Monday, June 23, 2014 5:19 pm
While formally assuming office last Wednesday after he was elected the first substantive chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the previous weekend, John Odigie-Oyegun promised to run a 24-hour administration.
Really, as the chairman of Nigeria’s main opposition party, his work is cut out for him for every of those 24 hours leading to the next general elections scheduled for early next year.For one, barely a week after his emergence, Oyegun led his party to the crucial Ekiti State gubernatorial election last Saturday and about a month from now, the new APC Chairman will also be expected to anchor the party’s contest in a similar election in Osun State. Ability of the party to retain the two gubernatorial seats will no doubt be brilliant outings for the Oyegun leadership. With that done, the new APC chairman will now be confronted with what is unarguably his major challenge – getting his party ready for its first major electoral test in the impending general election.
Even at that, the immediate challenge of the new APC chairman may not be so much how to kick out the well-entrenched Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, out of power at the federal level. As shown by various indications, it will be to cement the cracks and dissensions in the ranks of APC which seem to have somehow deepened with the conclusion of the party’s maiden national convention.
Just as Oyegun and other members of his team were being sworn in last week for example, Chief Tom Ikimi, a former Foreign Affairs minister who played a key role in the merger of the three parties which led to the formation of APC, was issuing a statement expressing his dissatisfaction with the process that led to the emergence of the Oyegun-led National Working Committee of the party. The former minister had indicated his interest in contesting for the position of the National Chairman of APC, alongside three others at the convention.
But Ikimi did not submit the form he bought to signify his interest in contesting for the election to the Alhaji Karawu Baraje-led sub-committee on election of the National Convention. Indeed, the Edo chief was not present at the Eagle Square, Abuja venue of the Convention.
Ikimi is not the only one aggrieved by the outcome of the APC National Convention. In the same boat with him is Ali Modu Sheriff, former governor of Borno State and chief backer of Ikimi for the position of APC national chairman. The former governor, it was also gathered, felt he and Ikimi have not been given enough recognition for their contribution to the formation of the mega opposition party.
But contrary to this view, former vic-president Atiku Abubakar, who was alleged to also be one of Ikimi supporters, said the affairs of the Convention and emergence of members of the National Executive Committee were done in a transparent manner. Atiku made the claim in a statement of solidarity to the new APC executive last Monday. According to him, the elections were conducted without rancour, adding that the level of maturity demonstrated by the APC followers was vidence of their commitment to decent democratic conduct.
Also, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who was speculated to be one of those left in the cold by the outcome of the convention, has denied that he is aggrieved with the party. Rather, the governor said, the outcome of the convention has made the party stronger.
Sources within the party told this magazine that the leadership is still suspicious of Sheriff, especially based on his closeness to the presidency and PDP leaders, hence the need to keep him at arm’s length from wherekey decisions are taken. The former governor’s alleged link to the emergence of Boko Haram insurgency is also said to be another albatross on his neck.
It was gathered that the pendulum of the APC chairmanship swung in the direction of Oyegun based on the former governor’s democratic credentials and integrity. A former federal permanent secretary, Oyegun was the first governor of Edo State, on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SD, during the aborted Third Republic. He joined the defunct All Peoples Party which later transformed into All Nigeria Peoples Party on Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999. As a member of the ANPP he was running mate to the Presidential candidate of the party, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, in the 2011 general elections. He is reputed for following his conscience in matters of who to support in politics.
Apart from expressing the determination of the party to chase out the ruling PDP from power at the next general election, Oyegun, in his address after he was declared chairman, also harped on the necessity of the party members embracing “the ideals of unity, oneness and harmony, and the spirit of give and take” to enhance their victories at the polls.
Bu,t as noted by Sam Nda-Isaiah, newspaper publisher and columnist, the new national chairman of APC and other members of NWC can help rescue Nigeria from their current state of hopelessness if they diligently apply themselves to the task that has been placed on their shoulders and shun favouritism, corruption, cronyism and the temptation to feel accountable to special interests.
Members of APC National Working Committee
National Chairman – Chief John Odigie-Oyegun
Deputy National Chairman (South) – Engineer Segun Oni
Deputy Chairman (North) – Senator Lawal Shuaibu
National Secretary – Mallam Ibrahim Bala Gubi
Deputy National Secretary – Hon. Orji Ugofa
Vice-Chairman (South-West) – Akinyelure Pius Oloye
Vice-Chairman (North-West) – Barr. Inuwa Abdulkadir
Vice-Chairman (North Central) – Zakari Abdullahi Ede
National Treasurer – Bala Mohammed Gwagwaruwa
Deputy National Treasurer – Abubakar Lado Suleija
National Financial Secretary – Alhaji Tajudeen Olaitan Bello
Deputy National Financial Secretary – Hon. Sunday Chukwu
National Welfare Secretary – Dika Umaru Lada
Deputy National Welfare Secretary – Mr. Jock Alamba
National Publicity Secretary – Alhaji Lai Mohammmed
Deputy National Publicity Secretary – Comrade Timi Frank
National Legal Adviser – Mr. Muiz Banire
National Organising Secretary – Senator Osita Izunaso
Deputy National Organising Secretary – Alhaji. Sulieman Manko Hunkuyi
National Woman Leader – Hajia Ramatu Tijani
Deputy National Woman Leader – Helen Chika Adike
National Auditor – Chief George Moghalu
Deputy National Auditor – Barr. Oputa Ado
National Youth Leade – Ibrahim Dasuki Jalo
Zonal Youth Leader (South-East) – Paul Chukwuma
Zonal Youth Leader (North Central) – Mr. Tempe Adigwe
Zonal Youth Leader (North-West) – Barr. Shehu Marshal
Zonal Youth Leader (North-East) – Michael Tanko
Zonal Youth (South-West) – Adedotun Oluwasegun
Zonal Woman Leader (South-East) – Mrs. Helen Ojukwu
Zonal Woman Leader (North-East) – Fatima Danjuma
Zonal Woman Leader (North-West) – Aisha Kaita
Zonal Woman Leader (South-South) – Rachael Bassey Akpabio
Zonal Woman Leader (North Central) – Hajia Hassana
Zonal Woman Leader (South-West) – Kemi Nelson
Ex-Officio Member (South-East) – Nduka Anyanwu
Ex-Officio Member (North-East) – Mallam Mamman Isah Azare
Ex-Officio Member (North-West) – Alhaji Nasiru Haladu Danu
Ex-Officio Member (North Central) – Hon. Nelson Alampa.
Ex-Officio Member (South-West)- Mallam Razak Ayobamiseresile
National Vice-Chairman (South-East)- Emmanuel Eneukwu
National Vice-Chairman (South-South)- Iliad Atagbo
National Vice-Chairman (North-East)- Engr. Bibi Lawal