PDP Will Never Get A Shot At Power Again - Oyegun - EazyFeeds

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Tuesday 6 June 2017

PDP Will Never Get A Shot At Power Again - Oyegun

The national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun speaks on the difficulties that confronted the party in the past two years, and concludes the party has weathered the storm. He also assures the party will deliver on its campaign promises

How has the All Progres­sives Congress (APC), fared in the past two years?

It has been challenging and it has been delicate. But I think that at the end of two years, I can say that we have largely succeeded in molding a party which is now ready to do battle in the next general elections. The party has now been democratized. In fact, the inclination of President Muhammadu Buhari - start­ing from his own primaries is that we should run the party as democratically as possible; upholding the constitution in the process. So today, the party is much stronger than it used to be. I had to con­tain things in a way that no major group ceases to func­tion within the party; that no major group leaves the party, because that would have spelt doom for the party.
We are in a situation where people have started to realise that they need the party more than the party needs them, and that has also helped the growth of the party. I per­sonally think that the party is stronger today. Like I said, we are more broadly based now. We have been able to get support from a lot of the sig­nificant players in the South- East, and we are working on the South-South now, and the support is building up. If we have an election in Cross River state today, we are likely to win, and also in quite a few other places.
I think the only messy place in the South-South is Delta State. We have had tremen­dous problems there because the PDP has managed to very deeply infiltrate the APC ranks so there are moles and agents all over the place, but that is something we are also working on now with a view to strengthening the party in that state. We are still building it; spreading its support base, and creating the kind of party where every leader and mem­ber has a sense and a feeling of ownership, of belonging, and of participation.

Since APC is made up of different groups, do you think any of these groups will pull out from the party?

No. There is no likelihood that any group that make up APC will pull out from the party, but should it happen, the threat to the party today - the damage it will do to the party today - will be very min­imal. Which part of the coun­try? Is it the South West? Tell me, who controls the South-West? Who controls Ogun state? Who controls Ondo state? Who will control Osun state? Who is likely to control Ekiti state in terms of who will be the next governor? So the mainstream of the party is now well placed and the point has been proven clearly from Ondo state that in a free and fair election. no party will beat the APC. The APC has been totally democratized. We now have a totally new and stronger party.

You did say that the Ondo State governorship election marked a turning point in the challenges the party had faced. Are you saying it re­united the party leadership with the Presidency and if so, would that give credence to the allegation that the Presi­dency and the party worked together to dislodge Tinubu in the Ondo governorship election?

Nobody worked to dis­lodge anybody. We worked to establish permanently that the party is supreme. When any part of the party wants to prove that it is larger than the party, then the party has to stand and fight. The President has always said that the party is supreme. One of you asked to know my relationship with Mr. President, and I said that the relationship is cordial. We are getting on very well.
We had worked together from my civil service days, so I know him better than a lot of people know him. So, we get on very well. We com­plained about lack of funds to run the party..… again that is the nature of the man. He wouldn’t call the minister of petroleum to say make sure you give money to the party. No. He wouldn’t do that. He doesn’t want to be involved in anything that has the pos­sibility of being shady; that is our President. We elected a symbol; we elected someone whose personality we want to use as a light house for the rest of the country.
That is his major contribu­tion to the change agenda - his integrity, strength of charac­ter are the major thing. But it is now left for us politicians to tap on his strong points which I have enumerated, but you know in politics there are other things that needed to be done.

Why hasn’t there been this robust reward system in the APC such that will firstly shore up your authority, and also bring cohesion among party members?

I think you have asked the most difficult question any­body can ask today, and I am not too sure now from which angle to answer it. But first, I must be very honest and frank with you. The reward system - the appointments haven’t been as pleasant to the party as it ought to be. There are cases where individuals, who are even currently in court with our elected officials, have been given appointments. We have cases where three people from a particular state - from the same local government area - I think even from the same ward - have been given appointments.
The more important one is that we have a lot of cases were faces not known to the party during the most difficult part of this struggle, have largely gotten appointment. So, it has caused a lot of disquiet within the party. I have been abused; called names, and received text messages of all manner of nastiness. I have gotten peti­tions in writing over this issue.
We have brought this to the attention of government and it’s my hope and prayer that the appointments that remain, will almost completely – un­less where specialized knowl­edge is required – be devoted to rewarding those who really, actually toiled – those whose faces I saw, those whose faces my state chairmen saw work­ing, taking risks during the arduous and long period of the campaign. I should say that one has to be brutally honest sometimes in matters like this. That is the situation.

One is surprised to hear that you have a cordial relation­ship with President Buhari. We heard that while he was in London on his first medical leave, he totally refused your coming to see him in London. How do you react to this?

You are right and wrong! I was to go to London to see him, and he said ‘look there is no need’ because he too knows the people he is dealing with. He knows those that have to see him because they need to see him, and he knows that be­tween us, there isn’t that kind of pressure and necessity. Yes, I thought I said: do you think I should come and see you, and he said don’t worry I will be coming back soon? And for me, that was good enough.
I know maybe from the point of view of PR, one should go there, sit down and get photographed, maybe if you look at it from that point of view, you do have a point. But what is important is that when he did finally arrived Abuja from London, he per­sonally ensured that I was one of the very few people to come and welcome him. What more do you need?

Why has the APC not been able to dismantle the cabal that is said to exist in the Pres­idency?

I am more concerned about the economy than talking about cabal. In any case, we are still looking for the cabal (laughter). When we find members of the cabal, we’ll let you know.

What strategies are you putting in place to get a presi­dential candidate for the next general election because from the situation on the ground, one is not very sure if Presi­dent Buhari will contest in 2019?

Why build bridges when there is no river to cross? Why don’t you wait until you come close to the river, then you build the bridge. The most critical thing today is our prayer to our good Lord to re­store the President to robust, good health; You won’t be do­ing the President any good by thinking about whether or not he will be president in 2019. His most important need today, is to get robust good health. When we get to 2019, it is for him to decide if he wants to run or if he doesn’t want to run. The party is there for him, and he will consult the party if he wants to run. If he wants to run, yes he runs. If he doesn’t want to run, the country is not bereft of capable hands. Today, he is not thinking about 2019, rather he wants his health to be fully, totally and completely restored. I am sure he will give anything just to have his full health back. Let’s terminate it at that point. When 2019 comes, we’ll deal with the is­sues that arise.
The APC made about 81 electoral campaign promises, and as we celebrate two years of this administration most Nigerians are complaining of hardship and hunger in the land. Could it be that the APC under-rated the quantum of problems Nigeria faced and is still facing when it made those promises?
No, we didn’t under rate the problems, neither did you. Un­less you have this gift of proph­esy, and the gift of prescience you couldn’t have known what was coming. If I ask you to de­scribe the situation in 2015, I am sure you won’t add that the crude oil market was going to collapse. Did you foresee that? We knew we were going to take over a battered econo­my…. Honestly, if the media want to do this country a fa­vour, you should tell the PDP people that they ought to hang their heads in shame. And you should pray that we never again have a government like that of the PDP.

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