THISDAY

APC Chairmansh­ip: Oyegun Withdraws, Claims Tenure Elongation Would Have Served Better

- Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The National Chairman of the All Progressiv­es Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie Oyegun has said that his decision not to recontest for the office was not out of fear or any intimidati­on.

He also spoke about the raging crisis arising from the just concluded nationwide congresses saying that the party would have avoided the situation if the option of extending tenure of party executives was taken.

Speaking at the late evening interactiv­e session with journalist­s yesterday at his residence in Abuja, Oyegun said if the proposal to have the current executives remain in acting position at the expiration of their tenure was upheld, the party would have avoided the crisis.

When asked if his decision to throw in the towel was precipitat­ed by the President’s preference for Oshiomhole and the governors sudden shift of their support, Oyegun said: No I wasn't intimidate­d. I rather felt proud that I enjoyed support of majority of party stakeholde­rs before the situation changed. I think it is normal in politics, " he said.

He said instead he felt proud that he had support of majority of APC stakeholde­rs before President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his preference for an elective convention and to back former Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole as his successor.

Oyegun said he has accepted the Situation in good faith, adding he would spend out his remaining days till June 25 when the new executives would be sworn in.

"I have taken this decision without prejudice to my commitment to the party in helping to solve some of the subsisting and emerging difficult issues and my ability to continue to provide necessary leadership. However, I believe that the party faces difficult days ahead, and all critical stakeholde­rs in its leadership would be required to bind together for a common purpose.

"Therefore, the less contentiou­s our national convention is, the better for the party. I have always sought to be part of solving the problem of the APC; I do not intend to be part of the problem for APC to solve. It is for this reason that I hereby declare that I will not be seeking reelection as the national chairman of the APC," he said.

However, Oyegun said that with the benefit of hindsight, that option would have only postponed

the evil days as it were.

"If this decision was sustained, we probably would have achieved our objective. But we would only

have succeeded also in postponing the evil days as it were. In retrospect, I am inclined to agree with the viewpoint that even a young political party as ours need to be subjected to the crucible of these contestati­ons, which in any case is the hallmark of progressiv­e politics,' he said.

He pointed out that the experience the party would draw from

managing the contending interests, could only help to make the party stronger and more resilient.

Speaking on way forward, Oyegun said: "We have conducted the Congresses in all states of the federation and the FCT; and we have set a date for the national convention. Now that the convention committee has invited interested aspirants to

obtain forms to contest into the various national positions in our party, it has become necessary for me to state my position. I have consulted widely with my families, friends and associates. Even though, I had the desire to recontest as the national chairman of the party, I have decided that it is ultimately in the interest of the party for me to withdraw from the race".

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