Finally, I decided to delve into the quarrel between the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun which has been on for quite sometime now when Tinubu in a statement, called for the resignation of the party chairman.
Going down memory lane, the battle started with the party’s governorship primary in Ondo State, which produced Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu as the candidate for the November 26 governorship election in the state.
Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor, had faulted Odigie-Oyegun for overruling the decision of the party’s National Working Committee that upheld the decision of the Appeal Committee which recommended the cancellation of the primary according to reports from Punch.
The party chairman, who had said he was engrossed in the preparations for the Edo State governorship poll, which was won by APC’s Godwin Obaseki, however, refused to take issue with Tinubu, who he said he held in high esteem.
Odigie-Oyegun however faltered on his words and took his case on Tuesday to President Muhammadu Buhari. While some party’s youths, who came under the aegis of the APC Democratic Youth Frontiers protested Tinubu’s vituperative call on Odigie Oyegun to resign from office. Their anti Tinubu posters read :
‘We are united in APC; Tinubu can’t separate us’; ‘Tinubu is not God’; ‘Greed is not democracy’; ‘No room for an emperor’.
Leader of the protesters, Mr. Lookman Salaudeen, said the APC national leader should be told to either toe the party line or be shown the way out.
He said, “We call on Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu to either leave the APC, (or) curtail his greed (and) toe the line and exhibit the kind of loyalty needed for party cohesion whether from ordinary members or national leaders.
“Nigeria is bigger than Lagos State, where you control affairs like a god; whose words are sacred and must be obeyed at all times.”
The meeting between the President and the party’s national chairman, who is also a former governor of Edo State, was held behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting with Buhari, Odigie-Oyegun said:
“There is no rift with Asiwaju. We have difference of opinions, difference of perception and I think that is normal. Yes, I agree that the nature of the (Tinubu’s) statement was a bit harsh,” he said.
When asked if he would resign as demanded by Tinubu, the ex-governor said, “The methods of getting rid of a national chairman, if that is what I will call it, are spelt out in the constitution. They don’t take place on the pages of newspapers.”
He said it was proper for all arms of the party, including the National Executive Council, to meet and the meeting would hold at the appropriate time.
Odigie-Oyegun denied being the brains behind the youths who protested against Tinubu at the party’s national headquarters earlier in the day. He said :
“God forbid (that I sponsor the protest)! Anybody who knows me knows that it is not my style. I am equally shocked and I am going to look into it and find out why and who is behind it.
“Do people know how far back our association goes? Do they know that we were in the trenches together in the NADECO days? Why can’t people, who have mutual respect for each other, have different opinions?
“All we had was difference of opinions. Yes, it was expressed a bit harshly but that doesn’t remove the basic fact that we have worked together for a very long time.”
.And we say: The battle within is the most dangerous battle of them all.