Things have got out of control in Nigeria at 60, says ex-party chairman
Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Ex-Governor of Edo State and former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has opened up on his role in the just concluded governorship election in the State, explaining why he did not participate in the APC governorship campaigns.
‘Let me put it this way: I am a man of conscience. I am a strong believer in justice and fair play. I am a strong believer that when the rules of an association you belong to have been so flagrantly disregarded, put aside, not complied with, then, you have to go back to your conscience to say, can I support what has happened? I cannot support injustice,’ the former leader of the party stated.
‘In terms of going out to work for injustice, I hope you get the meaning? Going out, to say, what I in my conscience I considered wrong, I am not supporting working for it, to be instituted, l cannot do that. And normal people should not do that. Your loyalty in life should be what is right, that is principle.
‘Every human being must live for something. If you are ready to kill a man you know did not commit a crime, then something is wrong with you.
‘Obviously, so, not even in your group, even in my family, a family member commits a crime, he has to agree he has committed a crime. When you start shouting no, he has done nothing wrong, then, something is wrong with you.
‘So, it was a basic issue of principle, it is a basic issue of conscience.
‘And the firm belief that that group you belong to has committed a grave injustice and when that happened, if you are a man of principle, if you are a man who respects yourself, then, you will point it out and they will stand back.
‘Don’t forget, at every point, my views were known and is not that I hide and I said nothing,’ he said.
Chief Oyegun, who gave the explanation while fielding questions from reporters in Benin, also expressed sadness that as Nigeria turns 60 on October 1, the country, according to him, is yet to attain its full potentials.
He said starvation, terrorism, and dwindling resources have bedevilled the country, but added that though the country is facing such a huge challenge, a very solid foundation has been laid for it to thrive above all its challenges.
‘Things have been tough. What I can say confidently is that the basic foundation of our future growth has been laid, no question in my mind about that; but the administration has not been lucky at all.
‘We have had a very tough period of dwindling resources right from the beginning of this administration and I think, but for careful management, we probably would not have gotten as far as we have today. There is no question at all.
‘There is hunger in the land, the economy is not growing as it should, unemployment is very high, terrorism has risen its ugly head again after initial success and controlling it, cost of production of crude oil now is almost equating what we are getting from selling crude oil. So, the resources are just not there.
‘I must say I am sad that things have gotten to this kind of situation, totally outside control,’ he said.
According to the former APC National Chairman, those in the helms of affairs are not doing enough in building hopes and confidence in the people that though things are rough at the moment, there would always be better days ahead and that they should keep their hopes and faith in the country alive.
‘The only missing link that I will think is that we are not sufficiently giving the people hope or explaining things to people and giving them hope that tomorrow will be better.
‘So, there is despondency in the land, that critical ingredient that makes people say okay, things are bad today, but they are telling us that it will be better tomorrow, that is missing. In addition to economic difficulty, economic deprivation, we have not successfully conveyed to them, the picture of a better tomorrow.
‘We prayed that COVID-19, which has played also a very major role will be contained and put out of the way because it has also created major economic problems, massive diversion of resources to protecting the lives of Nigerians,’ he said.
Oyegun, while decrying the spate of insecurity in the country, speculated that external forces that do not mean well for the survival of Nigeria may be responsible for the resurgence of the insecurity, stressing that the reawakened the insecurity in the country has to be investigated.
‘Sixty, tough, but I have hope that if we can contain the difficulties that beset us, particularly, insecurity, then, this country still has a bright future.
‘I am very worried about insecurity because of my untutored mind, I don’t know anything about security.
‘It is beginning to sound to me as if somebody outside this nation, groups outside this nation have interests in our country that are contrary to the public notice because what is happening otherwise doesn’t make sense and there are a lot of foreigners involved, a lot of AK-47s, all of which are coming in through the Sahara desert.
‘I am a layman and I don’t know much about it but it is something that needs a very in-depth investigation. Are we as a nation being sabotaged by external forces? It is a question that has to be looked at too and must be investigated,’ he said.