Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie Oyegun yesterday gave reasons why his party lost in the just-concluded governorship election in Edo State, which was won by incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This is as he attributed the APC’s loss in the epic contest to democracy at play where the people came out en masse to vote in line with their conscience, impunity at play and imposition of candidates at the party’s primaries. Speaking during an interview with journalists in Benin, the state capital, Oyegun deeply commended President Muhammadu Buhari for not interfering in the election process, but allowed the people’s will to prevail.
The party chieftain, however, bemoaned the level of insecurity in the country, insecurity In Nigeria is bad and cautions that some interests, individuals or groups who are against public good were behind the siege on the nation.
Meanwhile, he lauded Oba Ewuare II Ogidigan for his timely intervention to broker peace between the major actors and stakeholders of the APC and PDP, as well as the National Peace Committee (NPC), headed by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) with Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto Diocese as Secretary and Archbishop John Onayeikan; the media and international community, among others, for their role at ensuring that peace prevailed before, during and after the poll.
Oyegun added: “They threatened visa ban, threatened seizures and the rest of them. The elite among those who were fanning problems had to sit back and reconsider so we have a peaceful election. “It is democracy within the parties and impunity within the parties, attempts at imposition within the parties; these are the issues, just let things flow. I was a National Chairman and in most cases we didn’t have court cases after any election because things were done according to rule of law. If 10 people come that they want to contest for an office, why not allow them.
“It is when you start talking to them that the problem comes because the ego becomes massive and you start owing them because you persuaded them, you have to find some carrots to drop on the table for them. Allowing all aspirants to contest is the greatest peacemaker but if you start persuading them, problems will start and you start creating permanent issues within the party system and that has been my stand.”
Oyegun further noted: “I think this is the most peaceful election in this nation since the June 12 M.K.O. Abiola election and one will have to say that this is a precursor of the future, that all concerned should be allowed to have their say.
The greatest problem we have in this country has been lack of due process, impunity, lack of respect for the constitution within the various parties. “To my mind, we have regressed as far as party politics is concerned because we have departed from due process by not allowing free and fair selection processes within parties and if parties do not practice democracy, I do not see how they can preach democracy to the people of this nation.”