The national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, on Tuesday said the governing party would not repeat the mistakes of the Peoples Democratic Party’s 16-year rule.
Mr. Odigie-Oyegun made the declaration when he was formally presented with the book “APC: The Making of a Change Agent” authored by the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.
The APC national chairman, who described the book as an insider account of the merger process that culminated in the formation of the APC, encouraged others who “participated intimately” in the formation of the APC to document their record of events for posterity.
He hailed the contributions and sacrifices of chairmen of the legacy parties that merged to form the APC; former vice president, Atiku Abubakar; former governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu; new PDP entrants amongst other stakeholders in the formation of the APC.
Mr. Odigie-Oyegun: “It is important because in a few years, peripheral people like happens today in the case of June 12, sort of claim ownership of an event they know very little about… Infact, we encourage all those who participated intimately to document their record of what they think happened. Historians will then later take these slightly different versions considering the perspectives were you were standing to watch the show. And we will eventually have a comprehensive rendition of what happened.
“It was the first time a merger of that type had succeeded. It is the first time people had the intense nationalism to make the degree of sacrifice that was called for in agreeing to a merger. We had three party chairmen, and a lot of other individuals- former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and a few others who participated actively. And we must not forget the role that was played by the new PDP.
“We created a machine that has started a significant move in entrenching democracy in this country. What is democracy? It is the ability to hire and fire. It was the first time that Nigerians had the ability of firing and it has become internalised in our political psyche. We know that we should not make the mistakes of the PDP. We too now know that we can be fired and that is democracy.”
Recalling several past attempts at party alliances until the successful merger of the APC, the book’s author, Mr. Obono-Obla stated that the APC legacy parties merged to halt the PDP’s misrule, marred by insecurity, unemployment and bad governance.
Mr. Obono-Obla: “The book tells the story of the APC – How the APC was founded; the intense negotiations; support of the governor; and how the APC dethroned an incumbent government, unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.
“It was necessary for a member of the merger committee to tell the story so that there is no distortion and misrepresentation of facts. This generation and generations to come will read this story and also see how the PDP failed so that the APC will not make the same mistake. Because if we make that mistake, the Nigerian people will punish us as they punished the PDP… We should run a democratic party. I am happy that the APC National Chairman is doing his best and despite all the turbulence, the Party is still one.”
Mr. Obono-Obla served as the Secretary of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Alliance/Merger Committee.
Present at the book presentation were the APC National Auditor, George Moghalu; National Organising Secretary, Osita Izunaso and National Vice Chairman (South East), Emma Eneukwu.