Chief John Odigie Oyegun, the newly elected Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC said on Saturday that the advent of the opposition party on the Nigeria political space is an opportunity to vote out the ruling People’s Democratic Party from government in the 2015 general elections.
Oyegun, a former governor of Edo State said this in his acceptance speech shortly after he was declared the chairman of the opposition party at the APC national convention which ended early Saturday morning in Abuja.
The new chairman of APC said the APC offers Nigerians the opportunity to kick out the PDP, which according to him “has, among other things, failed to provide them with stable power supply, failed to provide them with security that will enable them sleep peacefully on their beds at night, failed to provide employment for millions of Nigerian youths, and failed to stem the tide of corruption that is robbing Nigeria’s children of their future.
“In 2015, the All Progressives Congress will provide Nigerians with a visionary, dedicated and people-oriented leadership that will liberate the nation from PDP’s rule of poverty and oppression. Under the stewardship of the APC, Nigeria will progress and Nigerians will thrive.
“This is our sacred pledge to Nigerians tonight,” Oyegun said in the speech titled: We Must Set Forth At Dawn.
He listed the challenges confronting the nation:
“Ladies and gentlemen, our party has much work to do. The state of our nation is highly disturbing. It could be said with some justification that our great country Nigeria is on the ropes.
“A nation blessed by the Almighty with all the key endowments to make any nation great has been virtually brought to its knees by corruption that is unbridled and will qualify for the Guinness Books of Records, resource mismanagement, directionless and what some have described as cluelessness.
“As if these woes are not enough, our situation has been compounded by the amazingly visionless national leadership that has been inflicted on Nigerians by the People’s Democratic Party since the dawn of our latest democratic dispensation.
“In this past decade and a half of genuine suffering, Nigerians have been frustrated by the fact that there was no alternative national party of comparable strength to rescue them from the clutches of the PDP.
“Because the road ahead of us is long and hard, we must heed the wise advice of our esteemed Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka that “we must set forth at dawn”.
“And so, whereas tonight we party to celebrate the successful conclusion of the National Convention of our Party, we must rise with the dawn and set forth on our patriotic mission to set Nigerians free, and usher in the New Nigeria of our dreams.
He however warned party members not to under-estimate the illusion that the task of kicking the PDP out of government will be an easy one. He added that this is not just because of the extent of the rot, but because the ruling party will go to any extent and employ any means possible to remain in office.
“The very task of salvaging Nigeria will, on its own, be hard because the rot is deep. But the task will be made even harder by the fact that we have, as opponents, a Political Party that will stop at nothing to frustrate our mission.
“We know the make-up, the habits, the philosophy and the mindset of our opponents. We know the extent they will go to cling on to power.
“And we know the immensity of the resources at their disposal. But because the resources they misuse are resources that should rightly be used to improve the lives of the Nigerian people, those resources will not be effective in frustrating the people’s hopes for liberation,” said the new APC Chairman.
He therefore added that the only way the party can succeed in dislodging the ruling party is if all members agree to work together as a team, embrace the ideals of unity, oneness and harmony, and the spirit of give and take.
Oyegun who said the party must not betray the hopes and aspirations of long-suffering Nigerians also asked party members not to lose sight of the fact that the collective destiny of the Nigerian people is far more important than their individual or group interests, ambitions or grievances.
“We must learn to let go of past grudges and previous grievances and move forward together as members of the same family.
“And so tonight, I call for the healing of rifts and the smoothening of cracks. I call for forgiveness of offences and injuries.
“I call for unity in our great party.
“I call for our collective embrace of a common vision. I call for a commitment to work hand in hand to accomplish the task before us. If we fail in our task due to disunity and acrimony, it is not only ourselves we would have let down,” said Oyegun