The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun at the weekend described as “reckless and baseless”, allegations of corruption leveled against him by the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Media Office.
In a statement personally signed by Odigie-Oyegun where he dismissed the allegations point-by-point, he called on APG members “to explore internal dispute resolution mechanisms in addressing their perceived grievances instead of resorting to the media to vent their spleen”.
He noted that the allegations were “unfortunate and an insult to my person and my hard-earned reputation which I have strongly maintained”, Pointing out that “nobody has the kind of money that can buy my conscience or make me do injury to an innocent man”.
He maintained that in all the primaries conducted under his watch as National Chairman, “I have strived to ensure a free, fair, transparent and credible process. The 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election was not an exception. There must be internal democracy in the Party and our constitution must be respected by all”.
He noted that the ripples from the controversy over the election had unfortunately dragged the APC to the front pages of newspapers for the wrong reasons, pointing out that allegations of rigging the outcome of the 2016 Ondo State APC governorship election primaries and overruling the Party’s National Working Committee (NWC) were completely incorrect.
“In view of the misinformation and false reports that have been fed to the media and that have pervaded the public space, there is need to set the records straight. Clearly, the report on which the media office of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu acted was a figment of someone’s wild imagination.
Picking up the issues, point-by-point, he made references to minutes of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) meeting Thursday 22nd September, 2016 stating that at no time did he unilaterally take any decision or overruled the NWC as alleged.
He also denied allegations of over-voting and using a “prayer interlude to secretly excuse myself from the NWC meeting to submit the name of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the candidate of the Party, pointing out that “the NWC in its four-point resolution rejected the Appeal Committee’s recommendation on the grounds that the report was fundamentally and fatally flawed.
The NWC in its four-point resolution faulted the failure of the Appeal Committee to invite the National Secretariat as the custodian, to authenticate or otherwise the source of the disputed delegates list.
“Also, the Appeal Committee did not invite the Chairman or members of the Ondo State Governorship Primary Election Committee to clarify issues relating to the allegation of manipulation of the accreditation process.
“The Appeal Committee rather relied totally on unsubstantiated evidence(s) in the petitions it received to recommend the nullification of the Primary. This is against the principle of natural justice and fair hearing.
“The NWC equally observed a serious contradiction in the Appeal Committee’s report in respect of the number of the accredited delegates. Whereas the Primary Election Committee’s report indicated that 2,774 delegates were accredited, the Appeal Committee’s report erroneously recorded it as those who voted in the election, thereby acting under the false impression that there was over voting in the exercise. The actual total number of votes cast was 2,754, as clearly recorded in the Primary Election Committee’s report”.
Chief Oyegun further stated that “the issue of fresh primaries did not arise as NWC had already rejected the Appeal Committee’s report in view of the stated flaws and upheld the election.
“In any case, any fresh primary was already time barred. By the timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), all governorship primaries and issues related ended on September 19, 2016.
“It needs to be stated categorically that the NWC is confident that the Chairman of the Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Committee, H.E. Abubakar Badaru, Executive Governor of Jigawa State conducted a credible and exemplary exercise. “Going forward, I appeal very passionately to leaders and members of the Party at all levels to explore internal dispute resolution mechanisms in addressing their perceived grievances instead of resorting to the media to vent their spleen.
“There are enormous challenges in delivering on the Party’s 2015 election promises to Nigerians. On the immediate horizon is the task of winning the governorship election in Ondo state. We cannot afford to be distracted by the present contentions,” he stated.