The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Oyegun, has said he would not immediately react to a scathing allegation leveled against him by a former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu.
Mr. Oyegun said he would perhaps make his position clear after the Edo State election on Wednesday.
Mr. Tinubu came down hard on Mr. Oyegun in a lengthy statement Sunday evening, accusing the party chairman of betrayal and fraud. He also rejected the unofficial “national leader” title conferred on him by the party members.
“Evidently, some errant members believe promises and vows are mere words to be easily spoken and more easily broken.
“Chairman John Oyegun has breached these good pledges in a most overt and brazen display,” Mr. Tinubu said. “In doing so, Oyegun has dealt a heavy blow to the very party he professes to lead. It is an awful parent who suffocates his own child for the sake of a few naira.”
Mr. Oyegun played down Mr. Tinubu’s statement in a brief exchange with reporters in Benin, the Edo State capital, saying he would rather focus on the gubernatorial election that is underway across the state.
“We don’t want to lose focus and I know Asiwaju also wants us to win because we all have worked hard for this,” Mr. Oyegun said. “But may be after Edo elections, after we must have emerged victorious, we may speak on some of the issues raised.”
Mr. Oyegun, nonetheless, denied the allegations as raised by Mr. Tinubu.
“All I can say now is that most of the things said in the papers about me are not true. I have always believed in internal democracy, that the credibility of primaries must be taken seriously,” he said.
Mr. Oyegun said considering the position of Mr. Tinubu in the APC, he would have to make wider consultation before issuing a response even after the election in Edo.
“Asiwaju is a well-respected leader of our party so, I cannot be seen speaking evil against him. I have to consult properly with other leaders of the party before we make any definite statement,” Mr. Oyegun said.
Supporters Mr. Oyegun and Mr. Tinubu have queued behind the two politicians in the standoff.
On Monday evening, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Timi Frank, joined Mr. Tinubu and openly called for Mr. Oyegun’s resignation, accusing him lacking leadership qualities.
“As far as I am aware, APC under Oyegun has not been able to resolve one crisis in this party,” Mr. Frank said.
APC United Front, a pressure group of politicians from the Northeast Zone of the party, on Tuesday warned Mr. Tinubu not to allow his “selfish interest” to destroy the party.
The group described Mr. Oyegun as “honest, dedicated, committed, and God fearing”.
The crisis has generated conversations about the future of the ruling party, and the likelihood of it imploding barely three years after it was established, and over a year after winning the presidential election.