Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
All roads will lead to the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja on Saturday August 17, venue of the event to mark the 80th birthday of the immediate past National chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
The week-long activities lined up for the historic birthday celebration had started last week Saturday with a golf tournament which took place in Benin, the Edo State capital to flag off the programme, a thanksgiving service and a state reception to be held in his honours at the Edo State Government House.
The programme of activities released at the weekend by the chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) for Oyegun’s 80th birthday celebration, Ray Morphy, revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari, state governors across party divide, National Assembly members, several party stalwarts, eminent Nigerians and members of the international communities have all indicated interest to attend the event.
“I can tell you on good authority that President Buhari will personally grace the event. The state governors across party divide have equally indicated interest to celebrate a quintessential politician like Oyegun.
“It is going to be the gathering of heavyweight political stalwarts, eminent Nigerians and members of the international communities. Every arrangement has been made and I can assure you that Chief Oyegun is ready to be hosted.
“The programme of activities had started last week with a golf tournament in his honour which took place in Benin, on Saturday, last weekend to flag off the celebration. The state government will also host him to a reception on Monday after a thanksgiving ceremony in Benin. Chief Oyegun deserves every encomium showered on him for attaining that age,” Morphy noted.
Chief Oyegun had while recalling what he considered his deepest regret at clocking 80 years said: “Everybody has a regret perhaps there were one or two things one would have done differently. But I have every reason to give glory to God because He has been so good to me.
“Look at how many careers I have had. In the civil service, I made good the opportunity; I was respected and you won’t believe I retired when I was less than 50 years.
“I ventured into business when I left civil service, became a fisherman and for two years, I became the chairman of Nigeria Trolley Owners Association. I ventured into politics and became the first governor of Edo State.
“I later became the deputy national chairman of the ANPP, national chairman of the APC where my efforts were blessed as the first chairman to oust a sitting government at the federal level. More importantly, up till this 80 years, I have never spent one day in the hospital,” he noted.