THE crisis over the All
Progressives Congress (APC) governorship ticket in Ondo State worsened on
Sunday, with the national leader of the party, Chief Bola Tinubu, saying the
APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, must go, in order to rescue
the party from being led into a ditch.
Speaking through his media office
via statement issued on Sunday night, Tinubu accused Oyegun of carrying out a
coup that undermined the principles APC stood for.
The national chairman was said to
have torpedoed the deadlock arising from the report of the APC election
petition committee on the governorship primaries of the party, in which Mr
Rotimi Akeredolu was declared winner.
“Oyegun and his ilk turn out to be
gangsters adorned in the tunic of party authority. He has engaged in the strange math where five
is greater than six,” Tinubu alleged.
In the statement, entitled:
“Oyegun’s Ondo fraud: the violation of Democracy in the APC,” Tinubu claimed
that Oyegun had demonstrated his aversion for democratic fair play, urging all
those who care about the party, Nigeria and its chance for better tomorrow to
rise up against the APC national chairman.
According to the former Lagos State
governor, Oyegun’s transgressions constituted a warning of a deliberate move to
return the country to the old ways.
“Oyegun has done the irredeemable.
His coup is an insult to party and to patriot, 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 the majority of voters had placed their
“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 John 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,” Tinubu stated.
He said it was now obvious that
there was a regressive element in the party that cared nothing for the
progressive ideas upon which the APC was founded, but was currently bent on
guiding the APC into the ditch.
“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,” he further alleged.
Tinubu claimed that the party was
rapidly becoming an albatross to those it was meant to help, because of the
disposition of the national chairman.
“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 realised 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.
“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.
“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
“Oyegun’s comportment regarding the
Ondo State primaries 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 primaries 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 willfully
executed that the primaries 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.