• We’re Not Threatened, Says PDP
• Ikimi Shuns Convention Venue
FORMER Governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, Saturday, emerged the National Chairman of the opposition All progressive Congress (APC).
His emergence, however, did not go down well with former Minister of External Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi, who lost out due to the consensus deal struck by chieftains of the party on the position of the National Chairman.
Ikimi who apparently felt let down by members of the party’s top echelon when it mattered most was nowhere to be seen at the Eagle Square venue of the convention when the initially favoured former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Timipreye Sylva, who enjoyed the support of governors withdrew from the race, and threw his weight behind Oyegun, who was propped up by leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at about 11.30pm on Friday.
In his acceptance speech entitled: ‘We must set forth at dawn’ at the end of the rancour-free convention, Oyegun extended a hand of fellowship to Ikimi who he acknowledged “hosted and chaired the Merger Negotiations Committee and finally succeeded in bringing into being, the APC, a feat that has never before been successfully accomplished in Nigeria.”
He said it behooves the supporters of the party to join hands in ensuring the victory of the APC at the 2015 poll in the interest of the citizenry.
Lamenting the state of affairs in the polity, he noted: “Ladies and gentlemen, our party has much work to do. The state of our nation is highly disturbing. It could be said with some justification that our great country, Nigeria, is on the ropes. A nation blessed by the Almighty with all the key endowments to make any nation great has been virtually brought to its knees by corruption that is unbridled and will qualify for the Guinness Books of Records’ resource mismanagement, directionless and what some have described as cluelessness.
“As if these woes are not enough, our situation has been compounded by the amazingly visionless national leadership that has been inflicted on Nigerians by the Peoples Democratic Party since the dawn of our latest democratic dispensation. In this past decade and a half of genuine suffering, Nigerians have been frustrated by the fact that there was no alternative national party of comparable strength to rescue them from the clutches of the PDP.”
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has congratulated the newly elected All Progressive Congress (APC) National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun; National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and other officers who emerged in the early hours of yesterday during the APC’s National Convention in Abuja.
The PDP leadership in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, yesterday, charged the new officers to ensure a vibrant opposition devoid of bitterness, desperation and divisive tendencies.
The statement also advised the new leadership to “ensure an issue based opposition that will purposefully and constructively engage and challenge the PDP with decency and maturity as prescribed by democratic tenets and principles.”
Stating that Nigerians deserve a vibrant and patriotic opposition driven only by national interest, the PDP charged the new APC leadership to “put the unity and welfare of Nigerians ahead of other considerations and jettison all divisive tendencies including unguarded statements that overheat the polity and pitch Nigerians against one another.”
The PDP, however, asserted its pre-eminence position and widest acceptance
among Nigerians across board despite the APC new leadership, which it said, posed no threat at all.
The ruling party said it remained the only party that has continued to be committed to national interest, as well as providing level playing ground for all Nigerians to achieve their aspirations irrespective of religious, ethnic and gender considerations.
The new officials of the APC are: Chief Odigie Oyegun (National Chairman); Barr. Ogbuta Ado (Deputy National Legal Adviser); Mrs. Rachel Akpabio (Zonal Woman Leader/South South); Hon. Tunde Asagbo (Zonal Youth Leader/South South); Mr. Timi Frank (Ex-Officio); Mr. Hilliard E. Eta (National Vice Chairman/South South); Mr. Orji Ngofa (National Deputy Secretary); Barr. Muiz Banire (National Legal Adviser); Engr. Segun Oni (Deputy National Chairman); Alhaji Tajuddeen Bello (National Financial Secretary); Mrs. Kemi Nelson (Zonal Women Leader); Mr. Adedokun Oluwasegun (Zonal Youth Leader); and Mr. Razak Ayobami Salinsile (Ex-Officio).
Others are: Sen. Osita Izunaso (National Organising Secretary); Dr.George Moghalu (National Auditor); Hon Sunday Jacob Chukwu (Deputy Finance Secretary); Mrs. Augustina Adike (Deputy National Women Leader); Hon Emma Eneakwu (National Vice Chairman/South East); Mrs. Helen Ojukwu (Zonal Women Leader); Mr. Paul Chukwuma (Zonal Youth Leader); Prince B. B. Akpugo (Ex-Officio); Alhaji Lai Mohammed (National Publicity Secretary); Hajiya Ramatu Aliyu Tijjani (National Women Leader); Alhaji Lado Abubakar Suleja (Deputy National Treasurer); Mr. Jock Alamba (Deputy Welfare Secretary); Mr. Zakari Idde (National Vice Chairman/North Central); Hajiya Hassana (Zonal Woman Leader/North Central); Mr. Terver Adinge (Zonal Youth Leader); Hon Nelson Alapa (Ex-officio).
Also on the list are: Mai Mala Buni (National Secretary); Dasuki Ibrahim Jalo (National Youth Leader); Deputy National Auditor (No candidate); Eng. B. B. Lawal (National Vice Chairman/North East); Hajiya Amina Manga (Zonal Woman Leader/North East); Mr. Michael Tanko (Zonal Youth Leader/North East); and Hon. Ibrahim Adam (Ex-officio/North East)
Oyegun added: “Tonight I say to Nigerians: ‘your wait is over. Your prayers have not been in vain. Help is on the way.’ The APC is here! In 2015, Nigerians will finally have the opportunity to kick out a long ruling party that has, among other things, failed to provide them with stable power supply, failed to provide them with security that will enable them sleep peacefully on their beds at night, failed to provide employment for millions of Nigerian youths, and failed to stem the tide of corruption that is robbing Nigeria’s children of their future.
“In 2015, the All Progressives Congress will provide Nigerians with a visionary, dedicated and people-oriented leadership that will liberate the nation from PDP’s rule of poverty and oppression. Under the stewardship of the APC, Nigeria will progress and Nigerians will thrive. This is our sacred pledge to Nigerians tonight.
“But we must not be under any illusion; our work will not be easy. The very task of salvaging Nigeria will, on its own, be hard because the rot is deep. But the task will be made even harder by the fact that we have, as opponents, a political party that will stop at nothing to frustrate our mission. We know the make-up, the habits, the philosophy and the mindset of our opponents. We know the extent they will go to cling on to power. And we know the immensity of the resources at their disposal. But because the resources they misuse are resources that should rightly be used to improve the lives of the Nigerian people, those resources will not be effective in frustrating the people’s hopes for liberation.
“But for us to succeed, dear brothers and sisters, we must pledge this night to work together as a team. We must embrace the ideals of unity, oneness and harmony, and the spirit of give and take. We must learn to let go of past grudges and previous grievances and move forward together as members of the same family. And so tonight, I call for the healing of rifts and the smoothening of cracks. I call for forgiveness of offences and injuries.
“I call for unity in our great party. I call for our collective embrace of a common vision. I call for a commitment to work hand in hand to accomplish the task before us. If we fail in our task due to disunity and acrimony, it is not only ourselves we would have let down. We would have betrayed the hopes and aspirations of longsuffering Nigerians. And we must never lose sight of the fact that the collective destiny of the Nigerian people is far more important than our individual or group interests, ambitions or grievances.
“Because the road ahead of us is long and hard, we must heed the wise advice of our esteemed Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka: ‘We must set forth at dawn’. And so, whereas tonight we party to celebrate the successful conclusion of the National Convention of our party, early tomorrow morning, we must rise with the dawn and set forth on our patriotic mission to set Nigerians free, and usher in the new Nigeria of our dreams.”
• We’re Not Threatened, Says PDP