The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Oyegun, has reacted to the call by a former Lagos governor and a leader of the party, Ahmed Tinubu, that he should resign. Mr. Oyegun said the national chairman of a party cannot be removed on the pages of newspapers. He said Mr. Tinubu’s letter accusing him of highhandedness and being a mole in the party, was a “bit too harsh”, but said the two politicians merely had a “difference of opinion”.
Mr. Tinubu came down hard on Mr. Oyegun in a lengthy statement last week, accusing the party chairman of betrayal and fraud.
“Evidently, some errant members believe promises and vows are mere words to be easily spoken and more easily broken.
“Chairman John Oyegun has breached these good pledges in a most overt and brazen display,” Mr. Tinubu said. “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 for the sake of a few naira.”
Mr. Oyegun responded on Tuesday at the presidential villa after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The method of getting rid of a national chairman if that is what I will call it, are spelt out in the constitution. They don’t take place on the pages of newspapers,” Mr. Oyegun told journalists. He however insisted that there was no rift with Mr. Tinubu.
“We have differences of opinion, differences of perception and I think that is normal. Yes, I agree that the nature of the statement was a bit harsh,” he said. Asked whether the party would reverse its decision on the Ondo election primaries, since it was causing crisis in the party, Mr. Oyegun said, “It is only INEC that can make U-turn on Ondo”.
Mr. Tinubu had faulted Mr. Oyegun’s refusal to heed the recommendation of the party’s panel to cancel the Ondo primary that produced Rotimi Akeredolu as the party’s candidate. He called for Mr. Odigie-Oyegun’s resignation. Mr. Odigie-Oyegun, who refused to go into details of what happened in the Ondo primary, told journalists that the report was with the Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar, the chairman of the primaries committee.
The two party leaders had met on Monday at President Muhammadu Buhari’s book launch in Abuja. It was their first meeting since Mr. Tinubu issued the statement on Mr. Oyegun.
On allegations that he sponsored some youth who protested at the party’s headquarters against the alleged highhandedness of Mr. Tinubu, the APC national chairman said, “God forbid, anybody who knows me knows that that is not my style. I’m equally shocked and I’m going to look into it and find out why and who is behind it”.
Asked if the handshake and pleasantries shared with Mr. Tinubu at Buhari’s book launch were genuine, he replied, “Do they know how far back our association goes? Do they know that we were in the trenches together in the NADECO days? Why can’t people who have mutual respect for each other have different opinions? All we had was difference of opinions, yes it was expressed a bit harshly but that doesn’t remove the basic fact that we have worked together for a very long time”