The All Progressives Congress (APC) as the party in government needs stability so that it can provide the leadership that Nigerians elected it to provide in 2015. Like every human organization the APC has had its challenges and the party leadership and the members have always risen above these challenges to the admiration of most Nigerians. The party’s success in crisis management has been attributed to the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, the National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Working Committee (NWC) of the party that usually rise to occasions to ensure that the party does not keep its eyes off the ball of bringing Change to Nigerians. Of particular note is the role of the national chairman in bringing stability to the party at the state and national levels. This is largely due to the way the chairman of the party conducts the party’s business. The civility with which the party’s national chairman Odigie-Oyegun conducts party business, marks him out as a gentleman and the best man to bring honesty, civility and good conduct to the nation’s party politics. Chief John Odigie Oyegun is an embodiment of the qualities needed to run a large political party like the APC.
He is erudite, experienced and is of the Awolowo and Azikiwe school of politics that believes that politics is intellectual activity that requires the use of brain rather than a street fight that requires the deployment of muscle and betrayals. His style of party administration has minimised rancour in the APC while promoting true democracy, a democracy which accommodates all shades of opinion within the party and finds despite differences, a meeting ground and a consensus. That, indeed, is what democracy should be. Chief Oyegun is a man of peace. This quality was not lost to the vast majority of the members of the party, including President Buhari and the governors, elected under the platform of the party when they all without exception showed appreciation of the chairman’s leadership of the party by elongating his tenure for one year.
They confirmed Chief Oyegun as the best man of the moment, the democratically acceptable chairman of the party, the man best suited for the job when his tenure and that of the NWC was extended by a landslide of 103 to 4 votes! A near unanimous vote of confidence that confirmed that the vast majority of party leaders and members consider him as the best man for the job of the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari and all others who will fly the flag of the party at the 2019 elections! Indeed, the month of February 2018 has been significant on the Chief Odigie-Oyegun leadership of the APC following alleged threats to his position by his detractors as reported in the media. An indication that the plot against Oyegun would not stand emerged on Thursday February 22, when the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, announced that the governors of APC, were backing the party’s national chairman, in the rift being engineered by one of the chieftains of the party.
“The governors and majority of APC members, have confidence in our national chairman, Chief Odigie Oyegun,” Bello was quoted as saying. A few days later, the media was also awash with the story of the extension of the tenure of the national chairman of APC, John Odigie- Oyegun. This is how the Guardian reported it on its cover; “Odigie-Oyegun Survives Sack Plot, Gets Tenure Extension”. Similarly, LEADERSHIP reported it thus; “Oyegun Survives APC Power Play, Gets Tenure Extension”. That there were threats to the Oyegun-led NWC leadership was not in doubt. Nevertheless, the extension of his tenure, means that the NEC believes that he has done well for the party all things considered. That was the confirmation that the Edo-born politician will lead the charge for the victory of the APC once again in 2019 general election. Oyegun’s victory at the last NEC meeting of APC has however, not stopped his traducers from plotting yet again, as some of them have embarked on media campaigns to castigate and demonize his leadership. They are bound to fail again.
The President, who is the leader of the party is happy with him, the governors who are the leaders of the party in the states are happy with him, therefore the campaign of calumny by a few will not diminish the good works he has been doing in the over three and a half years as national chairman of the ruling party. It is those who are surreptitiously working against President Muhammadu Buhari that are most angry with Oyegun and this is basically because of his unflinching loyalty to the president and the party’s ideals.
He has also been accused of being too close and cozy to the governors as if the chairman of a ruling party should be at loggerheads with his state governors. Perhaps those who are angry over the cordial relationship between the national chairman and state governors want him to be at war with them so that they can have good reasons to oust him, hijack the party and use it for their pecuniary agenda! According to a leadership expert, Hsin-Yi Cohen, a good political leader is: “Someone who serves as an example of integrity and loyalty to the people they represent; someone who can resist the various temptations and lures of the political arena; someone of strong character, with both conscience and charisma; someone willing to listen to the needs of the common people; someone with the courage to stand up and say what needs to be said; someone who is willing to make difficult decisions for the greater good; an effective political leader with leadership style that focuses on coalition and building”.
Those who have worked closely with the APC national chairman can attest that he possesses the aforementioned qualities and more. Cohen also noted that an ineffective leadership is a leader who is a “hustler” – i.e. who uses manipulation to get what he wants, instead of inspiration and motivation. It was such hustlers that the NEC of APC rejected when it extended the leadership of Oyegun. Here is a glimpse of Oyegun’s life of struggle for a better Nigeria. As a patriot, Chief Oyegun has sacrificed his all to fight military dictatorship in Nigeria on the platform of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, where he was the secretary in the Diaspora.
He was in the vanguard fighting relentlessly to save the nation from the shackles of military oligarchy and dictatorship. He kept vigil so that Nigerians could regain their democratic rights. An uncompromising advocate of the total emancipation of man, he has always refused to be intimidated by the aggressive media campaign of his opponents. Dr Oyegun has brought his urbane civilised nature into the running of the APC. Despite what a selfish few think, the majority of APC leaders and membership have spoken. Chief John Oyegun is the best man for the job!