Oyegun to Buhari, APC: Address agitations for restructuring, secession

Former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief John Oyegun, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the ruling party to quickly address the agitations for restructuring and even those calling for separation.

The former Edo state governor said APC as the government of the federation, “must not give the impression that only military governments can fundamentally tamper with the basic structure of this nation.”

Speaking at the public presentation of a book titled “APC’s Litmus Tests” written by the director general of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGD) Mallam Salihu Moh. Lukman, Oyegun said the earlier those agitations are addressed show the responsiveness of the APC government.

“We are in charge today, a progressive government, a progressive regime and I think it is proper that we show to the nation that when the people want some degree of change we should be responsive to it, we should address it. Compromises have to be made, there’s no question about that. The report itself is not final. It still has to go through the litmus test of compromises. The ideas of people from different parts of the country will be different up to the extent they want to go with the proposals in the document, but it is necessary. It is vital that it is in fact, mandatory in the interest of the survival of our nation, that these issues be addressed. We cannot continue to allow the subjectto become something that threatens our nation at any turn. 

“So, the earlier we address it, the earlier we show that as a party we are responsive to the feelings of the people, the desires of the people and the wants of the people. It becomes easier then to diffuse the kind of stresses that the nation is passing through today. Look at what is happening. Well, it is recommended there should be State Police. Today we are having all sorts of organizations cropping out with all sorts of names, we haven’t defined their operational status, we haven’t defined their relativity properly with the establish security agents and the rest. But sitting down together we can work out so that we know the relativities between the existing structures and the existing institutions.”

On the need to rebuild the APC from bottom to the top approach, Chief Oyegun warned against bending the party’s rules.

“You can stretch the rule. Never break it. Secondly, it is very fundamental that in all we do, the ranks-and-file members of the party and of parties generally, are able to see that even when they lose, they have been treated fairly, they have been treated decently because what I observed, I was made the Chairman of the reconciliation group in the South-south and in every single case, you have a situation where during elections, the civil war within the party alone, makes it impossible to think of it. Why is it civil war? Civil war because critical stakeholders in the party see that they have not been fairly, justly treated.”

For the chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Kebbi state governor, Atiku Bagudu, said the APC is awared that there are fundamental challenges to be addressed and it will not shy away from acknowledging them and providing transparent leadership.

Bagudu said: “The party is not shy to acknowledge that our constitution is not perfect and again under John Oyegun, the El-Rufai  Committee on True Federalism was created to look at those issues that we should do better about. APC believe is let us amend constitution because society is dynamic not because somebody has been wronged and cheated. If that is the basis for correction, then the agitation will never stop but if it’s based on let us make it better, I believe the proposal which have been submitted to the National Assembly will help to produce amended Constitution that will meet most of the aspirations.

In her goodwill message, the mother of day and a former Nigerian envoy, Fatima Balla Abubakar, who said APC’s popularity can be attributed, significantly, to President Muhammadu Buhari, called on the government to quickly address the growing social unrest for the party to regain confidence.

“As the party in power which also has control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the APC must redouble its efforts to regain public confidence and trust which have been eroded in these deeply trying times. We cannot regain public confidence in our party as well as the government if we do not seriously address the growing social unrest due to growing mistrust between citizens main|y induced by poverty, lack ofjobs and livelihood. It is only when trust is rebuilt that we can restore peace. 

“As a government in power, APC needs to start thinking and doing things differently so that it can begin to deploy more people oriented policies to boost socio-economic growth and development and to provide more relief to the people. 

“The present situation in the country calls for more robust intellectual and policy oriented discussions and engagements by our party. We must engage with a spirit of transparency and inclusiveness. We must create a big tent where different views and positions are discussed without bitterness.”

While appreciating the APC government for his opportunity to serve, the author of the book, Salihu Moh. Lukman, said APC leaders have been working to address some of the foundational issues of democracy and that the book “is a contribution to support initiatives of our leaders. All leaders and members of APC are therefore invited to engage challenges facing the party, government and the nation with every confidence and belief in the capacity of Nigerians to support every patriotic and nationalistic initiative. We much never allow the loud noise of selfish political entrepreneurs to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that our party and governments produced by our party have failed. 

“It will be a mockery of our political history to allow any narrative in the public space, which suggest that comparative to previous administrations since 1999, APC controlled administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari has failed. Like President Muhammadu Buhari himself has acknowledged, there are no doubt challenges facing the country, but no administration since 1999 has succeeded in completing projects, whether initiated by previous or current governments. 

“Just on Thursday, June 10, 2021, President Buhari commissioned the Lagos – Ibadan railway, a project started and completed by his administration. And because leaders of PDP are shameless, they had the temerity to make a public statement calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to ‘stop taking credit for projects not initiated by him.’ May be they also want President Buhari and APC to acquire all their scandalous records, which include abandoning the construction of the PDP National Secretariat after mobilising billions on Naira.”