By Omeiza Ajayi
FOR weeks now the polity has been awash with speculations over the removal or otherwise of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun as the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
With some party stakeholders said to have been scheming to send the septuagenarian former governor of Edo state packing, some observers thought he was not going to return as chairman when he decided to go on a 10-day sick leave nearly three weeks ago.
To clear the air on the reason for his sudden leave, Oyegun said he was ill and needed to rest and quickly added he would come back.
“On Tuesday I was down with malaria, I managed on Wednesday to attend that crucial meeting at the presidency. Yesterday, I had to go to the hospital just to be sure and today I am at work, full stop. So please, please, please I know the press is supposed to be imaginative and steer the news but not when there is really nothing to steer. It is that simple…
“I have been chairman for how long now? Going to two years, and it has been a very intense period building the party and a very intense period putting government together up to this point. All that has happened is that I think I deserve a bit of a break and that will start effective Monday and in my absence, my deputy here, Engr Segun Oni, will cover my beat. It is that simple, it is that straightforward. Any speculation about not being in the office is of no consequence”, he had said on February 26 while going on leave.
After 10 working days, Chief Oyegun resumed, putting paid to earlier speculations about the safety of his job.
However, there were fresh concerns, yesterday, following the visit of the Secretary to the Government of Federation, SGF, Engr. Babachir David Lawal, to the chairman. That visit was the second in seven days.
Unfortunately, rather than address media concerns regarding the job of the chairman, both men kept mute.
Vanguard learned that the closed-door meeting with Pa Oyegun was to finalise arrangements for next week’s all important meetings of the party.
There are signals that the incumbent APC national chairman may be asked to step down during the meetings scheduled for next week. The frequent visits of the SGF, it was gathered, was to provide a soft landing for Chief Oyegun.
Engr. Babachir who visited the APC national secretariat, last Friday and had meeting with some national officers who were around, also visited yesterday and held another closed door meeting with the national chairman and his deputy, South, Mr. Segun Oni. The meeting lasted for an hour.
All scheduled meetings of the party will run as planned, with the caucus on March 21, BoT March 22 and NEC on March 24.
While the APC leadership seems to be unperturbed by the air of uncertainty among party men and women regarding the fate of their chairman, those interested in Chief Oyegun’s job might have to wait for a long while as the party leader seems to be enjoying the confidence of President Muhammadu Buhari.