Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief John Odigie-Oyegun broke his silence on the just-concluded September 19th governorship election in Edo State saying his party lost because of impunity reigning in political parties in Nigeria and the imposition of candidates.
Speaking to journalists in his Benin City residence on the outcome of the election and other national issues, Odigie-Oyegun also said he did not campaign for the party because his conscience was against the way the party was being run without following due processes.
He, however, commended the roles played by the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, the National Peace Committee (NPC) headed by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) and some Western countries that threatened sanctions against riggers.
He said; “The greatest problem we have in this country has been lack of due process, impunity, lack of respect for our own constitution whether the various parties or outside that.
“To my mind, we have regressed as far as party politics is concerned because we have departed from due process, allowing free and fair selection processes within parties and if parties don’t practice democracy, I don’t see how they can preach democracy to the people of this nation.
“Fortunately, Edo state is the heartbeat of the Nigerian nation so this election has proved one more time that we are truly the heartbeat of the Nigerian nation and we hope it is something that will be copied for future elections in this nation
“What happened is democracy within the parties and impunity within the parties, attempts at imposition within the parties; these are the issues, just let things flow. I was a former national chairman and in most cases we didn’t have court cases after any election because things were done to the letter.
“If ten people come and say they want to contest for an office, why not. Normally people come to me o they are too many, they will cause divisions within the party, they will cause this within the party so let us talk to them so that some will withdraw and I said why?
“If ten people felt each of them are capable of discharging the duties of that office let them contest. Allowing them to contest is the greatest peacemaker but if you start persuading them, problems start.”
On whether his actions would not be termed as anti-party activity, Odigie-Oyegn said he acted using his conscience when justice was denied in the party; “I am a man of conscience, I am a strong believer in justice and fair play, I am a strong believer that when the rules of an association you belong to have been so flagrantly disregarded, put aside, not complied with then you have to go back to your conscience to say can I support what has happened, can I not support it?
“I cannot support injustice in terms of going out to work for injustice. Going out to say what I in my conscience consider wrong and I will now support working for it.
“I can’t do that and normal people should not do that. Your loyalty in life is to support what is right. That is the principle, every human being should believe in something.
“If you agree to kill a man for a sin he did not commit then something is wrong with you obviously.”