The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has described the endorsement of the former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, for the position of national chairman by some party stakeholders of the South-South zone as foolish and childish.
This is as the presidency is said to be in dilemma over who among the chairmanship aspirants to back, while a battle line has been drawn between some governors of the party and ministers over who emerges the next national chairman of the ruling party.
APC National Vice Chairman (South-South), Prince Hilliard Eta, had after a zonal stakeholders’ meeting of the party on Monday in Benin, Edo State capital, announced that Oshiomhole had been endorsed for the position of national chairman by the South-South caucus of the party.
But, Odigie-Oyegun, who spoke with correspondents in Abuja, yesterday, on Oshiomhole’s endorsement by the South-South caucus of the party, said no support for the former labour leader from Edo State government house can work or deter him.
His words: “It is childish, absolutely childish. The voting is done at the convention and not in state houses, not in government houses.”
He, however, declared that he is not begrudging the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, for supporting Oshiomhole, who is his benefactor.”
On whether he is seeking for re-election, Odigie-Oyegun said he has concluded consultation on his ambition to re-contest for the office of national chairman. “Well, I am going to know when the convention committee announces its programme and when I’m going to buy my form if I will re-contest, I will let you know. The consultation, I think, is concluded,” he said.
He also commented on his lack of acceptance in his state, saying: “They have their reasons for what they did and you have to respect their reasons however wrong it is.”
On whether he was bothered by the support for Oshiomhole by Edo State government, he said: “No it doesn’t because one of those who want my job is from Edo and he was the immediate past governor and he was very instrumental in installing the present governor, so I think it is a case of rub my back I rub your back that is playing out.”
Meanwhile, a source, who spoke with our correspondent, revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari, is yet to make up his mind on who to support among the four aspirants that have so far indicated interest for the ruling party’s national chairmanship. They are Odigie-Oyegun; Oshiomhole; former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Clement Ebiri and Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, but the battle seems to be between Odigie-Oyegun and Oshiomhole.
While it is alleged that the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is the one projecting the candidature of Oshiomhole, some governors of the party are said to be behind Odigie-Oyegun’s candidature.
The governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, had said that there are 12 APC governors behind the APC national chairman’s re-election. Although he did not mention the names of the governors, it is believed that they include Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Ibukunle Amosun (Ogun), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) and Aminu Masari (Katsina).