Buhari, Obasanjo, Other Political Leaders Honour Oyegun at 80

Buhari, Obasanjo, Other Political Leaders Honour Oyegun at 80

President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessor, President Olusegun Obasanjo have showered encomiums on former National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun for his exemplary feat of leading his party, then in the opposition, to defeat a sitting President.. These accolades are coming as leaders of the different political parties led by

President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessor, President Olusegun Obasanjo have showered encomiums on former National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun for his exemplary feat of leading his party, then in the opposition, to defeat a sitting President..

These accolades are coming as leaders of the different political parties led by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State on Monday cast aside partisan politics to herald the 80th birthday of the elder statesman and first elected Governor of the state.

National Chairman of the PDP, Mr Uche Secondus, who described Oyegun as a national leader led PDP chieftains that graced the occasion

Other PDP chieftains present at the event was the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion; former Governor, Mr Lucky Igbinedion, PDP Gubernatorial Candidate in the 2016 election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, its state chairman, Chief Dan Orbih and other state leaders of the PDP.

National Chairman of the APC and former Governor of Edo State, Mr Adams Oshiomhole was however conspicuously absent at the event.

Delivering his homily at a thanksgiving mass held at the Saint Paul’s Catholic Church, Bishop of Archdiocese of Benin, Rev. Fr. Augustine Akubeze, described Oyegun as one of the few former governors ‘who is living out his faith.’

He described Oyegun, former governor of Edo State, as a humble, patriotic and fine politician who devoted his life to the development of the country.

Father Akubeze said Oyeyun did not join politics to fool the electorates but to convince the electorates.

Akubeze, who urged political leaders to respect constituted authorities, said they should know that anybody who wants peace must work for justice.

On the crisis in the Edo State House of Assembly, Akubeze urged Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki to meet and discuss ways to move the state forward.

Akubeze said Edo people saw Oshiomhole as a leader who aligned with the poor and Governor Obaseki, a technocrat who believes in rewarding merit and ensuring that the resources of the state are used for the good of the people.

According to Akubeze: “The quality of leadership Obaseki is providing is commendable. We see your works on roads in all the three senatorial districts. We see your work in schools. You have continued the good works of your predecessor.

“Edo State needs men like Obaseki and Oshiomhole to come together for the good of the people they love so much.

“We have seen political crisis because of the issue in the Edo State House of Assembly. What is surprising to many people is that we have never seen an intra -party crisis of this level.

“All elected members of House are of the same party and yet the state is in the news for the wrong reasons. We call on all leaders to embrace the call for peace and justice.

“We commend the state government for observing the rule of law by using judicial procedure to seek vindication of its rights.

“The people of Edo State are interested in the dividends of democracy. They want good roads, portable water, job opportunities.

“They want security of life and properties, opportunity for everyone to develop potentials. We want to call on Oshiomhole and Obaseki to discuss ways to move Edo forward.

Obaseki, who insisted that there was no issue between himself and Oshiomhole, said he has met with Oshiomhole and that efforts were being made to resolve issues created by third parties in the state.

Obaseki assured that efforts were on in pursuit of peace in the state.

He announced that the soon-to-be-completed Civil Service Training Centre would be named after Oyegun, for his contributions to the development of the state and the country at large.

According to him: “We have met – my predecessor and I – and fortunately, we do not have any fundamental issues.

“And because we do not have any fundamental issues, I believe that whatever third parties are trying to propagate I am sure we can talk over it. I assure you that very soon things will return to normalcy in Edo State.

“Today we are here to celebrate our own Chief Odigie-Oyegun. On behalf of the people and Government of Edo State, I want to congratulate you on your 80th birthday.

“For your contributions and what you have done for our dear state, I have decided to name the public service academy, which is under construction, after you.”

He said that the institute would be completed within the next 60 days and would be inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Governor explained that the institute, upon completion, would be able to accommodate a minimum of 900 trainees at a time and would be the largest public service training institute in Nigeria.

Ondo State Governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu was among dignitaries who attended the mass also officiated by Bishops Gabriel Dunia of Auchi and Donatus Ogun of Uromi Dioceses and several priests. The occasion was also attended by Ministers-designate, Dr Osagie Ehanire and Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, former Deputy Governor, Rev Peter Obadan, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr Frank Okiye and the Iyase of Benin Kingdom, Chief David Edebiri, among others.

Others at the mass include the wife of the Edo State Governor, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, Deputy Governor, Mr Philip Shaibu and the state Chief Judge, Justice Esohe Ikponmwen and top government officials.

Earlier, President Buhari who joined members of the ruling APC in congratulating Chief  Odigie-Oyegun on his 80th birthday, described him as true example of a patriot and democrat.

President Buhari in a statement on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant, Mr Garba Shehu, congratulated Chief Oyegun on the milestone, which has been highlighted with memories of great achievements like turning a Permanent Secretary at the age of 30, winning a gubernatorial election in early 50s, and providing visionary leadership to unseat an incumbent government for the first time in Nigeria’s history.

The President said that the former chairman of All Nigeria’s Peoples Party (ANPP) and APC set a standard for consistency, honesty and integrity in Nigeria’s politics as he championed building of strong democratic institutions, and promoted the virtue of looking beyond elections and positions to growing and unifying the nation for posterity.

“As an active participant in Nigeria’s political development and governance for many years, President Buhari believes Chief Oyegun’s depth of wisdom, maturity, tolerance and penchant for always putting the interest of the nation above self should serve as a lesson to both old and younger political actors, that the greatest investment for building a nation is personal sacrifice,” the statement read.

The President rejoiced with family members, friends and associates of the former Governor of Edo State as he turns an octogenarian, praying that God will give the elder statesman good health and strength to keep serving the nation and humanity.

Also, former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that Chief Oyegun earned his confidence as military Head of State between 1976 and 1979 through dint of hard work and resourcefulness.

Obasanjo who spoke at the 80th birthday reception of Chief Oyegun said the former APC chairman’s performance as Permanent Secretary on Economic Matters was outstanding.

Obasanjo said Oyegun demonstrated rare qualities of commitment and courage by always upholding the cherished tradition of the Public Service.

Represented by Mr. Gideon Ikhine, Obasanjo said Oyegun deployed sound knowledge and wealth of experience in economics development matters such that the administration policies were appreciated and understood by the populace.

Obasanjo stated that Oyegun remained a source of inspiration to the country and generations of Nigerians who are looking for a better and greater Nigeria with good governance based on democratic principles.

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