By Oliva Van-Nwoko
Is it true that Chief John Odigie-Oyegun was a top-notch civil servant in the federal civil service and that he rose to become a permanent secretary (super permanent secretary) while still in his thirties?
I understand his contemporaries were the likes of Allison Ayida, Jerome Udoji, Philip Asiodu, etc. Is it also true that he was not dismissed but retired voluntarily to go into politics? Is it true that in his first attempt at politics and governance, he was elected as the first civilian governor of the newly-created Edo State?
I see in his curriculum vitae that he was at another time the Vice-Presidential candidate of a national party, the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP and that the ANPP was one of the legacy parties that surrendered their identity to merge with the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC; Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and factions of DPP and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, to birth the All Progressives Congress, APC, sometimes in 2013. Can it also be true, as some claim, that Chief John Odigie-Oyegun was a chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition,NADECO, the group credited to have played a leading role in the ousting of the recalcitrant military junta that held the nation by her jugular?
If the answers to the above posers and postulations are true, can someone please enlighten me if it is the one and same person, who became the first elected National Chairman of the APC and galvanized the then opposition party to defeat an incumbent governing Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 general election barely a year after its merger?
Of recent, our media has been awash with insinuations that a certain Chief John Odigie-Oyegun is weak, ineffective, lousy and so much more. Can this person who had these stellar credentials in our opening paragraph climb to the position he held if he is not solid? In all the accusations against him, I have not heard anyone claim to have been hypnotised or hoodwinked to put him where he does not deserve to be. So, he must not have attained those heights through voodoo and sleigh of hand.
I will also like someone to step forward to tell us, who are students of history, if anything has been done in a way of reward or benefit to the man that led an opposition party predicted by some to disintegrate before their first month to defeat an incumbent party? I stand to be corrected if I am wrong. Which of the ministers in the Federal Executive Council (2015-2019) was nominated by him? Who were his appointees in the several boards constituted by the party he helped bring into governance? What about special advisers and assistants?
What manner of person will be in the position he occupied in a ruling party and not be allowed to appoint or recommend a single person into the governance structure and then not even a whimper from him? Even the defeated party, PDP, were able to through hook and crook get some of their members appointments but the then face of the APC could not. Whereas some persons are sulking that they were not allowed to fill up the cabinet with three or four appointees and also nominate friends, family and cronies into the boards, the man Odigie-Oyegun took everything calmly and kept mute. Instead of encomiums, he is getting bashed by people who were still wearing nappies as at the time Odigie-Oyegun was already a super permanent secretary.
In the Holy Bible, a story is told in the book of Esther, how one night King Ahasuerus could not sleep until he sent for the book of records to right the wrongs done to one of his staff, Mordecai. In the place of the diligent, God-fearing Mordecai, Haman, a schemer had gained promotion while Mordecai remained as gate man.
When will our King Ahasuerus wake up to the neglect and injustice done to Odigie-Oyegun, the face of the APC for four years? When will the insatiable pythons that swallow positions and appointments be satisfied? Is it until the Presidency is swallowed? What manner of man can take all these insults and remain silent?
- Van-Nwoko lives in from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State