John Oyegun, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says he is aware of the “serious and immediate need for reconciliation” in the ruling party.
Speaking on Monday while inaugurating returning and newly-elected state chairmen at the Party’s National Secretariat in Abuja, Oyegun urged the winners not to consider the deal done but to return home to win back aggrieved losers of the congresses.
He also told them that the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 is their burden.
“On your [state chairmen] laps lies the onerous responsibility of returning this party to office for a second term. On your laps, to a great extent, also lie the return of our dear President to office so that the Change Agenda will have time to settle down to mature and become second nature to the people of our dear nation,” he said.
“There is serious and immediate need for reconciliation. You have seen states like Oyo, Cross River, Delta, Taraba and even Lagos. Don’t go back and say ‘we have won’. This is not a winner-takes-all situation. Political parties are not organised in that way. I have set up a team headed by the party’s Deputy National Chairman (North) and he may have cause to invite some of the states in the next few days.
“It is something that must be done, and if possible, tidied up way before the National Convention. So that we will have as rancour-free a convention as is possible for any political party. Let me emphasise once more, there is need for reconciliation, give and take, compromise and I hope those sitting here will have the courage and expanse of spirit to embrace those we may think have technically lost out but are still important party members.”
He expressed happiness over the mix of old and new members, saying the new ones will have the benefit of learning from the old and returning state executives.
He urged them to be abreast of major achievements being recorded by the President, despite some conflicts within the party ranks, lean national resources and the inherited rot in the system.
“I know and I am aware of the extent of conflict within the party. We are all aware of the disaffection within the party caused to some extent by the reward system. We are also aware nationally of the disaffection out there amongst the people. These are to be expected,” he said.
“When we fought the battle, we had one target and we were representing the people of this nation who had decided they have had enough of that government. Now the narrative is different. We are up there, and we have become the target. So our approach will now be very different and you must now thoroughly ground yourselves on the achievements of this administration. And I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart that great achievements have been recorded.
“Yes we have issues today, yes we have problems today, yes in developmental terms, you cannot perform magic, but the certain assurance is that your government is on the right course. The certain assurance is that the firm foundation has been laid for a country that will now begin to grow and it can only accelerate.
“In spite of lean resources, your government has been able to achieve much more in three years than any of its predecessors. That is something you can talk about and defend with actual achievements. What is important is the basic foundation of this nation which was totally destroyed by the past administration.”
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, he warned against complacency, saying: “We must not as a party for any reason be complacent, but thank God we have some months to go and I can say with confidence that in this country, there is only one party and that is the APC.
“But don’t let that lure us into complacence. We must go out there and convince the people that this government is working and that this government is going to take us to the promise land.”