Chief John Odigie-Oyegun who is the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that the party is not affected by the exit of Atiku Abubakar.
The Nation reports that the APC chairman spoke when he received former chairmen and counselors at the party secretariat.
Oyegun noted that the race for 2019 elections has already started and said what the party needed were people who understood what the country was going through.
He said the exit of Atiku would not affect the party. “As a parting shot, I want to say let nobody fear of the defection of the former vice president is going to lead to any deluge. If anybody wants to defect, the day he will defect will be the day you will bring out your heavy guns not later as the media are speculating that some will still go with him. It is not like that.
“You stand and when they look at your right and left they will say that this man has done something great. So, don’t ever be afraid that is going to be any massive defection. As a matter of fact, the contrary will be the case.
“APC is growing in strength on daily basis. I will end in taking the last example of Anambra. We did not win the governorship but two and half years, we managed to score on seven per cent in the presidential election but today we got up to 30 per cent.
“Anambra is the most difficult of all the cases because we have a local party whose origin is traced to a local chieftain who is popular and held in esteem in the south east. We also have a sitting governor and we have a candidate who comes from the same Local government with the sitting governor.
“The results are not as dismal. What is important is that from seven per cent, we got close to 30 per cent and we are not done yet. Anambra is one of our most difficult state in the south east. APC is growing in strength and anybody who is anybody politically at all, is with the APC today.
“There is no party outside the APC that is truly settled not even the PDP still fighting how to get a chairman. We read today that money has come to buy vote. So, it is something you take pride in. All the screaming is just because the remnants of the PDP have suddenly found their voice. Their screaming is making Nigeria look as if the country has turn upside down. The country is making steady progress and the APC is growing on a daily basis.
“The run up to 2019 has started and you have come at the right time and I want to believe that your mission today, you are dedicating yourself to grassroots mobilisation for the APC is an act that have been inspired by the almighty that you will be faithful not just to that inspiration that brought and be faithful to this party, which like the country is going through hard times which is dedicated that this mission must truly experience greatness for which the almighty himself has destined it.”
“We have for a long time travelled on a long road. So, today with all the difficulties that confront us, the kind of people we need are those that have a long term view, who can understand and accept that things are hard today, but are ready to work to bring to fruition that vision of a great nation and great country.
“It is not a long trek and I want to give you assurance that the light is already there at the end of the tunnel. It has been a very difficult period and change is still in its early stages. I use every opportunity to think home and don’t want to allow anybody to deceive you that change is a matter of brick and mortar or how many roads you have built and how many vehicles you have put on the road or other visible things like such.
“We are where we are today not because we have not built roads, airport, awarded contracts for electricity generation, transmission and distribution, but because our values are totally wrong. It is these wrong values that affect every other thing that we do.
“Yes, corruption has not been wiped out anywhere in the world, but our own corruption got to the stage where you award a contract for N100 million and take N90 million out of it and leave the contractor to do anything he can manage to do with the remaining N10 million. That was how bad things has became.
“It got to a stage where they did waste our money more with awarding contracts and hoping the contractor will bring certain percentage, they now directly went to the treasury and help themselves. Otherwise, how can we hear of a civil servant with a bank account of N1 billion. How many contract will he award to have N1 billion in his bank account not counting the ones he gives to his girlfriends and the ones he buys houses with and goes on holiday.
“We are transiting from that free for all to an economy that is truly based on what your brothers and sisters produce, whether agriculture or industry. That is the only thing that can sustain any nation not petroleum. The development from agriculture affects every single household in this country.
“We saw advertorial by a group called IPAC where they were endorsing the Local Government poll of Akwa-Ibom state. So, it is obvious that they have made themselves available for endorsement purposes. I was worried a bit and hope that this group will not go the same way like IPAC and that you will not allow yourself because the day you will start it your credibility is gone.”
The APC chieftain said Atiku’s defection from the ruling party was no surprise, adding that there were signs for almost 18 months that the former vice president will leave the party.