Says chairman colluded with mercenary forces to carry out coup against party
By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is demanding the resignation of National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun over his alleged role in the September 3 Ondo State governorship primary of the party.
Chief Rotimi Akeredolu won the primary but some contestants, including Olusegun Abraham, Olusola Oke and Senator Ajayi Robert Borrofice have kicked against his candidacy. They alleged fraud in the exercise, a claim corroborated by Tinubu.
In a statement released by Tinubu Media Office (TMO), yesterday, the former Lagos State governor detailed how Oyegun allegedly conspired against the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), disregarded majority decision on a fresh primary and sneaked out of a meeting to submit Akeredolu’s name as the Ondo APC candidate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The NWC, acting on the recommendations of its Appeals Committee, allegedly voted six to five, in favour of cancellation of the September 3 primary, citing fraud in the delegates list.
Tinubu said: “Oyegun’s comportment regarding the Ondo State primacy 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…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. “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 Akeredolu to INEC as the candidate of the party. Truth has finally come to light. “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. 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.
“As party chairman, Oyegun was supposed to protect our internal processes and be an impartial arbiter, a person in whom all had confidence. Instead, he donned the garment of a confident man, duping the NWC, the party and INEC in one fell blow. He has robbed APC members in Ondo State of the chance to pick in a fair manner who they believe is the best candidate.
“As such, he has broken faith with the party and probably has broken a few laws. With strong expectation, we await a response to Oyegun’s wrongdoing from those who clamored so long and loudly about Tinubu’s alleged role in the Ondo primary.
“Thus, Oyegun was forced to undertake his desperate fraud in broad daylight in order to salvage the wrong initiated under the lamp of darkness. Those who so actively attributed imaginary wrong to Tinubu now stand dumb and mute in the face of confirmed impropriety. They remain silent for reasons they cannot divulge. Oyegun and his ilk turn out to be gangsters adorned in the tunic of party authority.
“Oyegun has engaged in the strange math where five is greater than six. This smacks of how the PDP conducted its affairs and orchestrated its own downfall. Tinubu disparaged such malpractice when it was not in his party.
If Oyegun wants to walk backward into the past, he has every right to it. However, he has no right to drag the party or any of us with him. Against our choosing.Oyegun has done the irredeemable.
“His coup is an insult to party and to patriots, to reason and to the reform agenda of this government. To remain silent would be to admit the defeat of the reform and progressive change many have laboured to bring forth. While the forces resistant to change and reform are strong, Tinubu dare not submit to them. Tinubu encourages all party members not to submit to them. If we acquiesce in this wrong, the one greater than this shall cascade upon us.
“Oyegun’s transgressions are a warning. He is but the mercenary of forces that seek to return the nation to the old ways. If they get away with this infraction, no telling what or whom they will undermine tomorrow. Much is at stake.
“On the chopping block, lies the future of the political party in which majority of voters had placed their confidence.
“To rescue the party, Oyegun must go. He has shown that he and democratic fair play cannot exist in the same party at the same time. If Tinubu is to choose between Oyegun and progress toward a better Nigeria, the choice has already been made. For those who care about the party, who care about Nigeria and its chance for a better tomorrow, now is the time to stand against this brewing evil before it grows to encompass all we have built and all we hold dear.”
When contacted, APC’s Assistant Dirtector of Publicity, Mr. Edegbe Odemwingie, did not pick his calls.
There was no official reaction from Oyegun’s media team last night.
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