All Progressives Congress has picked its first substantive national chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun as the chairman of the 7-man panel to screen its presidential aspirants ahead of the party’s convention.
With Oyegun as the Screening Panel Chairman, there is palpable fear among the aspirants who are concerned about the possible fate that awaits them.
Oyegun was affirmed as APC chairman June 2014 to lead the party into the General election. Under Oyegun, the General Muhammadu Buhari in December 2014 won the party primary which took place at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos to emerge the Presidential candidate of APC. Oyegun led his party to defeat a sitting President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 election.
APC ran into crisis under Oyegun with the Governorship election in Ondo State in 2016 when the National Working Committee upheld the election of Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu as the candidate of APC. The crisis that emanated from the Ondo guber caused internal crisis that eventually led to the sack of Oyegun’s NWC. He was succeeded by Adams Oshiomhole as the party’s Chairman in 2018.
It was gathered that some of the party chieftains who are worried about Oyegun leading the screening panel accused him of anti-party activities by actively supporting Governor Godwin Obaseki to defeat Pastor Ize Iyamu in last Edo State Governorship election. There is also the fear that ths choice of Oyegun was influenced by former Chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee and Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni who is said to still exert a lot of influence in the affairs of the party.
“Our former National Chairman, Oyegun has been picked to head the screening Committee. He has the stature to do the job being a former Governor and retired Federal Permanent Secretary. There is fear and anxiety among the aspirants and the various camps because Chief Oyegun has become a controversial and polarising figure in the party.
“He was among those who plotted against removal of Adams Oshiomhole and sack of immediate past NWC. He supported Obaseki in an election where APC had a Governorship candidate in Edo State. The issue has become if Chief Oyegun will be impartial.
“While those who are against him being the chairman of the Screening Committee raised valid points the party also expects him to do a good and thorough job without bias,” said a source close to the leadership of APC.