Oyegun and the Abuja disease By Louis Odion, FNGE

The Pot of Soup Politician and Oduma of Igueben, Chief ‘Pot’ Tom Ikimi….Is he truly having the last laugh?

Abuja disease is a peculiar affliction in Nigerian politics. It refers to the tendency of an actor with
otherwise modest endowment or from humble station to transmute to a monstrous
creature once he/she enters the nation’s capital and begins to frequent
the power circles. 
Intoxicated by a new false sense of
identity, such upstart does not consider it abominable to now point at their
cradle with the proverbial left hand, mocking old benefactors, before their new

Odigie Oyegun
would appear the latest
sufferer of this pathology.

Pa Odigie Oyegun….Suffering from the Abuja disease?

With a straight face, the National Chairman of
ruling the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been toiling hard lately to deny
allies who smoothed his path to office. Perhaps the most audacious of such
exertions is an interview published by Vanguard on Monday
where he sought to disavow a known truth: the decisive role played by both Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in his emergence in

Specifically, the interviewer asked: “Some are alleging that you’ve not
been fair to those who assisted you to emerge National Chairman of the party,
especially Bola Tinubu. Is this true?”

Ex-Gov. Adams Oshiomhole….Did he really invested in the Odigie Oyegun Project?

Hear Oyegun: “Everybody assisted me to this position and I’m grateful to all of
them. The only thing is my personality and integrity; I don’t joke with these
two things because they’re the only currency that I’ve and I’ll defend them at
any time. I don’t believe one particular person solely assisted me to this
And in what sounded more like a poor
imitation of Buhari’s now famous
inaugural “I belong to everybody and
phrase, Oyegun
added: “Some day, the story of how I
became chairman of APC will be told. You will then see that everybody did
assist me to become National Chairman. This means that I’m there for everybody.
I don’t belong to any camp in the APC. I belong to all members of APC high and

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu….Once called for Pa Odigie Oyegun’s sack as APC National Chair over Ondo election

With that, the APC chairman could,
however, only be said to be deceiving himself in his desperation to impress a
national following that does not exist. In the same interview, even more
disturbing was his showcasing a poverty of ideas so blissfully over the
reported insolvency of the party’s national secretariat. We shall return to
this presently. 
Now luxuriating in the new-found
glory, Oyegun must be assuming that
the nameless – but nonetheless discerning – porters at Benin airport have forgotten the wilderness days of 2013 and early
2014 when they often would relieve an elderly man, regularly clad in French
suit, of his little bag after rushing in from his hermitage on the sedate Reservation Road in Benin GRA to catch evening Arik Air flight
to Lagos – tellingly at predictable intervals.

The Author, Louis Odion FNGE…a great chronicler of history

Easily given away by the littleness
of his luggage, no one needed further proof that his mission in Lagos could be other than political
meetings, hosted by folks whose generous hospitality he now belittles. 
So, when Oyegun speaks in such imperial tone these days, he must also have
assumed no one remembers how the Edo
chapter of APC had unilaterally
issued a statement endorsing his then arch rival, Chief Tom Ikimi, solely for the office in 2014, obviously to
foreclose his (Oyegun’s) chances.

Oyegun Plus Buhari

Unhappy with what he considered “an anti-democratic maneuver” and
“a crude attempt to close the political space”, then Governor Oshiomhole had to make a
passionate appeal to the state party executive to shift ground. They were
incensed that even with the convention barely few days away, Oyegun still had not thought it
courteous to formally intimate them of his interest in the big job. 
Following Oshiomhole’s intervention, the Anselm
-led state exco backed down and granted Oyegun audience to make a presentation. Thereafter, the Edo APC recanted its earlier position by
issuing a statement also acknowledging Oyegun and wishing both contenders good
luck at the national convention ahead.

Tinubu versus Oyegun


That development would cost Oshiomhole his political relationship
with Ikimi seen largely as the man to
beat for his greater national visibility which he was too eager to flaunt to
the point of hubris. 
If Oshiomhole ensured home anointing for Oyegun, Tinubu sold him
to his allies at the national level, obviously out of a nostalgia for – and
maybe over-romanticization of – their NADECO

Mr. Fix It, one of Goodluck Jonathan’s foot soldiers was disgraced and politically dis-empowered in Edo State

We are talking of the days of innocence of APC when key gladiators still related as comrades united by a
shared resolve to oust Goodluck Jonathan
from Aso Rock; when the atmosphere
had not become poisoned by mutual suspicion and deep bitterness arising from a
sense of alienation. 

Of course, it is open secret that
over the years Asiwaju and Ikimi never got on well over the
former’s memory of the brutal repression suffered as NADECO exile under dictator Sani
in the 90s with the Oduma of
serving as the voluble foreign minister.

Late Gen. Sani Abacha….His boy, Iduma of Igueben was rejected by Tinubu for NADECO days sins

It is a measure of Tinubu’s blistering networking that Ikimi eventually faced stiff resistance
from almost everyone who held the ace within
then except Turaki Adamawa
(ex Vice President Atiku Abubakar). Out-muscled, he had no choice than
withdrawing few hours to the commencement of voting at the convention. In
pulling out of APC eventually, Ikimi
brought drama and a lengthy epistle dripping of bile and acid.
Reminding the public how he had
hosted several exploratory meetings that led to APC’s birth in 2014, Ikimi
likened what happened to “someone
taking away my pot
of soup”,
more or less dismissing Oyegun as a
political merchandise with little or no electoral value.
Indeed, in hindsight, Ikimi would now seem vindicated. At
home, Oyegun has in the last three
years been exposed as grossly impotent politically.  In the 2015 general
polls, not only did the APC national
chair fail to deliver his polling unit in Oredo,
his ward, local government and the entire Edo
senatorial district were also lost to PDP. It was only Oshiomhole’s rally in his native Edo North that ensured APC eventually
deliver 45 percent to Buhari’s
victory in the historic March 28 polls.

PMB….Is he under a fake shadow with Oyegun?

Even more humiliating was the
outcome of the state governorship primaries in 2016. Oyegun’s anointed in the shadow polls came a distant third to Godwin Obaseki. In the September 26 governorship polls proper, Oyegun, the great national chair, failed
again as PDP won his polling unit right there in Oredo, the heart of Benin
Back in 2011, even as the
presidential running-mate to Shekarau
on the ANPP platform, Oyegun’s showing at home was no less
disastrous. ANPP performed woefully
across Edo. In fact, on account of
the sparse number of votes recorded in Benin
, it would not be exaggeration to say no one outside Oyegun’s family members and few loyal
neighbours came out to support a ticket that supposedly had “the son of the soil” as the
vice presidential candidate. 
Taken together, no one is begrudging
Oyegun whatever super stardom he
thinks APC leadership now confers on
him. But what we only only expect of those whose palm kernel has been cracked
by benevolent gods is simple – humility. While Oyegun now makes a fetish of self-declared “personality and integrity”, we only expect a
demonstration of this very virtue in a fidelity to the facts of history,
particularly when the memory is still fresh.

Papa Oyegun….Is he truly ungrateful to those hands?

Acknowledging those who provided you
ladder to climb to a height will not in anyway dim your stardom. On the
contrary, it confers greater nobility. Only those incurably afflicted by the Abuja disease would seek to belittle,
without qualms, their key enablers of yesterday. 
On APC’s state of financial health, Oyegun also misses the point by
dragging PMB’s name at all into the
story of APC’s illiquidity. Contrary to his insinuation, no one is saying or
expects Buhari to dip hands into
public treasury to fund party’s activities. I think the issue is whether enough
incentives are being created for party members or blocs to have a sense of
ownership that will, in turn, ginger them into freely bringing their widow’s
How was the party able to finance
itself before gaining power?
Theoretically, a party is supposed
to draw oxygen substantially from membership fees, dues and levies by those who
subscribe to its charter of values.  
To be fair to Oyegun, party finance
remains a sticky point even in the so-called mature democracies. In the United States, the corrosive influence
of Wall Street was a big issue in the
both the primaries and general polls last year. The challenge has been how to
evolve institutional bulwark against kickbacks, 
influence peddling, embezzlement and extortion on party’s behalf.

Comrade Bolaji Abdulahi…’Disagrees with PMB over lopsided appointments’


In the present circumstance, it is,
however, debatable whether Oyegun has
been able to draw on his much vaunted “personality
and integrity”
to provide an exemplary leadership that towers above
the squalor of partisanship and therefore commands greater loyalty and trust of
all and sundry. It then explains why the national secretariat appears
increasingly deserted and the earth vanishing under Oyegun’s bare feet. 
Nothing illustrates graphically that
loosening grip than the reported tumult in Abuja
on Tuesday by state chairmen of the party. While Oyegun would typically choose to live in denial, the party’s chief
spokesperson, Bolaji Abdullahi, was
forthright enough to admit that the state leaders were bitter over Buhari’s “lopsided
appointments” which have only succeeded in casting the government as
sectional; a total negation of the promise of 2015.

Ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar…The Only man who stood behind ‘Oduma of Igueben’

With the deafening rabble at the
door, the question now is whether Oyegun,
as the embodiment of the heart and soul of APC,
has the courage and the gravitas to convey the message to Buhari with a view to winning back those who genuinely feel
alienated. That may be a tough call for a pensioner feverishly afraid of losing
his own share of the spoils of office in Abuja
Meanwhile, with his kinsman now
appearing to totter under the weight of office in Abuja, I can see Ikimi
taking another sip from his favorite cognac this moment, smiling


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