South-South leaders in the All Progressives Congress (APC), have expressed satisfaction with the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari in his three years in government, urging him to again throw his hat in the ring for the 2019 contest.
At a meeting to appraise political actors in Nigeria, the leaders praised Buhari for investing in roads, bridges, other infrastructure and security.
They also commended President Buhari for promoting sustainable growth and employability, strengthening the capacity and innovation of micro, small and medium enterprises and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture.
Speaking to the media after the meeting in Uyo, the Chairman, South-South Front (SSF), Chief John Harry said the leaders described names floated so far in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and others as men with no electoral values.
The leaders were also appreciative of Oyegun’s role in the development of Nigeria’s democracy saying, “Chief John Odigie-Oyegun is a genius in the area of leadership” they said.
The leaders who ruled out plans to support the opposition parties in 2019 praised Oyegun for enhancing political discourse, maintaining a good working relationship with President Buhari, strengthening democracy within the party, eliminating practices that suffocates the development of democracy in Nigeria, reconciling aggrieved members of the party and winning new electorate in order for APC to remain an important political force in the country.
“Oyegun’s grip on internal party matters is unique” the leaders said.
They described the moves of those against tenure elongation as a threat. “The performance of the Oyegun –led NWC shows great hope for expanded democracy, reforms and coherent programmes.
The tenure elongation is important for the party right now given the 2019 electoral challenges. Odigie-Oyegun has the right experience in the nitty-gritty mechanics of managing a political party during and after elections.”
Oyegun, a quiet leader with a unique affinity for building strong relationships, according to the leaders was instrumental in negotiating a peace agreement between the Presidency and the National Assembly.
“The friction between the executive and legislature has forced the party to rethink its role and to lay ground for healthy executive-legislature relationship.”
They commended the ruling party for fulfilling key functions such as political recruitment, interest articulation and participation.
“The purpose of APC at the time of formation was not only to serve as electoral vehicle for major political figures or push PDP out, but to guarantee good governance, grow the economy and sanitise the system.
“APC is not a one person show. It represents citizens’ interests. The party is remarkable for internal unity, consensual decision making and strong clientelistic elements, especially at the local level. PDP still suffers from divisions, problematic shallowness and lack of meaningful engagement with ordinary citizens. The party has lost its direction,” the leaders said.
They also hit back at Chief Perekeme Kpodo, describing his criticism directed towards Oyegun as sickening and unacceptable.
“We clearly disagree with Kpodo. His views on APC point to a repeated failure by the mediocre politician to appreciate the exceptional leadership of the national chairman and the attempt to position the party ahead of 2019. “Oyegun’s recent actions mark a milestone for APC, for peace and for Nigeria.”