How Oyegun Emerged APC National Chairman As Crack Appears in the Party
Fresh facts have emerged on how a former Governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, emerged as the first substantive National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, in the early hours of Saturday.
It was learnt that the emergence of Odigie-Oyegun, as the consensus candidate for the post was an arrangement perfected by the leadership and executed by the Alhaji Kawu Baraje-led election sub-committee of the first National Convention Planning Committee, at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
Odigie-Oyegun’s victory was made possible by a powerful lobby led by a leader of the party, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. A few hours to the convention, a former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Tom Ikimi, was the only remaining contestant who could not be prevailed upon to step down for Oyegun.
One of the contestants, Chief Sam Jaja, told reporters at the convention venue that contestants and leaders of the party from the South-South geo-political zone “agreed to zone the position to Edo State.”
This, he said, reduced the number of strong contenders to two instead of the initial four, which included him and the former Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva. He, however, declined further comments on what else transpired after that.
It was learnt that Ikimi insisted on going ahead with the contest but could not get a majority of party leaders, who were more disposed to a consensus arrangement, to support him.
When it became obvious that he was in the minority, he stayed away from the convention ground to register his displeasure at the turn of events.
In line with an agreement brokered by the party leaders who met at the Sokoto State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro for several hours, the candidate of the APC Governors Forum, who is also a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Timipire Sylva, Chief Sam Jaja announced their decision to step down for Oyegun. This decision sealed the fate of Ikimi as Oyegun was announced as the sole candidate for the position.
However, Chief Ikimi’s position seems to have countered the sole candidacy of Chief Oyegun as he declared that he did not step down for anybody.
I did not step down for anybody because I was not there, Ikimi said while speaking to a newspaper correspondent.
Although he was not physically present at the convention venue, his absence could not have amounted to stepping down as physical presence is not what is required to contest for any position in the party.
Ikimi is not the only one dissatisfied with the conduct of the convention. Other notable party members that were absent at the convention were the former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, his erstwhile deputy and many other chieftains of the party from the state.
Some of they decided to stay away from the convention when they sensed irregularities in the conduct of the exercise.
Some believe the development could force some members to leave the party.
The next few days will determine the shape of things to come in the party as Chief Ikimi has said he will release a statement to that effect soon, while some others are considering legal options.
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