Oyegun Deserves Commendation, Not Condemnation From APC – Ogbebor | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Oyegun Deserves Commendation, Not Condemnation From APC – Ogbebor

Posted: Apr 1, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Colonel Paul Ogbebor (Rtd) is the chairman of the Concerned Edo Leaders of Thought (CELT). In this interview with Isaac Olamikan, he spoke on salient issues relating to governance and the rumoured removal of John Odigie- Oyegun, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Excerpts:
What is your view on the insinuations that there are moves to ease thenational chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, out of office?

No reason has been given for the said removal plan. I think he ought to be honoured as a national hero for what he has been able to achieve. He was able to put together bits and pieces of political parties which earlier could not win an election as individuals. He supervised the conducted the party primaries and he eventually played a role in ensuring that the party defeated a seating political party, unseat the incumbent president to form a government. He led the APC to win 26 states out of the 36 states that make up the country. I think a man who has done that should be accorded the status of a national hero. This is a man who retired as a super permanent secretary in the federal civil service. He later became governor of Edo state. He took the APC from a tattered state and turned it to a winning party. We need the best to lead us out of the political Egypt to the Promised Land. If such a person should be removed from a position of service, it means we are praying for mediocrity which is against the tenets of the new Nigeria where positive change is being preached. That insinuation is coming from unenlightened people. Wole Soyinka said we are fighting corruption but corruption has the power of fighting back harder. These are the vestiges of corruption fighting back. There is talk that Chief Oyegun is been challenged by some elements within the APC national exco. There is no organization where everybody is talking as one. In Benin, there is a saying that everybody cannot lie down and be facing the same side. Can you imagine we have a population of over 180 million people and only one person is leading a ruling party in trust? Many people will like to wrestle the position from him. That is all what management is about. You should be able to gather resources together and make them work for a common goals. What was the common goal? The first goal is putting the party together while the second goal was conducting successful presidential primaries. The third goal was winning election. He has achieved those set goals. People will surely have divergent opinions. What we call resistance is created by God. What is making you to sit where you are is the gravitational force acting on you which is 32 pounds per second. God created
this without which you will not be able to sit down. God created this so that at every given time you must make an effort to overcome. So, for you to be the national chairman of such a big political party like the APC, you must contend with divergent opinions which you must bring together to achieve a national goal.

How would you assess then General Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s military Head of State in 1983 – 85 and now as a democratically elected president?

As a then serving military officer, I was a superior officer to Buhari. I know him since 1973. I was posted to 3 Division when I returned from America. He was also posted to 3 Division. He was the colonel GS. I
was commanding Nigerian Army signals in 3 Division. We were neighbours back then. This is a man you’ll want to take for granted because of his looks. But it is impossible. You cannot take him for granted
because he is highly principled. This is a man who will not take a kobo from you. He is a man who will say the truth. He is a man of very few words. He is a man who doesn’t go too much into argument. He is a good listener. Once he knows that this is the correct thing to do, he sticks to it. You can make your contribution to any discussion but he only uses it as a guide to what he has decided to do. Between 1983 and 1985 when he was the country’s head of state, he operated with military decrees. He set up the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) to guard against wrong behavior. Just like he is doing now, he had zero tolerance for corruption. It is a pity that he is not having sufficient elbow space to deal with it. Remember what he said in South Africa when he lamented that he wish the present regime is a military one so that he can handle the issue of corruption in a sterner manner. When he came in then the previous civilian government was in shambles. Many state governments were finding it difficult to pay workers salaries. And nothing was working. He came in then because of the massive looting of the country’s treasury by the politicians. Before he came in oil was selling for about $60 per barrel. It dropped to around $13 per barrel. He was able to successfully run the affairs of the country because he blocked all leakages. If he could run the affairs of this country when oil was selling for $13 per barrel and now we’re selling for $30, I think it is a blessing to him. So, I don’t think finance is the problem.

What really do you think is the problem with the country now?

The problem is that people are not committed to Nigeria. Can you imagine somebody take $2.2billion and started sharing it?. And can you imagine people having no shame to say that huge sums of money were
paid into their accounts and they do not know the source of the money?. Such people should be shot. They have no reason to live because they have committed sin against this country. What Buhari is trying to do is to establish a system. Unless you have a system, whatever you are doing you are just wasting your time. What you have been doing is freestyle. What Buhari is saying is that ‘lets have a system’. Over and above that, let us have financial discipline. All these things we are talking of now is attitude. It is not something that will come overnight. Left for me to be able to achieve this growth let us declare a
state of emergency for six months and let us give Buhari a free hand to put this country right. Somebody was saying the other day that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is biting more than it can chew. Yes, I agree. But if we have an emergency, we should set up tribunals to handle these matters. Those found guilty by the tribunals should not be allowed to fill up the prisons rather they should be shot because they have committed.