By Emmanuel Mogbede
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, says he will not seek re-election in the June 23 National Convention of the party,“in the party´s interest”.
He announced this on Friday night in Abuja while speaking with newsmen.
The chairman said that his decision was taken after wide consultation with close political associates and family members, and not because he was intimidated out of the race.
He added that the National Working Committee’s tenure extension that was hitherto agreed by the party´s National Executive Committee (NEC) suffered a setback following President Muhammadu Buhari´s opposition to it.
He stated that the tenure extension would have helped to stabilise the party, and may have prevented the crisis that followed its recent congresses.
Odigie-Oyegun admonished party leaders to close ranks and to make the party a strong fighting force ahead of 2019 general elections.
´´Now that the Convention Committee has invited interested aspirants to obtain forms to contest various national positions in our party, it has become necessary for me to state my position.
´´I have consulted widely with my family, friends and associates, even though, I had the desire to re-contest as the national chairman of the party.
´´I have decided that it is ultimately in the best interest of the party for me to withdraw from the race, ´´ he said.
Odigie-Oyegun said that the party may face difficult days ahead, and called on all critical stakeholders in its leadership to “bind together for a common purpose´´.
He advised that it would be better for the party if the national convention was less contentious, adding that he had always sought to be part of solving the party´s problems.
´´I do not intend to be part of the problem for APC to solve. It is for this reason that I hereby declare that I will not be seeking re-election as the National Chairman.
´´However, I will continue to perform my functions as the National Chairman of the party till my tenure officially ends on Monday, June 25, when a new set of party executives will be inaugurated,´´ he said.
Odigie-Oyegun noted that some of the party´s leaders had considered that the botched tenure extension would have been in the best interest of the party.
According to him, they felt that it would have ensured that the party went into the 2019 elections as a united fighting force rather than one, potentially weakened by internal conflicts arising from competitive congresses.