2015: Oyegun serves PDP quit notice
•Says Nigeria is on the ropes
•Ruling party hails APC convention
•Atiku: I was not zoned out of presidential race
The new National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, assumed office yesterday with a challenge for the electorate ahead of the 2015 polls: it is time to sack the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from power.
He said the nation’s wait for an alternative political party is over.
But he vowed that the APC will not be under any illusion that the defeat of PDP is going to be easy as the ruling party will stop at nothing to frustrate the mission of the APC to dislodge it in the elections.
Oyegun in his acceptance speech at about 10.15am after his election as national chairman of the APC, asked party members to work as a united team to secure power at the centre next year.
He urged APC members to bury the hatchet and grudges associated with the election of a new chairman.
He demanded what he described as “the healing of rifts and smoothening of cracks” in the party.”
Oyegun said: “Our party has much work to do. The state of our nation is highly disturbing. It could be said with some justification that our great country, Nigeria, is on the ropes.
“A nation blessed by the Almighty with all the key endowments to make any nation great has been virtually brought to its knees by corruption that is unbridled and will qualify for the Guinness Books of Records, resource management, directionless and what some have described as cluelessness.
“As if these woes are not enough, our situation has been compounded by the amazingly visionless national leadership that has been inflicted on Nigerians by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the dawn of our latest democratic dispensation.
“In this past decade and a half of genuine suffering, Nigerians have been frustrated by the fact that there was no alternative national party of comparable strength to rescue them from the clutches of the PDP.”
He assured citizens that “Your wait is over. Your prayers have not been in vain. Help is on the way. The APC is here! In 2015, Nigerians will finally have the opportunity to kick out a long-ruling party that has, among other things, failed to provide them with stable power supply, failed to provide them with security that will enable them sleep peacefully on their beds at night, failed to provide employment for millions of Nigerian youths, and failed to stem the tide of corruption that is robbing Nigeria’s children of their future.”
Odigie-Oyegun promised that the APC would provide a visionary, dedicated and people-oriented leadership that will liberate the nation from PDP’s rule of poverty and oppression, adding, “Under the stewardship of the APC, Nigeria will progress and Nigerians will thrive. This is our sacred pledge to Nigerians.”
He admitted that defeating PDP in 2015 requires unity within APC and forgiveness of offences and injuries in the party.
He added: “But we must not be under any illusion: our work will not be easy. The very task of salvaging Nigeria will, on its own, be hard because the rot is deep.
“But the task will be made even harder by the fact that we have, as opponents, a political party that will stop at nothing to frustrate our mission.
“We know the make-up, the habits, the philosophy and the mindset of our opponents. We know the extent they will go to cling on to power. And we know the immensity of the resources at their disposal.”
Party members, he said must learn to let go of past grudges and previous grievances and move together as members of the same family.
“And so tonight, I call for the healing of rifts and the smoothening of cracks. I call for forgiveness of offences and injuries,” he stressed.
He urged members to seek at all times the unity of the party as well as a common vision and commitment to work hand-in-hand to accomplish the task ahead.
He added: “If we fail in our task due to disunity and acrimony, it is not only ourselves we would have let down. We would have betrayed the hopes and aspirations of long-suffering Nigerians. And we must never lose sight of the fact that the collective destiny of the Nigerian people is far more important than our individual or group interests, ambitions or grievances.
“Because the road ahead of us is long and hard, we must heed the wise advice of our esteemed Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka that “we must set forth at dawn.”
“And so, whereas tonight we party to celebrate the successful conclusion of the National Convention of our party, we must rise with the dawn and set forth on our patriotic mission to set Nigerians free, and usher in the New Nigeria of our dreams.”
While extending the olive branch to all co-aspirants, Odigie-Oyegun praised the “visionary architects” of APC who worked diligently to build the party.
He said: “Through personal sacrifices and patriotic vision, our party leaders assembled an impressive array of patriotic Nigerians and welded them into this great party and thus, for the first time in the modern era of Nigerian democracy, built a truly national party that provided a robust alternative to an oppressive ruling party.”
He thanked members of the former Interim National Executive Committee members, “who undertook the extremely difficult task of getting our party up and running, and keeping it on its feet in its infancy, even as our opponents tried every trick in the book to knock us down.”
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