Twenty-four hours after a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, accused the National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun, of sabotaging the reconciliation process he’s leading, Oyegun met with President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed-doors in the Presidential Villa, yesterday.
The APC Chairman, who arrived the Presidential Villa at 3pm, left around 3.50 pm, avoiding journalists who were eager to ask him questions.
It also emerged yesterday that Oyegun has acknowledged Tinubu’s letter and wished him well in his presidential assignment.
There was no information on the nature of the discussion Buhari had with Oyegun but it is believed that the president might have cautioned him on the implication of frustrating the crucial reconciliation process in the party less than a year before the general election.
Tinubu’s letter alleging sabotage of the reconciliation process he was assigned to lead by Buhari shocked many to the marrows as Oyegun as the national chairman of the party was expected to be at the forefront of the reconciliation process.
But the alleged hostility towards Tinubu by Oyegun in the course of discharging his presidential assignment was not surprising to some others as there has been no love lost between both men since the latter allegedly conspired to frustrate the choice of the former’s governorship choice in Ondo State in 2016.
In expression of his frustration over the process which had schemed out his candidate at the primary, Tinubu called for Oyegun’s resignation at the time.
Ironically, Tinubu it was who staked his neck for Oyegun’s emergence as the party’s national chairman before the 2015 election, a move which pitted him against Chief Tom Ikimi and led to lkimi’s exit from APC.
I Wish You Well, Odigie-Oyegun Replies Tinubu
Meanwhile, apparently accepting Buhari’s plea not to engage the former governor of Lagos State, Tinubu, over a letter he addressed to him, accusing him of undermining his efforts at reconciling aggrieved members of the party, Odigie-Oyegun, yesterday merely acknowledged Tinubu’s letter and wished him well in his presidential assignment.
In his letter dated February 23, 2018, titled “Action and Conduct Weakening the Party from Within’’, which he personally assigned, the APC National Chairman wrote: “I thank you for your letter dated February 21, 2018, for your prayer and good wishes for my health. I wish you the same and pray that our good God keeps you strong and grant you His peace.
“Let me once again formally congratulate you on the peace making assignment Mr. President has entrusted you with.
“It is most challenging but I believe you will ultimately justify the confidence reposed in you by Mr. President. In this, you have my fullest support. Be assure, dear Asiwaju, of my highest regards now and always.’’
Tinubu, in his eight-page letter dated February 21, which was copied to the President, Vice-President, Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, accused Odigie-Oyegun of taking actions aimed at sabotaging his presidential assignment.
Specifically, he accused the national chairman of not cooperating with him, saying some of his unilateral actions were capable of worsening the situation in some of the crisis-ridden states.
Saying he approached his assignment with an open mind, Tinubu expressed worry that Odigie-Oyegun’s response was cynical and unhelpful.
“Upon my appointment, I gave the president my word that I would work diligently and objectively to achieve the goal set before me. In this vein, my first port of call after receiving my assignment was our party’s national secretariat to present myself before the NWC with you as one of its members by virtue as the chairman of the party’’, Tinubu had stated in his letter.
He also outlined his position on the state of the party and the way forward, saying the solution laid in a balanced appreciation of its daunting challenges.
He said: “My position was and is that we can only restore the party by resolving its current deficiencies in an unbiased, neutral manner that allows us to strengthen our internal democracy by annealing those internal institutions and processes vital to such internal fairness. I stated this position then and I still hold to it with all sincerity.”
Tinubu had suggested that Odigie-Oyegun was not similarly persuaded, contending that the national chairman was apparently incapable of measuring up to his leadership responsibility.