John Oyegun, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says his party is aware it could be booted out of power if it makes the same mistakes as its predecessor in federal power, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Odigie-Oyegun was speaking on Tuesday at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, where he was formally presented with the book ‘APC: The Making of a Change Agent’, authored by Okoi Obono-Obla, Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution.
Describing the book as an insider account of the merger process that culminated in the formation of the APC, Oyegun encouraged other stakeholders 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: Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President; Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State; the new PDP and other stakeholders.
“It is important because in a few years, peripheral people, like [it] happens today in the case of June 12, sort of claim ownership of an event they know very little about… In fact, we encourage all those who participated intimately to document their record of what they think happened,” he said.
“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….
“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, Obono-Obla, author of the book, praised the APC legacy parties for merging to halt the PDP’s misrule, marred by insecurity, unemployment and bad governance.
“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,” said Obono-Obla, who served as Secretary of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Alliance/Merger Committee.
“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.”
Present at the book presentation were George Moghalu, APC National Auditor; Osita Izunaso, National Organising Secretary; and Emma Eneukwu, National Vice Chairman (South East).