Bolaji Yusuf Ayinla, the member representing Mushin 11 Federal Constituency of Lagos state on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has backed the recent call by the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun should tender his resignation.
Tinubu had accused the APC chairman of betraying the trust on him. In reaction to Tinubu’s statement, Ayinla said Oyegun was not qualified to lead the ruling party.
According to him, “Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu will not make a decision without verifying what he is saying. This is a man that has struggled and suffered to build this party and he has tried all his possible best, with his health, his life, he has put everything that needs to be put for the development of the party. Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“And somebody will now come overnight, blackmailing the party, running down the party under the false pretence that he is steering the ship of the party. What he has done is very good. It is good for the APC, it is good for Nigerians.
“It is always good, let people know where you belong to. If you are in PDP, let people know, if you in APC, let people know. You can’t be fooling yourself and be thinking that you are fooling all the nation, it shouldn’t be.
“Let the country know where you genuinely belong. We want a clean and clear person as a chairman who will steer the ship of the party. Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu has found out, he has checked, he has been informed, he has seen what transpired in the Ondo APC governorship primaries.
“This is a man that has helped many people and developing Nigeria to the level that we are now. We cannot afford to get somebody who is not sincere to lead Nigeria, to lead APC. I am in total support of Ahmed Bola Tinunbu.
“I am in support of the call for the resignation of the national chairman. If you are a leader of an organisation, and people working under you are not working genuinely, sincerely, if you tell them to resign, why not if not for transparency, for honesty, for sincerity, that is what he said, that is why I am supporting him.”
In the same vein, a member of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to speak out on the crisis rocking the party to save it from collapse.
Some APC youth leaders from Ondo state also took a swipe at APC National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun for his role in the crisis rocking the chapter.
Frank described Odigie-Oyegun as acting incompetently, adding that the call on him to resign by former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu justifies his position “that Oyegun cannot lead the party”.
Frank said an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting should be summoned to resolve all contending issues.
He said the President’s silence was not in the party’s interest, pointing out that another one year of Oyegun’s leadership would spell doom for it in the 2019 general elections since more crises will be unresolved.
Frank said: “I want to use this medium to appeal to Mr. President because it has got to a situation where he can no longer be silent on the party’s internal issues.
“The President must speak out and save our party. He is the leader of the party and must not leave the party in the hands of these people that cannot resolve any crisis.
“Every party member is loyal to the President and he should see the need to immediately call an emergency NEC meeting to enable us come together and look at these allegations. They are not just mere allegations, but very critical ones which must be looked into by the party and position taken.
“If we don’t do something, even APC supporters in Ondo State will sabotage the process for us because they are not happy. We must do everything possible to bring all aggrieved persons together. If we don’t take emergency steps to resolve these issues, we will have ourselves to blame.”
Arguing that he had been vindicated by Tinubu’s position, Frank said: “Today, we have seen one of the founding fathers of our party, a national leader, agreeing with my earlier call that Oyegun should resign as national chairman. That should let you know that I forsaw what they didn’t see. I knew from the outset that he could not take the party anywhere.
“The truth is coming our today and it has shown that Oyegun cannot take this party to where the party wants to get to. Are we still going to deny that there is a crisis now that the national leader and founding father of the party has come up to make his position clear that Oyegun should resign? Is it not clear that there is crisis in the party?
“Tell me one problem that the APC under Oyegun has been able to resolve since we started having issues. As far as I am aware, APC under Oyegun has not been able to resolve one crisis in this party. There is crisis everywhere in this party which we cannot hide any longer.
“What has happened has shown clearly that Oyegun cannot do the job. A few days ago, Mr. President launched Change begins with me campaign. But for us, the change has to start from within the party so that Nigerians can follow.
“Based on this weighty allegation from our national leader and founding father of the party, I want to restate my earlier position that we must call an emergency NEC meeting.
“If Oyegun knows that he has nothing to hide and that whatever Tinubu has said about him is not true, I am challenging him to immediately call an emergency NEC meeting to enable us come together and look ourselves in the face and tell ourselves the truth and see how we can resolve this internal crisis.
“If we cannot resolve this crisis now, we may never be able to resolve it. Since the last meeting we held six months ago, none of the decisions reached at the NEC meeting has been implemented. That has shown incompetence on Oyegun’s leadership.
“We agreed at that meeting that there should be a mini convention to fill vacant positions among others such as downsizing the BOT and having an Elders Council. Today, if I have issues, where will I go to?”
The youth leaders from 18 local government areas of Ondo state queried why Odigie-Oyegun overruled the verdict of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) that a fresh governorship primary should be conducted.
At a news conference attended by the APC leaders, their deputy chairman, Saheed Lateef, urged the party’s national leadership to as a matter of principle and ethos of the APC uphold the recommendations of the appeal panel.
The panel had affirmed that the election was compromised with fake names in the delegates’ list. It consequently called for fresh election.
Six of the 11-member committee of the NWC had recommended nullification of the primary election and conduct of a fresh one.
But Odigie-Oyegun reportedly suppressed the majority decision and upheld the “disputed” poll in favour of Mr. Olurotimi Akeredolu (SAN).
“Since we believe in the anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari, this must reflect and should be extended to the internal arrangement of the progressives party.
“Our position is not against any individual, but the process that characterised the primaries,” Lateef said.
The youth leader said the position was reinforced by their commitment to the principle of democracy that emphasised that “minority cannot overrule the majority decision”.
Lateef noted that the struggle to ensure the formation of progressive government in the Sunshine State should not be defeated because of selfish interest of some individuals.
Meanwhile, the embattled National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, is to consult President Muhammadu Buhari over the attack launched against him by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vanguard has learned from party sources in Abuja.
Odigie-Oyegun, the man at the centre of the controversy, on his part, vowed, yesterday, not to lose his cool on the matter, saying he would not respond to Tinubu, who he called a respected party leader until after the crucial governorship election taking place in his home state, Edo, tomorrow, September 28.
Tinubu had in a communiqué from his office on Sunday night, rebuked Odigie-Oyegun for allegedly sabotaging the wheels of democracy in Ondo state, following the decision to forward Chief Rotimi Akeredolu’s name as the party’s governorship candidate, despite claims by the party’s Ondo Governorship Appeal Panel that the delegates’ list used for the primaries was compromised.
Oyegun is reported to have said that “Tinubu is a well-respected leader of our party, so I cannot be seen speaking evil against him. I have to consult properly with other leaders of the party before we make any definite statement. Again, you know we have a crucial election here in Edo, which is my priority right now.”
Though the national chairman did not name President Buhari, party sources in Abuja, however, told Vanguard that the President was on top of the list of those to be consulted.
He continued: “We don’t want to lose focus, and I know Asiwaju also wants us to win because we all have worked hard for this. So, maybe after the election, if there is need, I will speak, if no need, I will relax. “But all I can say now is that most of the things said in the papers about me are not true.
I have always believed in internal democracy, that the credibility of primaries must be taken seriously. “I believe that if primaries of parties are not credible, it may derail any democracy, so I don’t play with these things at all. Everybody knows me, and I don’t joke with my credibility, and I have tried to maintain it.
“Like I said, Asiwaju is our leader, and we all hold him in high esteem, so I will never join issues with him. “But may be after Edo elections, after we must have emerged victorious, we may speak on some of the issues raised. So there is no problem at all. Edo is the focus for now, and as you know, this is my state, so it is a very serious election for us.
“I want to be allowed to remain focussed, then after the election, we can speak,”Oyegun stated. The issue is, however, raising mixed responses in the party hierarchy.
A member of the National Working Committee (NWC), of the party, who sought to exonerate the national chairman of the allegations raised against him, revealed that a brief on the issues that led to Tinubu’s attack was being prepared for onward transmission by the national chairman to the President once he returned from Benin after the governorship election.