Former National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has raised the alarm that the current crisis rocking the ruling party constitutes a “dangerous threat” to the various achievements recorded by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration since 2015.
Odigie-Oyegun said that the crisis underscored an urgent need for the APC National Executive Committee to meet and institute a Caretaker Committee whose main responsibility will be to organise a special National Convention by invoking “the doctrine of necessity.”
The ex-Edo State governor in a statement titled “BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE”, urged leaders of the party, particularly the state governors and President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately halt the “disgraceful and humiliating charade” occurring within the National Secretariat of the party.
Odigie-Oyegun said, “The All Progressives Congress was built on the blood and sweat of Nigerians, young and old, too numerous to count, who were willing to give everything in the service of progressive politics. We must not allow their great sacrifices to go in vain.
“Today, almost every member of the party feels a deep sense of alienation and dissatisfaction with the state of the party. It hurts deeply to see how hollow it now rings to mention our party and ‘change’ together. The time to act is now, before it is too late.”
He expressed fears that the APC was fast becoming the single most dangerous threat to the legacy of the government and President Buhari.
“As former National Chairman of the party, I remain proud of the great strides of our government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. However, I am afraid to note that the legacy of a government is defined mostly by its politics rather than its achievements in other areas, no matter how lofty those achievements are.
“Our recent history bears enough testimony to this reality. The military government of President Ibrahim Babangida is today remembered mainly for the June 12, 1993 elections and its aftermath.”
He said he had come to realise that those who felt more entitled to the party were no longer capable of hearing “alternative viewpoints” other than those counselled by their “ego and their self-serving interests”, which, he added, they have promoted over all other considerations, including that of common decency.
The former APC national chairman said no political party unwilling to accommodate competing ideas and provide the space for healthy debates would survive for long.
He added, “In the last few months we have watched how the party has brazenly subverted its own principles of internal democracy and flagrant violation of every rule of decent political engagement in a manner that makes everyone associated with its promise of change liable to be accused of either hypocrisy or apostasy.
“We must therefore remember that our victory in the 2015 Presidential elections and the peaceful transfer of power that followed was a major testament of progress in our nation’s journey towards real democracy.
“This unprecedented democratic achievement has since inspired progressive forces all over Africa and has become a standard by which democracy is measured in the rest of the continent.
“Unfortunately, it appears that while other countries around us have marched ahead in the democratic journey, we have largely regressed.
“Because we were the political party that benefitted from a system that offered the opposition a chance, everyone expected us to show unwavering dedication to broaden the democratic space for everyone; to ensure that equity and justice take precedence over all other considerations and to ensure that our party truly functions as the vehicle for aggregating and managing contending political interests.
“Unfortunately, what we have witnessed from our party is the steady erosion of even the very basic tenets of democratic principles in a manner that could turn our watershed victory of 2015 to the waterloo of our hard won democracy.
“As a major stakeholder and as a founding member of the All Progressives Congress, I have made various efforts to add my voice to those of several other well-meaning leaders of the party, in ensuring that the ideals and principles that we fought for are not completely thrown overboard.”