The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, has said that the party will do everything possible to win the governorship elections this year in Ekiti and Osun states.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the party’s National Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday at its national secretariat, Mr. Oyegun said it was important for the party to win the elections in those states as they will be an indicator of the outcome of the 2019 general elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed the elections of new governors in Ekiti and Osun states for July 14 and September 22 respectively.
“I want to also extend my warm thanks to my colleagues, chairmen/leaders of the party in the state for being too supportive all these many months despite the challenges and difficulties we encountered,” the chairman said.
“My colleagues from the NWC (National Working Committee), we have a voice raised on our behalf during the caucus meeting and I want to assure you that as quickly as possible we will have a welfare package before the next NEC meeting so that our welfare can be better catered for.
“We obviously have a very tough year ahead of us. It is a year of challenges, multiplicity of activities beginning from the month of April when the processes for replacing officers of the party whose tenure will expire by June, the process of conducting challenging elections in Ekiti in July, in Osun in September.
“These elections are precursors of the national elections. It is therefore necessary that we treat them with great seriousness because they are elections we should do everything to win.”
“They are signals and signposts, indicators of what is to come in 2019. Preparations are also well underway for those elections.”
Mr. Oyegun who noted that contests at whatever level always present challenges, pleaded that everything should be done to minimise disputes that may stress the party.
“In an atmosphere like that, contests whether at party level or primaries to select candidates for all positions from the House of Assembly members to the exalted position of Mr. President always present challenges.
“I want to make a passionate appeal that everything be done to minimize the stresses within the party. We must do everything to minimize the disputations within the party and do everything to ensure that we are in fighting shape come 2019.
“For that reason, I want to say once more that we are fully behind and in support of the initiative taken by Mr. President in setting up a team headed by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to effect such a reconciliation that are necessary within the party.”
On the performance of the party in government at the federal level, he said all the economy of the country needs to grow was already in place.
“We have had challenges, we have had storms and weathered the storms. We have a government that took over at a very difficult circumstances but today, we can proudly say that the basic foundation of a new Nigerian economy is finally in place.
“We are not talking now of a foundation that is based on easy money, not a foundation based on crude which for a long time sent all of us to sleep, but an economic foundation built on the sweat and labour, resources- material and otherwise, of the Nigerian people. That is the foundation that lasts. The economic indices tell a clear story.”
Those in attendance at the meeting included federal government officials, governors, federal lawmakers and party officials.
Some of them were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello; and Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachukwu. The governors were Aminu Masari (Katsina), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Sani Bello (Niger), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara) and Nasir El Rufai (Kaduna).
Two senators and three members of the House of Representatives represented each of the six geo-political zones, while party chairmen in all the 36 states and the FCT; members of the party’s national executive committee and national working committee as well as some other prominent figures attended the meeting.