Ahead of today’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, leaders of the ruling party who do not want the incumbent National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, continued their plots yesterday.
Their insistence of Odigie-Oyegun’s sack came after President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday night waded into the raging crisis in the party.
Although, APC leaders pushing for Odigie-Oyegun’s exit have not given up on their ambition, party sources said, last night that Buhari’s presence at today’s meeting may thwart their efforts.
Odigie-Oyegun, who appeared unmoved by the gang-up against him, said yesterday that his leadership of the party was not under threat.
APC sources said that the fate of Odigie-Oyegun and the members of his National Working Committee (NWC) will top the agenda of the NEC meeting.
The secretariat of the party along Blantyre Street in the Wuse 2 section of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), yesterday wore a new look as the APC leaders installed security gadgets as President Buhari is expected to attend the NEC meeting at the secretariat.
Odigie-Oyegun and his NWC members have been under fire from the party bigwigs who have not forgiven him for the manner the national secretariat handled the revolt of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, to clinch the leadership of the National Assembly.
The ruling APC has lost relative peace since the National Assembly incidence, leading to several attempts at removing Odigie-Oyegun and his team in the NWC.
Inside party sources confided that even the national chairman may have enlisted the support of senior members of the merger who were former governors, two leading figures in the APC, Bola Tinubu and Abubakar Atiku have received the support of serving governors of the party to actualise their plot to remove the APC national chairman.
It would be recalled that it is the governors that have always called the shots and had their ways whenever they move for the removal of a party chairman in the past and our source believes that the APC experience may not be different.
“The NEC meeting of the party on Thursday (today) will definitely put an end to all the speculations on the future of the chairman. We know very well that he has fallen out with some leaders of the party and he also knows that they are no longer supporting him. But do not forget also that Chief Odigie-Oyegun is an old hand in Nigerian politics. He is not just relaxing to allow then push him out just line that. He is also doing his underground work to retain his seat, even though the opposition is strong”, an aide to Odigie-Oyegun said yesterday.
Before today’s NEC meeting, the party had earlier postponed its planned Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting because of the caucus meeting which was hosted by President Buhari at the Villa on Tuesday night. At the meeting were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Tinubu, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, as well as the members of the NWC.
The NEC will also use the opportunity to fill the vacancies created by the resignation of the national officers of the party who were appointed into the Federal Executive Council by President Buhari.
Meanwhile, Odigie-Oyegun has dismissed the speculations that his position is being threatened as there were moves to unseat him.
He spoke with State House correspondents at the end of APC National Caucus meeting with Buhari on Tuesday night at the Presidential Villa.
Declaring that he was not aware of such a plot, Oyegun said such reports sometimes got him angry as he did not see any basis for such.
His words: “I am not aware that my office is under threat. I led the party to the State House. It amazes me, occasionally, it annoys me. That is one of the things you have to endure when you are in a position like mine.”
Regarding concerns that Nigerians were suffering in the midst of economic hardship nearly one year into the APC government, he said the passage of the 2016 Budget would turn things around.