John Odigie-Oyegun, the erstwhile national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has handed the leadership mantle of the party over to a successor.
Oyegun in an address to delegates for the last time in his capacity as national chairman, at the party’s national convention in Abuja, on Saturday, June 23, 2018 urged members to continue to support the party.
He expressed gratitude to the founding fathers of the party for their steadfastness during difficult times.
Speaking in a similar vein, the chairman of the convention planning committee, Abubakar Badaru, said it was true that there were divisions within the party on account of the contest for various positions.
He, however, expressed confidence that the party will come out of it’s present challenges stronger.
Below is the full text of his speech, which was e-mailed to The Trent, as an advanced copy.
ADDRESS BY THE NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC), CHIEF JOHN. K. ODIGIE-OYEGUN CON AT THE NATIONAL CONVENTION SATURDAY 23RD JUNE, 2018 EAGLE SQUARE, ABUJA.
When I look to my left and right, I feel a deep sense of fulfillment. If you read the stories on the social media, you will think that the party was at the verge of implosion. That it had divisions within it that were fatal. But you look around and see one happy family.
Mr President, I thank you specially for the opportunity to work closely with you, interact and the support you gave all this while. Today is not the day to make great policy statements but to express my deepest gratitude.
I will start with the key founding fathers of this party: Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, Prince Tony Momoh. You were the key heads of the political parties that accepted the idea of unity for the progress of the nation and because of you all; and of course, the later additions, nPDP and a faction of APGA, it is because of you that we are here today.
It is because of you, that I look left and right and see a strong and united party. I see a vibrant party, of passionate followers who are ready to follow our President because of his principle leadership in spite of the crude abuses, insinuations and fake stories that has been hauled in his direction of which he has not allowed to dissuade him in anyway or detract him from his determined course.
I thank my colleagues of the National Working Committee (NWC) and all the state chairmen, some of whom have returned to the saddle and will provide the experience needed for continuity.
My colleagues of the outgoing NWC, I thank you for the fantastic cooperation I have received all these four years. Yes, our arguments were sometimes almost getting muscular but at the end of the day, we provided the kind of leadership that has brought the party to this point today. A strong, united party. Yes, there are divergent views here and there but the essence is that the APC at the end of the day, is a strong party, a passionate party that believes in its ideals and the vision of Mr. President to give this nation the best leadership.
I thank the delegates who are here today, because it was the same group that elected me four years ago and today, they are here to perform the same function.
I will end by saying that Shakespeare told us generations ago that the world is a stage and that all of us are actors on this stage. We make our entrances and in due time, we make our exit. Today, I make my exit from the honour you have bestowed on me to lead you for four years.
Phase one of this party is over, phase two is about to begin and it is my hope that at the end of today, we would have elected a worthy son to carry on the battle, the leadership, the struggle of this party.
I wish my successor the very best of luck, I wish him fair weather and for the rest, we leave to history.
John E. K. Odigie-Oyegun CON