The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) says it owes no one any apologies over the recent indictments and arrests of topshots of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on charges of corruption.
National chairman of the APC, Odigie Oyegun, made the declaration on Monday night after he led members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa.
Oyegun said that paramount on the agenda of the APC administration is to cleanse the rot of corruption in the polity and that it would be done no matter whose ox is gored.
He said the APC government was not intent on stifling the opposition but it only happened that those who actively participated in the period of corruption being cleansed happened to be members of the PDP.
Instead of stifling the PDP, the ruling party is interested in having a vibrant opposition to provide constructive criticisms to enable the government deliver its promises to the electorate, Oyegun stated.
His words: “The APC is not in anyway apologetic. We promised change and there is a lot of rot in the system. This must be cleansed any whoever and whatever ox is being gored, wherever the tree is going to fall, so, let it be.
“We must get used to the fact that in the process of cleansing this nation there is going to be a lot of bullets to bite.
“The APC has not been in office at the national level in the last 10 –16 years. So, the issue of whether somebody is PDP or not PDP does not arise.
“We have a nation to cleanse. The president has committed himself to that and that and we should do it whatever way it comes. We are not being apologetic about that at all.
“It has nothing to do with witch hunting. It just happened that the dramatis personae of the period all happened to be on one side of the political divide.
“We have absolutely no intention to pressurise any group or any nation towards a one party state. It is not in our interest so to do because we need a vibrant opposition.
“We need an opposition that will contribute constructively to national discourse, that will make us sit up and deliver to the people what we promised.
“But the task is enormous and if anybody is ready to help to discharge these responsibilities he is most welcomed.”
On why the NWC meeting had to be held in the Villa, Oyegun explained that the committee members had ti brief the president on the challenges of the party and also to be briefed on what the president was doing to implement the party’s manifesto.
According to him: “We were here to brief Mr. President on the state of the party, the challenges that we are facing, the numerous elections that we have to face in the next two, three months. As of today, we have 78 elections to contend with, mostly arising from court actions following the national elections.
“And we also took the opportunity to be briefed on the state of the nation and the great work the administration is doing in the face of very, very intense challenges to tackle these issues and these problems.
“So, we are going away fulfilled, happy that government has substantially blocked the leakages in the system. There is still a lot to be done and we are looking forward to the early passage of the budget so that full implementation will begin.”
On last weekend’s Bayelsa governorship supplementary election in which it lost amid bloodshed, the APC boss said the loss of lives and violence was regrettable but the party had its reservations but would let the courts decide on those issues that had gone to litigation.
“The Bayelsa election has come and gone. We have very deep regrets that there was so much blood unnecessarily spilt in the process. We have a lot of reservation, some of which our candidate had very eloquently expressed. We are going to examine what has come out very, very carefully and decide the next line of action.”
The same stance is being taken by the party as it concerns the Kogo governorship election, although he declared that “as far as the party is concerned the Kogi issue is over.
“As far as the courts are concerned, issues are before them, I think as of last time there were six petitions before the courts and we leave it to the courts to consider and decide.”