Against the backdrop of recent agitations and actions bordering on the unity of the country, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), H.E. Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has assured that Nigeria will not breakup.
Odigie-Oyegun gave the assurance at a grand reception and lifetime achievement award ceremony organised by the Inner Circle of Friends (University of Ibadan Alumni) in his honour and on the occasion of his 78th birthday anniversary at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja on Saturday evening.
“My message is to our people nationwide. The pride that you feel when you walk out and say you are a Nigerian, backed up by 170million people and hopefully backed up by an economy that will bring us back to growth, to stability, to development. The pride that each and everyone will feel is greater that the attempt to disintegrate us into tiny, mini republics. That will not happen.” The APC National Chairman stated at the reception.
Odigie-Oyegun stated that while the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was acutely aware of the challenges faced by citizens and the shenanigans of interests resisting change, the current administration remained solidly committed and focussed in the task of building a new foundation for the country and delivering on election promises to the electorate.
“Yes, these are very challenging times, no question about it. The foundation of our nation is being rocked very greatly. We promised change but quite frankly, change of the immediacy that we promised has inevitably run against the kind of fight back that we are having today. I think to emphasise that because of the kind of President that we have; because we have a man who is thoroughly ingrained in due process and insists on due process; because we have a man as a President who insists on fairness; who insists that justice must be given its due place. Everything must take place according to due process.
“The powers of darkness are taking advantage of this to fight back in such a massive way that they are beginning to threaten the very foundations of our nation. But let me say this with all the emphasis at my command that change there must be, this nation will stay united!”
He said that the President Buhari administration is laboriously and painstakingly building a new and diversified economic foundation based on production, not a wholly oil-dependent economy.
“The President Buhari administration is building an economic foundation that will sustain this nation; a foundation that will propel this nation to greatness; a foundation that is destined to make us, truly the first, the largest and the most potent black nation on the face of the earth is being as being as we speak put in place. Yes it has caused pains. Yes it has caused stresses. Yes, there is a bit of hunger in the land, people are grumbling, no question about that. But if you need to eat an omelette, it is inevitable, you have to break the egg.
The APC National Chairman thanked the Inner Circle of Friends (University of Ibadan Alumni) on what he described as a wonderful evening. He said Almighty God has been partial to him in life.
“It is a taste of the kind of persons we are, the kind of persons that constitute the inner circle – sober, cerebral, people of taste, people who are cultivated and people who are ready to be supportive. Those who planned this event know me very thoroughly. I like choral music, I like classical music and I like the theme of the event, “Peace and Unity”. May we in this nation, challenged as we are today, bring back peace and unity to our nation. I specially thank my governors. I know how busy they have been particularly in the last few days.
“Mine has been a good life. In some senses I think it has been a charmed life. In every sense of the word, God has been good to me. Sometimes I say God has been partial to me. May the Almighty God be partial to all of us.”
Chairman of the occasion and former Governor of Anambra State, Senator Jim Nwobodo, while congratulating the APC National Chairman on his life achievements, said he occupied an important position at a “most difficult and delicate time” in the country. Nwobodo also prayed that God guides the Party’s decisions in the lead up to the forthcoming Anambra State Governorship elections.
“Yours is an important position that comes with enormous challenges – leading a party in government at the most difficult and delicate time in our country.
“As we celebrate you, we pray that God will give you the wisdom to thrive at this time. As you already know, the APC is preparing for a test of its might in the South-East, with the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra state. We pray that God will guide decision in all matters concerning this election.” Nwobodo said.
While calling for peace, he appealed to leaders and elders to call the youth to order. “I want to use this opportunity to appeal to all stakeholders, elders, leaders, religious institutions, and educational institutions to please call our youths to order. My generation is looking up to you our young leaders to give us Nigeria of our dream.”
Also speaking at the event, the Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar described the APC National Chairman as a “humble great man”. He advocated for peaceful co-existence among Nigerians, irrespective of the country’s diversity.
“If you take the age he (Odigie-Oyegun) has clocked and the life expectancy of a Nigerian man which has been placed at 51 years old, if somebody clock 78, it is worth celebrating, especially when that person is an epitome of humility. You can see the way the man is. This is vintage Oyegun. What you see is what you get. He is one of the most humble great men that I know. That is why it is very significant to celebrate his life
“We must learn to live with our brothers. Nigeria is a great country and the greatness is based on the diversity of the country. So, we must keep Nigeria united and be our brothers keepers. I have told my people to keep the peace and protect our brothers.” The Bauchi state governor said.
Dignitaries at the well-attended event included some APC governors; ministers, members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC), party officials, friends, associates and family members of the APC National Chairman.