. He chaired the primary convention with decorum and impartiality. He was unaware that a tampered list had been slipped into the process. “Indeed within hours of the announcement, news began to filter in that gravely disturbed me. Credible allegations of fraud troubled the waters. The delegate list had been materially altered by someone in a strategic position to so do. The names of over 150 valid delegates were excised to make room for an equal number of impostors. This was not a clerical error. The alteration was wilfully executed that the primary would be directed toward a chosen end that bore nothing in common with the will of most state party members. A cunning few had tried to deceive the many into believing they were outnumbered. “A conspiracy to steal the Ondo primary had been uncovered. Fortunately, the grand deception afoot had been unable to cover its tracks fast enough. Truth began to cry for justice. “Several candidates filed petitions contesting the result. The party established an investigative board to review the evidence. In a two to one decision, the panel found the delegate roster had suffered tampering. The panel recommended that a new primary should be held using the valid delegate list. This recommendation was tabled before the National Working Committee (NWC). “After many hours of deliberations spanning several days, a final vote was held by the NWC. Before hand, NWC members agreed that the decision of the majority would become the stance of the party. Such is the way of democracy. The NWC voted six against five to cancel the fraudulent results and hold an honest primary. For a moment, it seemed the party would restore its integrity by giving democracy a chance. However, those who sought to scam an entire state would not let the vote of 11 people spoil their enterprise. “After the NWC vote, a noticeably agitated Chairman Oyegun proposed the NWC engage in prayer before concluding the meeting. Adhering to this chairman’s request, NWC members began to pray. Seeing that the others had taken his bait, Oyegun used the prayerful interlude to secretly excuse himself from the meeting. Contravening the NWC decision and in violation of all rules of fundamental decency, Oyegun decided to safeguard the fraud done in Ondo by perpetrating a greater fraud. Oyegun arrogated to himself the right to submit the name of Rotimi Akeredolu to INEC as the candidate of the party. “Truth has finally come to light. There exists a regressive element in the party that cares nothing for the progressive ideas upon which this party was founded. They joined the APC because it was the best ride available at the time. Now they want to guide the party into the ditch. They want to turn the party into a soulless entity incapable of doing good, just like they are. When such a person tastes power, they shed all good restraint. They come to abuse the trust given them as if they are the owners of that trust and not its mere custodians. These people did little to build the party but now will do much to wreck it. “Our party was to stand for change. Oyegun and his fellows seem to be on a different wave length. They are the cohort of Unchange. The APC wants to guide Nigeria into a better tomorrow. Oyegun and the cohort of unchange want to pull Nigeria back into the past where rigging and vote stealing were the old and new testaments of politics. They want the people to think that there is no alternative to their reactionary system of skewed politics and imperious government. Thus, they seek to turn the APC into a factory of the very political malpractices the people soundly rejected in the past election. To choke the APC in this manner is to kill the chance for progressive reform for the foreseeable future. Much more than the Ondo primary is at stake. Oyegun has revealed his team’s game plan: It is the destruction of progressive politics and governance on behalf of the people.