Major crisis has hit the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) , with former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu calling for a change of leadership.
National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun should quit, Tinubu said in a statement issued in Lagos by his Media Office.
He said the party was under a “critical threat” by its leadership, following its neglect of the principles of fairness and justice, which ought to guide its internal deliberations.
Tinubu, one of the founding fathers of the party, observed that, if the party could not justly govern itself, it would find it difficult to establish and maintain a just government throughout the nation.
In the statement titled: “Oyegun’s Ondo fraud: The violation of democracy in the APC,” Tinubu alleged that Odigie-Oyegun had betrayed the party,” thereby transforming the party into an albatross to those it was meant to serve.
He said the role of the chairman in the circumstances that led to the submission of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the governorship candidate for Ondo State, contrary to the advice of the party’s Appeal Committee and the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC), was in bad faith.
The former governor said: “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 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; 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.”
Revisiting the controversial Ondo APC primary, Tinubu said the exercise, which was supervised by Jigawa State Governor Badaru Abubakar, who he noted was not aware of the grand deception and the pre-conceived agenda, paled into a primary of irregularities, distorted delegates’ list, alteration and conspiracy to steal victory.
He wondered why Oyegun blocked the move to redress the injustice of the fraudulent primary, contrary to the Primary Appeal Panel’s recommendation and the National Working Committee’s (NWC)’s decision.
He said: “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.”
In Tinubu’s view, the reality has dawned on the ruling party that “certain regressive elements, who joined it as a vehicle to power, have shunned all good restraints after tasting power, unmindful of the fact that their actions would wreck the party they did little to build”.
He said if their antics were not checked, “these elements who were nurtured on the code of rigging and vote stealing, are in a position to make Nigerians think that there is an alternative to their reactionary system of skewed politics and imperious government”.
Tinubu added: “Such a man is Oyegun and those who conspired with him to sabotage justice and democracy in Ondo. Our party was to stand for change. Oyegun and his followers seem to be on a different wave length. They are the cohort of unchange.”
The National Leader said while Oyegun was supposed to protect the party’s internal processes as an impartial arbiter, he had donned the garment of dictatorship, duping the NWC, the party, INEC and robbing the Ondo APC of the chance to pick its candidate in a free and fair primary.
He said although efforts were made to divert attention from the heist set in motion by pointing accusing fingers at him, ahead of the Ondo primary, the trickery they hoped to conduct in the shadows had come to light.
Tinubu stressed: “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 encouraged all party members not to submit to them. If we acquiesce in this wrong, the one greater than this shall cascade upon us.”
Efforts to get Oyegun’s reaction failed last night. The Head of Media at the APC secretariat Edegbe Odemwingie, said Oyegun was reading the statement and would get back to him. He promised to contact our reporter with Oyegun’s response, but he never did.